central european steering committee for canadian studies
Ninth meeting of the CESCCS
18 October 2003
Monica Bottez (Romania [MB])
Maria Huttova (Slovakia [MH])
Don Sparling (the Czech Republic [DS])
Ljiljana Matic (Serbia [LM])
Judit Molnar (Hungary [JM])
Eugenia Sojka (Poland [ES])
Katalin Kurtosi (Central European Journal of Canadian Studies) [KK]
Petr Vurm – Assistant CE CS Secretariat, Brno, Czech Republic [PV]
The meeting opened at 8:35
2. Adoption of the agenda
DS asked that the Szeged graduate seminar be added to AOB, as well as the question of a CS lecturer coming to Belgrade.
3. Approval of the report on Hradec Králové meeting
The report was adopted as presented
4. Financial reports
4.1 Financial report to 17 October 2003
DS presented the report, running from the SC meeting in Hradec Králové at the end of March until 17 October (see Appendix 1). This covered the end of the fiscal year 2002/2003 and the beginning of the new fiscal year. Expenditures during this period were minimal, since over the summer there was little activity. Income came from the new budget for 2003 (see 4.2). The only item he felt might need some explanation was the expenditure for the translation of the Constitutions of the CA Association into French. He had decided to have this done by a professional agency, since the language was slightly specialized and it was necessary to have a very precise translation of the version that had been approved by the Czech Ministry of the Interior for registration purposes.
4.2 Budget for the 2003/2004 fiscal year
The approval of the budget had taken longer than usual. DS had prepared and sent it to Ottawa in May. He had met with Marie-Laure de Chantal at the beginning of June when he was in Ottawa, and received her approval for the proposed budget. However, Marie-Laure had moved to a new position shortly after, and had not had time to finish the paperwork involved for approval from DFAIT; unfortunately her position has not yet been filled, and so the budget proposal languished. When Jean Labrie looked at it in early September, he noticed there were some problems in the reporting of various expenditures, and it was only in early October that the final version had been approved; Jean Labrie had confirmed this in an e-mail dated 8 October. DS went on to make comments on some of the items:
- Support for students to come to Brno. This was increased to anticipate expected demand; SC members were asked to encourage their students to come to Brno and take advantage of the very good facilities there.
- Second instalment for the 2004 conference in Krakow. This had already been sent directly to the Polish Association.
- Travel support for CE Canadianists to attend the Krakow conference. This was important, since for some Canadianists it would be a real problem getting to Krakow; however, because this will also mark the first General Meeting of the new CE Association, it is crucial that as many as possible be there.
- Preparatory meetings for the Krakow conference. DS had added this, since he felt that he would have to meet at least once with Anna Reczynska in order to work out many of the basic questions connected with the conference (the fact that it is also the 3rd congress of the Polish Association means that in effect two agendas have to be meshed). He said that he planned to go to Krakow in December.
DS pointed out that the financial report had been prepared by employing the form that the Academic Relations Division at DFAIT recommended; he felt that it wa very helpful, and made the expenditures very transparent.
There were no questions concerning the budget; the SC members agreed that it marked a significant shift towards a greater proportion of the money being used for activities, and a lesser proportion for meetings (this because the SC no longer meets in Grainau, which though very useful was also more costly than venues in CE).
5. CE Canadian Studies Secretariat in Brno
In this connection, DS began by running through the tasks that had been given to the Secretariat at the meeting in Hradec Králové.
5.1 Visits to Brno
The amount for student visits to Brno had indeed been increased, as requested, in the budget request, and had also been augmented by money remaining at the end of the fiscal year. What was important now was to ensure that students knew about the opportunities in Brno; DS promised to send out a special notice about this on the listserve. It was also suggested that the SC members send him a list of their graduate students: Petr Vurm could make up a special listserve for them in order to be able to target information that concerned them in particular.
5.2 The CE CS Website
DS reported that they he and Petr Vurm were trying to keep the website up to date, but that it had become so extensive that this was not easy. In any case, a complete overhaul would have to be made now, as it moved to being the official website of the new Central European Association for Canadian Studies rather than the CE CS Network website. In particular, in future only official, paid up members of the association would be listed on the site, though other individuals could be included in the listserve.
5.3 JKF Centre, Berlin
There was no improvement in the transparency of decision-making at the Centre. In fact, DS reported that he had learned of other things that he found disquieting. One was that those who do not have their applications accepted are not even informed of this. Another is that when they ask for advice on what was weak in their application, so that they might have a better chance of being successful in future, they are again ignored. It appears that in awarding the grants, the Centre does not feel responsible to anyone.
DS also reported the comment of a student he knew who had received a grant and spent some time at the Centre, that though the resources were good they were not as good as he had expected, and as far as recent publications was concerned, not good at all: it appeared that very little money was going to the acquisition of new material.
MH asked whether the ICCS should be contacted about this; DS answered that the ICCS had no connection with the JFK Centre; as far as he knew, all Canadian funding there came from the Canadian government. KK suggested the new association could play a role in trying to get answers. DS said he could try this, but felt that the stonewalling policy of the Centre would defeat any such attempt. He thought it would be better to contact Walter Larink, and see if he had any suggestions.
5.4 Canadian book catalogues
DS reported that Mme Colette Dupuis of Export Livre had sent the Secretariat a very large box with a very large number of current catalogues of Canadian books. The idea was to enable CE Canadianists to find out if books they wanted were in print. The catalogues are useful but not that as useful as he had anticipated, since people would need to know which publisher was responsible for a book they were interested in; otherwise we would have to look through every catalogue. Also, publishers differ greatly in the currency of their catalogues: some put out annual ones, others update more frequently.
However, he said he would send out a letter on the listserve to let people know that the catalogues were in Brno, and perhaps through enquiries we would see how useful they are. He felt, for instance, that French publishers in Canada in particular were hard to get information about.
Various suggestions were made for becoming better informed about Canadian books in print. Googling of publishers’ sites was one way; using the services of Northwest Passages another (though they specialize in literature rather than Canadian Studies books as a whole)
While we were on the topic, ES asked how people could find out about other books published in the region. KK pointed out that unfortunately almost all of them were in the national languages, and so inaccessible to the rest. DS mentioned that this kind of information was at least partly accessible, in the country reports that form part of the report for each SC meeting, which are then put on the website.
It was suggested that it would be useful to have information on CE CS monographs in one place. DS suggested we could take what was on the Website as a basis, and perhaps evolve a project. KK wondered whether this should also include translations. DS said he felt that this was an idea that had to be examined at more length, but would be an excellent task for the new association; we should perhaps leave further discussion of this to the General Meeting at Krakow in May.
6.1 Proceedings of the Bucharest conference
PV reported that he was proceeding with this, but had been sidetracked by work on the publication of the Berlin graduate seminar proceedings (see 6.3 below). Also, it had proved more complicated than he had expected, since the articles were in a bewildering variety of formats, and unifying them was taking a lot of time. He and DS expected the publication to be out by sometime at the beginning of 2004 at the latest.
6.2 Central European Journal of Canadian Studies
6.21 CEJCS Vol. 3
KK reported that Volume 3 is now more or less ready. Unfortunately deadlines had not been kept, and the work of evaluating the contributions had only been completed at the end of the summer. Eleven papers will be published, ranging from history through the documentary film and the bilingualism question to literature. There are some papers from the Debrecen conference in October 2002, and others arrived; most are from the humanities (as usual); the proportion of articles in French is good.
One problem was an article which was a lot more like a research project; the question was whether we should open a new section, entitled perhaps “Work in progress”; it might be of interest what kind of research is going on. DS felt this would work better as a site on the website; this would allow comments, etc.. It could be used if someone was wanting to introduce a new course, for example. He said he would try to work something out with PV.
KK reminded everyone of the system we had worked out. Scorings are from 0 – 5; readers are also asked to state whether the article is rejected, accepted but with some reworking, or accepted as is. If there’s one score below 3, it’s rejected. She would appreciate explanations in this case; also, suggestions for improvement. In once case, a paper had marks of 5,4, 3 and 2 – difficult to decide what to do, since the evaluations were so different.
JM suggested that we have too many readers; it would be enough to have two, and in cases like this a third person could be called in. DS explained that we had decided on the five readers as a way of ensuring that the people who submitted papers were satisfied the decisions were objective; this way we avoided any suggestion of bias for whatever reason. He suggested that in fact having so many readers meant that the whole exercise was a good learning process for CE readers, most of whom had not done much of this kind of thing before.
KK concurred. She also added that this grading system could be improved on. Some general approach should be established: as it is now, some readers simply gave marks and two or three words of comment, others offered more than a page for each submission. What is necessary is something in between: they needn’t be long – 7-8 lines are enough – but a few sentences of real evaluation are important in making final selections. She can then draw on these, especially if they are of a critical nature, even quote them, when she writes to contributors, either explaining why the article has been rejected, or suggesting aspects that can be improved. Her experience was that some kind of commentary of this kind is highly valued by contributors, even those whose work is rejected seem more ready to accept this if they are straightforward. She also added that, in her opinion, this systematic grading process was also appreciated by the readers themselves, making them feel they were part of a genuine and serious decision-making process.
ES suggested that in future the names of the papers’s authors should be blacked out so that readers are not biased. This was agreed to. KK also mentioned, we should insist all submissions have both French and English abstracts; it was time-consuming trying to get these later.
KK said there should be brief CVs of the authors of the articles; she had been in touch with the contributors, asking them to write a few lines about themselves. We should know who’s who.
6.22 CEJCS Vol. 4
DS asked how we should proceed with Vol 4. What was the deadline, the timeframe?
The problem was that were now behind what would be an ideal (and hopefully in future regular) schedule, which would be something like an announcement in September, January/February as the deadline for submissions, end of March for readers’ reports, rewriting and resubmissions by May/June, final preparation of copy by September and appearance of the journal in the fall. Now that we were behind that schedule, however, things were complicated because of exam periods at unfortunate times, etc. After considerable discussion of the pros and cons of various deadlines, it was decided to have the call for papers go out in January with an end of June deadline, there would be a reminder in April, readers would have the reports back by the end of September, a shorter period would be given for revision (till mid-November), by early December the final copy would be ready, and the journal would be printed at the end of December or in January. DS said he would make sure that more detailed instructions on the format would be put on the website.
Concerning publicity for the journal, KK mentioned that it did not appear in the list of CS journals from around the world included in the Association for the Export of Canadian Books‘ Books on Canada catalogue. DS promised to write to Mme Dupuis at Export Livre about this.
6.3 Proceedings of the European graduate seminars
DS pointed out that the publication of the proceedings of the European seminars for graduate students in CS was not our business. However, for various reasons we do it at the Secretariat in Brno. We hope that the Proceedings of the Berlin seminar will be out soon. The publication was prepared by Elke Nowak; students used a template PV had prepared. In terms of standard scholarly format there is a problem: one exists in English (MLA), but not in French. So there is lots of editing work with the latter.
6.4 Distribution of publications
One of the main difficulties connected with all these publications is the cost of sending them by mail. In the past we sometimes used various major occasions to distribute them – e.g. in Bucharest we distributed Volume 1 of the CEJCS and the Proceedings of the Brno conference. For the proceedings of the graduate seminar, Cor Remie suggested we use ask the embassy in Prague if they could be sent by diplomatic mail. We did in fact make an agreement with the embassy in Prague with regard to the first two volumes of the graduate student seminar plus the second volume of the CEJCS (Western European institutions were the main recipients), but in the end they did not use the diplomatic mail service since this does not allow them to send mail directly to other embassies; everything has be to routed through Ottawa. So instead they sent the material by ordinary post, covering the cost ($300 CAD). This was a one-off thing: in future we will of course continue to use suitable opportunities for distributing publications, but in many cases the only option will be to send the material by post. This means we should include mailing costs in our budget.
The best way would probably be to send the publications to local Canadian embassies and ask them to look after distribution within the country. One copy of each publication should go to the library at each institution where there is a Canadian Studies Centre. Every member of the new association should of course get a copy of the CEJCS. Additional copies of journals could be distributed as the embassy and the local association representative felt best.
In closing this point on the agenda, DS mentioned that he had had a lot of responses, all very favourable, to the publications that been sent out, and particularly to the CEJCS. Thanks to its striking cover, it is a journal that is immediately noticed: we have to ensure that the contents continue to match it in quality.
7. Canadian Studies developments in Central Europe (country reports)
SC members distributed copies of the reports they had brought with them, and reported briefly on the most interesting developments in their respective countries. These reports are included as Appendixes 3-10.
At this point DS suggested they skip point 8 on the agenda – the new CE Association for Canadian Studies – and finish off the rest of the agenda; this way the topic could be left till the end, and ES would not have to sit through a long discussion that did not essetially concern her, as a member of the Polish association. This was agreed to.
9. Grants for attendance at conferences
DS reminded the SC members that back in Hradec Králové they had decided on the number of conference grants we wanted to award (15), their amount ($300 CAD), and the scheme for awarding them. Of the 15 grants, 10 would be made available immediately; the idea was to see how many used up.
Of the 10 grants offered, those allotted to the Polish (2), Romanian (2), Hungarian (2) and Serbian (1) Canadianiasts had been taken up – 7 in all. No Czech or Slovak applied, nor had anyone from other places applied (Montenegro, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia). That meant that, in theory, 8 should still be avaialable.
However, there was one little problem: we had agreed to have 15, but in the final budget approved by Ottawa, the CE Secretariat in Brno had been given $200 CAD more than had been asked for, but $4300 CAD instead of $4500 CAD had been sent to the ICCS to be held in trust for us. Unfortunately, this does not equal 15 travel grants. Somehow we will work this out.
DS went on to say that now we had to decide how to award the 8 places. They can be for people attending giving papers at conferences, or for going to Grainau, where we have been given 6 places; however, this does not mean that we have to fill them all. He also reminded CS members that it had been decided in the past that those chosen to go to Grainau should have some interest in the central topic being discussed there. KK asked what it would be this time; DS answered transculturalism.
DS suggested there were two ways to divide up the 8 places. One was to devise country quotas, the other to make all 8 places available and decide according to what we get. His preference was for the former – he felt we’d get a better selection. KK said we should definitely mention that Grainau is included when we advertise the places, as a kind of encouragement to go there. DS reminded everyone that the GKS wanted people who hadn’t been to Grainau to attend. JM felt that having to be interested in the central topic at Grainau contradicted the requirement that those going there should be never have attended a conference there. DS said a person could be an established academic but starting in CS.
It was agreed that the CE Secretariat would send out an announcement of the conference grants as soon as possible, with the conditions. Applications would be sent to the CE Secretariat, and then via e-mail the SC would choose those who would get the grants.
DS also reminded people that these grants were for conferences up to roughtly the end of April. Those wishing to go to conferences later would have to wait till the next round of grants, offered in the next fiscal year. However, because we had been assured that our budget would be similar each year, we could actually advertise before then, e.g. in late February or early March, with a deadline in, say, early April. This would be important for those going on conferences in May-July.
10. Class-set grants
There was no new development here: DS reported that teachers and a few students had sent in evaluations of the programme, and it was now up to him to have to write a report to Ottawa. Assuming the response from the teachers was positive – and this seemed to be the case, judging from a quick perusal of the responses – then there was a good chance that the programme would continue. The evaluation is necessary because this was a new programme, not one of standard ones whose effectiveness had been established and was widely recognized.
11. Summer schools
11.1 Summer school in Croatia
DS spoke first about the summer school organized by the University of Zagreb. As decided at the SC meeting in Hradec Králové he had written to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Zagreb, explaining why it would not be possible for the CE Network to supply teachers for the summer school they proposed in June. His explanation had been accepted, with regret. In the end, however, the summer school did go ahead. It was organized by the French Department at the univeristy, with support from Canadianists from France, and was apparently quite a success. This was of course good news, since it showed the seriousness of the committment to Canadian Studies there.
After the event DS had received a report on it both from the Canadian Embassy and the organizer, Prof. Šafranek. In the former letter, and subsequently, there had been indications that the university would again like to ask for support for a summer school this year; it appears they are thinking of it as an annual event. He had been non-committal on this, stressing especially the times when most CE Canadianists were available. Also, he knew that the Steering Committee had agreed to discuss at this meeting the question of establishing its own summer school (see 11.2). After a brief discussion the SC decided it was best to leave things as they were for the time being, and wait to see whether the Croatians do actually send a request for help. It was stressed, however, that this should only be considered if the request comes well in advance, and that there should be input from us as to timing, form, etc.
11.2 CE Canadianists’ summer school
When the discussion turned to the possibility of a summer school organized by the CE Canadianists, ES asked whether Canadian academics would be participating. DS replied that the idea was that we would draw on our own resources, using Canadianists from different CE countries, focusing on what is strongest in the region. Of course where it was feasible we could also turn to Canadian academics; the main question would be a financial one. When had spoken about this idea to Jean Labrie in Ottawa earlier in the year, he had been cautiously encouraging, but stressed that it would be unlikely that DFAIT would agree to fund a single, one-off summer school. Hence we should be thinking of something that would happen more than once, probably in different places.
Two considerations were important. One was credits: in order to be taken seriously, such a summer course should offer ECTS credits. This would mean working out the programme to meet the ECTS regulations. The second was funding: we would be asking for funding from Ottawa, but perhaps in future, if things worked out, we could also try to see whether the summer school could be presented as an Intensive Programme (IP) within the Socreates/Erasmus programme – Masaryk University was involved with summer schools that worked like this.
After brief consideration it was agreed that we did want to create some kind of summer school, and so the discussion moved on to the practicalities of the issue. MB pointed out that if we wanted the course to work on the ECTS systém, we would have to calculate the number of hours, etc. DS replied that there was no forumula for this – the point of the ECTS system was that each university, indeed in theory each department, could decide on the number of ECTS credits for courses using its own criteria: ECTS credits represented part of an overall workload (per term), not (as in the North American system) a certain number of contact hours. In the discussion that followed, the following conclusions were reached.
The SC would propose a series of three summer schools, at Debrecen (2004), Brno (2005) and Sosniewicz (University of Silesia, 2006). The topics would be, respectively, Candian theatre, Native issues and women/gender/trasnculturalism issues.
Concerning the summer school in Debrecen in 2004, it was felt that the best times would be early July or late August; after some discussion early July was agreed on. The draught proposal worked out was as follows:
3 July (Saturday): arrival, with a modest “ice-breaking” get-together in the evening.
4 July (Sunday): introduction, then two 90-minute blocks of classes in the morning, one in the afternoon
5 July (Monday): two 90-minute blocks of classes in the morning; free afternoon (short tour of Debrecen)
6, 7 July (Tuesday, Wednesday): two 90-minute blocks of classes in the morning, one in the afternoon
8 July (Thursday): two 90-minute blocks of classes in the morning; free afternoon
9 July (Friday): two 90-minute blocks of classes in the morning, one in the afternoon
10 July (Saturday): two 90-minute blocks of classes in the morning (final presentations); afternoon and evening, visit to Tokai, etc.
11 July (Sunday): departure
What the course would consist of would be up to the teachers. This would also be true of the requirements (essay, test, presentation of a project [for example a reading/simple staging of a play]). It was felt that a course of this nature could be awarded 4 ECTS credits; these would have to be officially given via a university department. A reader for the course, with all the compulsory material needed for the course, could be prepared beforehand at the CE Secretariat in Brno.
At the end, DS noted that if the Canadianists from Croatia did in fact ask for help with their summer school, he would probably have to tell them that our energies were concentrated on this project of our own.
12. Other events in the region – role of CE Association for CS
DS brought up the question of the role of the CE Association for CS with regard to other events in the region. This had come up because Petr Kyloušek, from Masaryk University, is organizing a big conference in Brno in 2005 – L’imaginaire au roman québecois – in cooperation with a group of researchers from UQAM, and he had asked if the association can be included among those sponsoring the event.
It was agreed that this could and should be done. This would not mean financial support, but the name of the association could help in obtaining financial support from others; also, the Network/Association could offer organizational support, publicity, etc. It was agreed that that this should be a general policy where larger events were being organized; both parties would benefit.
KK said that Petr Kyloušek had asked whether it would be possible to publish papers from the conference in the CEJCS. She felt that on the one hand this would be good – the amount of French material would go up dramatically – but on the other in general we don’t have a policy of publishing large numbers of papers from conferences in the journal (the Debrecen conference was an exception, and in any case we merely invited people to submit their papers if they so wished). DS pointed out that if we did publish the papers of the conference, a large proportion would not be from CE; however, we had decided in the past that no more than one or two articles per issue should be from “outside” contributors.
DS suggested that since it seemed difficult to publish it within a normal issue of the CEJCS, and it seemed strange to publish it as a special number of the journal, a better solution might be for the papers to appear in a volume in our Proceedings series; we could publish it under the conference title (as we will all conference proceedings in future) as a separate issue (in fact opening up this series to include not just our triennial conference). Funding would have to come from elsewhere.
(At this point ES mentioned that Anna Reczynska had asked her to ask DS whether she should apply for funding for publication of the Krakow proceedings. DS said they would discuss that when he was in Krakow; the short answer was that this would be part of the CE Association’s budget request for 2004/2005.)
13.1 12th European Seminar for Graduate Students in Canadian Studies
This seminar will be taking place in Szeged in the fall of 2004. DS mentioned that a student from Masaryk University had been at the 11th seminar, which had taken place just a week earlier in Barcelona, and that she had reported that very few students from CE were there; also that there seemed to be a lot from a few countries. We should try to do everything to improve on this for the Szeged seminar.
KK, who will be organizing the event, asked when it might take place. DS said it’s usually held in early October; he suggested 8-10 October. KK said that perhaps two dates might be suggested as possible (this and the following week); DS said he would also communicate with Cor Remie to see if the ENCS had any preference. KK also reminded those present that they should encourage their students to come. KK reiterated that we must get information out early, and asked when the first call for papers should be sent out. DS suggested February; he also offered to help, by sending KK all the material he had used in organizing the seminar in Brno in 2000, and of course the CE Secretariat would be pressed into action for this as well – this is not merely a Szeged event, but a CE event.
13.2 Lecturer to Belgrade
DS reported that at a meeting held on Friday, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Belgrade had expressed a wish for CE Canadianists to come to Belgrade to lecture and give intensive courses. DS had told him he would pass this information on at the SC meeting; he felt that if an official request came, members of the SC could be asked whether they were available, as well as the general membership of the association. It was agreed that this would be a sensible course.
13.3 Core course for CS
In connection with the request from Belgrade, MB brought up an idea that we had discussed at earlier meeting: that of having/creating a “core course” that could serve as an introduction to Canadian Studies. It could then be used by a team of people (perhaps three) who could tour in the region and teach it. It could be a one-week intensive course with three specialists, and would be used as a means of introducing new people to Canadian Studies.
DS pointed out that you would have to have three people willing to cooperate, and a meaningfull syllabus, a kind of mini “Canadian Studies kit”. He saw a bit of a problem here, in that he felt that two weeks was a minimum for a course like this. Also, the costs involved would be considerable: even though local universities might pay for accommodation, and perhaps even meals, the transporation costs for a three-member “flying team” would be considerable – who would cover this? He didn’t feel Ottawa would be very keen on paying
KK said that since we had decided to work on a summer school, we should not fragment our forces. MH, however, felt that this could serve a genuine need: it would be very useful in situations where it was cleaar that a particular university had a serious interest in establishing some kind of CS component, and could do with help. Such help could then be supplied when needed – we would have a team and the organization skills to help.
DS said that what was being talked about here was a basic short syllabus which would introduce people to the main concepts necessary to understand Canada. We could perhaps produce a course outline, and a course reader. Then if a request for someone to teach an “Intro to Canada” course arose, we could ask around and see who would be willing to teach it on the basis of our course and reader. He said that he would sent to everyone an outline of the course he teaches; most of the reading is accessible on-line. The SC members could look through the course, and see what they thought was useful, and make suggestions for additions, changes, other reading, etc. We would see if this could then lead to the creation of a flexible course that could be offered, along with a lecturer, to interested universities in the region.
13.4 Biennial conference in Debrecen
JM brought up a suggestion she had been asked by Peter Szaffko to pass along, that of Debrecen hosting a regular large biennial CS conference. DS said there is no problem in Debrecen doing this, but if it wants funding from Ottawa, there likely be a difficulty, since Ottawa doesn’t like it if there are requests for funding for more than one important event in the region in the same year (this arose in connection with the Bucharest conference and the 2nd PACS Congress). A large conference in Debrecen in the fall of 2004 coming only four or give months after the big event in Krakow might not be the best idea. However, this is part of wider issue – for example, both PACS and the CE Association for Canadian Studies call for triennial general meetings (and by implication conferences); as it is now, both are being held at the same time. We may have to find a solution to this problem, too. DS said he would try to speak to Peter Szaffko about the question of the Debrecen meeting (in any case he would have to speak to him in connection with the summer school).
13.5 Meeting in Budmerice
MH announced that there would be a major English studies conference (on the occassion of 80 years of English studies in Slovakia) at Budmerice at theend of November next year, and that this might be possible venue for the SC meeting as they plan a section on Canadian Literature as a part of the conference program.. DS thanked her for the suggestion, and reminded everyone that in November of 2004 the life of the SC should have come to an end; what would be in existence would be the Executive Committee of the new CE association, and they might very well agree to meet in Budmerice.
At 13:45 DS brought the (rather too long) morning session to a close.
The meeting reconvened at 15:00.
8. Central European Association for Canadian Studies /
Association d’Etudes Canadiennes en l‘Europe Centrale (CEASC/AECEC)
ES reported that the Executive Committee of PACS had asked her to express their position, that it won’t of course be officially part of the structure of the new association, since they won’t be joining it, but that they very much wish to continue cooperating.
DS thanked her for the message, and said that he was sure the CEASC was also looking forward to cooperating with PACS. However, the question of exactly how this cooperation would continue was something that would have to be worked out. For example, the new four-member Executive Committee of CEASC (plus the Editor-in-Chief of the CE Journal) would probably be meeting twice a year, but it did not make much sense for a PACS representative to be present at these meetings, since virtually everything they would be discussing would be issues relating to the CEASC and its members. However, Ottawa likes to deal with the CE region as a whole. And it is a fact that we are objectively in the same situation, and benefit from the same kinds of initiative (e.g. conference grants, class-set grants, etc.). So it makes sense that we should continue to meet and work together in some way – and Ottawa too might prefer to work with the CEACS and PACS together. One possible solution might be for the CEACS and PACS Presidents to meet once a year or more. It is a question of finding the best mode for cooperation.
After this introductory discussion, ES left the SC members to work out the specific problems of the new association on their own. DS thanked her for her contribution to the meeting, especially the willingness to host a summer school in 2006.
8.1 Present status and state of the CEACS
DS reported that registering the association took longer than expected. To begin with, we had to translate the Constitution into Czech, and then transfer everything into a different form so as to correspond to Czech regulations. Also, some things had to be added, for the same reason (e.g. how the organization could be dissolved, how membership in the organization could be ended, etc.) First we submitted the Constitution with all the provisions resulting from the long history of previous discussions; however, there was a problem with the institutional membership – this was beyond capacities of Czech law. The lawyer at the Ministry of the Interior recommended that we register as an international NGO with headquarters in the Czech Repbublic, and with only individual membership. A lot of concepts then had to be clarified to satisfy the lawyer – for example, the exact nature and responsibility of the national chapters within the international organization. Also, the woman at the ministry was hard to pin down. All this meant that the final approval of the Constitution was only given on 22 August.
8.2 Application for association membership in the ICCS
DS stressed we would have to work quickly. At the meeting of the ICCS Executive Committee on 10-11 November they would have to have our application so as to be able to approve it provisionally upon the election of our new Executive Committee at the Krakow conference in the beginning of May. We would then forward the names of this Executive Committee to the ICCS, and at the annual meeting of the ICCS in Canada at the end of May they could approve our membership. He felt there shouldn’t be any major problems, but we have to fulfill the regulations.
Since the ICCS Executive Committee would be meeting in Brazil, the application would have to be in to Ottawa before then. He would send it by DHL courrier. This would have to leave Brno on 31 October at the latest.
DS said that much of the material needed for the application he already had. The main problems were the membership list and the country history.
Because the association had been registered so late, it was only very recently that the membership forms had been sent out, and people were only beginning to return the forms. But the list sent to Ottawa with the ICCS application could only contain the names of people who had taken the formal step of registering. He said people would have to mail, fax or e-mail the forms to their country representatives. JM felt that people couldn’t react that quickly, but DS said that this was necessary; he would only claim in the membership application those individuals who had indicated their commitment by Oct. 31. MB said that from her experience sending the application in with a signature was one thing, but collecting money was another. DS said he didn’t need the money right away, only the signed form. He felt that given the personal ties of all the people involved with CS, there would not be a problem collecting the money; the only problem would be the technical one of transferring the money to him. But this could be done in various different ways – at the very latest by bringing it to Krakow.
MB asked who we should encourage to apply – for example, MA students? DS felt we should concentrate on teachers and then PhD students. MH said anybody who pays a given fee should become member. MB pointed out that we wanted committed people, so that the membership would not fluctuate. DS replied that this is why he felt a special effort should not be made to attract undergraduates or even students at the MA level: however, those doing doctorates were already displaying a long-time commitment to CS, and of course teachers were in the same category. KK mentioned that in Hungary they required a recommendation of at least one member to be admitted to the CS listserve
A quick estimation was made of possible numbers; the rough total came to around 100.
8.22 “Country histories”
The question of the “country histories” was dealt with next. DS had sent out a form with the information needed, and asked SC members to bring their completed versions to the meeting. These were compared, and a discussion followed on how to best unify them.
DS suggested that the section on the development of Canadian Studies courses in the country should be brief – factual, neutral.
As far as the section on the universities went, where teachers and courses were concerned, it was decided that titles of courses being taught by teachers were enough, not details of the contents. KK objected that the details might be positive for us; DS said that this was probably true, but that he very much doubted that details could be obtained at this stage for most of the courses, and that to have them for some and not for others would look very strange. Questions were asked as to information about the level of studies, numbers of students, etc. It was decided that what was important was the state of people working on MA and PhDs. KK asked about the BA level; DS said this could be added if people wanted to. As for the “notable events” section, people were not sure what should be put there; DS said that he thought these should be events of a national or international nature organized at the university.
Finally, there as the “Highlights of CS Activities” section. DS explained that these were things that moved CS beyond the university, but should maybe be restricted to books, scholarly monographs, book chapters, lexical entries, maybe translations done by Canadianists, other forms that these people do publicizing Canada, radio programs, interviews with Can authors, etc. – it would be better to call it Canadian studies activities. What was important was that these things should not appear anywhere else in the country history.
8.3 Krakow conference
DS said he had read the Constitution carefully in order to be sure exactly what had to be done in preparation for the Krakow conference, and at it.. Just so everyone was clear, he pointed out that there are two bodies in the new association. First there is the Executive Council, with one representative from each country having at least seven paying members who are active Canadianists (teaching, research). The Executive Council meets once a year, setting the general line of policy for the second body, the Executive Committee, which is made up of only four people. It does the actual day-to-day running of the association.
The conference is 1 May; according to the Constitution, two months before that, we need to have the nominations for the new Executive Committee. That means that by 1 March, each national chapter will have to have done the following. Where the national chapter has a right to a member on the Executive Council (see above), it will send to DS two names, one that of the person they have chosen to represent them on the this council, and the other the name of the person they have nominated for the Executive Committee. Where the national chapter does not have a right to a member on the Executive Council, the members of the chapter wll send to DS the name of one person who they’ve nominated for the Executive Committee. As for the person who is nominated for the Executive Committee, he or she will probably be from the national chapter’s own country, but this need not be. Where a national chapter is entitled to a member on the Executive Council, it may decide on nominating the same person for the Council and the Executive Committee. If so, it should have a second name in reserve; if the individual is elected to the Executive Committee, then the person in reserve would become the Executive Council representative.
What is extremely important is that the election of nominees for the two bodies be absolutely open and transparent. It will be up to each country to decide how this should be done – probably the best method would be to have some gathering of the Canadianists of the country who are members of the association, where they could (among other things) choose their nominees. If this is not possible, then some clear, simple method will have to be devised.
At Krakow, we will first have to have our General Meeting, where the members present will elect the new Executive Committee and discuss any business they may have. Also we will have to elect two auditors. Then there should be a meeting of the Executive Council, as the body to make binding suggestions for the Executive Committee to follow. All of this is going to make for a very busy conference.
The session closed at 17.25.