CENTRAL EUROPEAN STEERING COMMITTEE FOR CANADIAN STUDIES

 

Sixth meeting of the CESCCS

Grainau, Germany

15 February 2002

 

Report

 

Participants

 

Don Sparling (the Czech Republic) [DS]

Monica Bottez (Romania) [MB]

Maria Huttova (Slovakia) [MH]

Ljiljana Matic (Yugoslavia) [LM]

Judit Molnar (Hungary) [JM]

Agniezska Rzepa (Poland) [AR]

Katalin Kurtosi (Central European Journal of Canadians Studies) [KK]

 

Guest

 

Catherine Bastedo-Boileau  - Executive Director, ICCS

 

A. Morning session

 

1. Opening

 

The meeting opened at 9:05.

 

2 Adoption of the agenda

 

The agenda was adopted as presented.

 

3. Approval of the Report on the Bucharest meeting

 

DS reported that Jean Labrie had informed him that Gaetan Vallieres of the ICCS had pointed out an error regarding ICCS programmes (item 7 in the Bucharest Report); in fact ICCS programmes are open to all ICCS members, both full and associate.

 

Otherwise the Report was approved as presented.

 

4. Financial report

 

There were two points up for discussion under this item:  i) the report on the current balance to 10 February 2002, and ii) the grant request for 2002/2003.

 

i) The financial report for the period since the Bucharest conference showed a balance of 10,936.40 CAD (see Appendix 1).  The cost of the Bucharest Steering Committee meeting had been slightly higher than provided for in the budget (2,375 CAD as opposed to 2,200 CAD), even though one of the Steering Committee members had been unable to attend.

 

In line with advice given by Jean Labrie at the Bucharest meeting, DS had applied for a supplementary grant of 3,400 CAD to cover the cost of publishing the Proceedings of the Bucharest meeting and to allow the Steering Committee members to spend an extra night at Grainau so as to have a full day for their meeting. The request had been met.

 

As usual, this February financial report is deceptive in indicating a rather large balance so close to the end of the fiscal year. This is because a major portion of the CESCCS budget goes towards the Grainau meeting of the Steering Committee and the presence of the Central European Canadianists at the GKS conference. In addition, the current balance includes 2,700 CAD earmarked for the Bucharest Proceedings. DS estimated that the final balance at the end of the 2001/2002 fiscal year would be about 1,250 CAD.                                                              

 

ii) In the discussion on the budget proposal for 2002/2003, Steering Committee members recommended that, in addition to the usual items (including the publication of the second volume of the CEJCS), there be provision for a meeting of the Editorial Board of the journal, which could be held relatively cheaply in a convenient CE location.

 

5. Central European Canadian Studies Secretariat, Brno

 

i) Initiatives

 

a)      DS reported that no CE Canadianists had come to the Brno Secretariat to make use of the CS facilities there in the interval since the Bucharest meeting; he would republicize this possibility on the CE listserve. He had, however, been able to donate about thirty copies of books of which the Brno Centre had extra copies to Canadianists in Romania and Yugoslavia.

b)      It had not been possible so far to ensure that, when people were using Google and Yahoo search engines, and typed in the key phrases “Central Europe” and “Canadian Studies", the CE homepage would appear at the top of, or high up on, the list. (The problem seems to be that the name has "European" rather than "Europe"). However,  Petr Vurm is still looking into this.

c)      It was suggested that when publications related to Canadian Studies appear in the region, a copy might be sent to the Secretariat in Brno. Their presence in one place should prove convenient for researchers. DS also suggested that the Secretariat could try to put together an annual bibliography of new books in the region (translations included), on the basis of reports from the individual Steering Committee members.

d)      In connection with FRP and FEP grants as well as the grants for research at the J.F. Kennedy Centre in Berlin, Steering Committee members felt it would be useful to post the names of the recipients of these grants on the Network homepage. This could encourage more Canadianists in the region to apply for these grants, and also enable them to get in touch with individuals who had already received them with questions or when seeking advice or whatever kind. DS agreed to do so.

 

ii) Class-set grants

 

It was reported that there had been some problems with the shipping of class sets; even though the applications had been approved in April/May, some Centres only received their sets towards the end of the autumn semester (the plan had been for them to be available for the beginning of semester in September), or even later. DS said he would speak to Nancy Hector about this.

 

DS reported that M-LC had said that the programme would go ahead for at least another year. The original suggestion had been for a five-year period. This year would be the third; an interim assessment would be made on the success of the programme. 

 

iii) Journals from BACS

 

DS had spoken with Tim Rooth, the President-elect of the British Association for Canadian Studies concerning the BACS journals that were supposed to be sent to various CS Centres in CE. TR had checked this out, and reported that second sets had been reassembled in Edinburgh (the first had been destroyed in floods) and would be posted shortly. He would ask her to inform him when they had been sent off.

 

6. CS developments in Central Europe

 

The practice of dealing with developments in Canadian Studies in Central Europe in the form of previously prepared country reports that are handed out to the Steering Committee members having proved so effective in Bucharest, it was followed again. Each of the participants spoke very briefly, indicating some of the main points in their respective reports. The country reports are included here as Appendixes 2-8.

 

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At this point Catherine Bastedo-Boileau, the new Executive Director of the ICCS, joined the meeting. She met the SC members, and spoke briefly about the ICCS and its wish to cooperate closely with the Network in promoting Canadian Studies in the CE region.

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7.  Conferences

 

i) Report on Bucharest conference, 26-28 October 2002

 

MB presented the final financial report on the conference (see Appendix 9). The conference showed a surplus of 2,250 CAD; this was largely due to the fact that, in the post-September 11 atmosphere, a considerable number of people cancelled their participation. DS had been in touch with M-LC with suggestions for how this surplus should be used; in the end it was decided to put it against the cost of the 3rd International Conference of Central European Canadianists in Krakow in 2004.

 

MB distributed a second report on the conference, which included an evaluation of the event. Steering Committee members had suggestions for a few additions; MB promised to incorporate these in the report, which she would send to DS. It is included here as Appendix 10; the conference programme is attached as Appendix 11.

 

The members of the Steering Committee expressed their thanks to MB for all she and her team had done to make the conference the great success that they all felt it had been.

 

ii) Debrecen conference (October 2002)

 

JM reported that the organizers expect about forty foreign participants in the conference, in addition to the Hungarian Canadianists. DS asked how exactly the conference was being financed; JM was not sure, but said Peter Szaffko, who was in charge, had a great deal of experience in organizing events of this type and would certainly be drawing on a variety of sources. DS pointed out that as far as he knew Ottawa had not been approached yet; if the organizers expected funding from DFAIT it was high time to make an application. He also stressed that if a large sum was required, then this would have repercussions for Canadianists in the region as a whole, since it would have to come out of the special CE budget; for that reason, it was desirable for major events in the region to be at least discussed. JM said more detailed information on the event would certainly be distributed shortly.

 

DS added that the ENCS had confirmed that it wishes to hold its graduate seminars as separate events, and not linked with other events; as a result, since the suggestion of the organizers of the Debrecen conference had been to hold the 9th graduate seminar in conjunction with the Debrecen conference, the ENCS, at its meeting in December 2001, had decided to withdraw its proposal to hold the seminar there in 2002. At that same meeting, moreover, the GKS had reminded those present that approval had previously been given for the 2002 seminar to be held in Germany. Plans now call for the 9th seminar to take place in Berlin sometime in autumn 2002.  The ENCS did stress, however, that it would remain open in future to proposals for the seminar to be held in Central Europe.

 

iii) Krakow conference (3rd International Conference of Central European Canadianists), 2004

 

a) Budget.

 

DS had received a "preliminary cost estimate" for the 3rd International Conference of Central European Canadianists, to be held in the spring of 2004 in Krakow, from Anna Reczynska, who will be organizing the event. During discussion, the following points were touched upon.

 

  Accommodation costs were higher than in Bucharest, but that was inevitable since Polish prices generally are higher than those in Romania.

  The suggested conference fee of 150 CAD was criticized as being far too high, and least for Canadianists in most of the CE countries. In Bucharest, for example, it had been 35 USD (teachers) and 15 USD (students) - about 55 CAD and 23 CAD respectively.  It was agreed that the fee should be more in line with the Bucharest figure.

  Non-Central European participants should be expected to pay for accommodation and meals, or have a different conference fee, since they did not need the degree of subsidization given to the CE participants.

  Travel costs had not been included in the budget. DS explained that this had also been true in the past. Local Canadian embassies had helped with travel costs of academics to the conferences in Brno and Bucharest; money remaining from the 9th graduate seminar in Brno had been used to help graduate students with their travel costs to Bucharest. Hopefully similar arrangements would be worked out for the 2004 conference.

  This event would in fact be both the 3rd international CE conference and the 3rd Polish Association congress. In other words, DFAIT would be funding only one event instead of the two that it had funded in 2001 (i.e. the Polish Association conference in Torun in April and the international CE conference in Bucharest in October). This should be taken into account by DFAIT when deciding on funding levels.

 

b) Other points

 

  The suggested date was Friday 30 April - Sunday 2 May. DS pointed out that if the same organization scheme was followed as at Torun, with the programme beginning at 9.00 a.m. on Friday, many participants (including all non-Poles) would probably have to arrive on Thursday, which would mean one more night's accommodation. This would affect the budget.

 

  There was some discussion on the subject of a theme for the event. The word "variety" seemed attractive, but no concrete proposal was agreed on.

 

  As far as the organization was concerned, some people felt that it would be useful to have a special session for doctoral students; others felt that including them in regular sessions gave them more "legitimacy". It was also pointed out that in some cases the quality of doctoral students' work was at least as good as that of teachers!

 

iv) Participation in Grainau

 

a) 2002

 

It was pointed out that there was some confusion in the instructions for applications this year, in that some people applied to the local Canadian Embassy, and some to the Steering Committee representative; in future, if CE Canadianists come to Grainau, the applications should go to both the Embassy and the SC rep, to avoid confusion.

 

b) Future

 

DS informed the participants that the GKS and Ottawa were reconsidering the practice of the past few years, of having twenty CE Canadianists present annually. For one thing, the interest among GKS members in attending the conference continues to grow, but the Hotel am Badersee has reached capacity limits (in terms of catering facilities and rooms for conference sessions). The twenty places taken by CE Canadianists means that twenty GKS members are unable to attend their own conference. A second consideration is that CS has grown considerably, and that perhaps CE Canadianists are not as greatly in need of attending Grainau, the main purpose of which has been to introduce them to the wider international community of Canadianists.

 

Steering Committee members said that, though they recognized the validity of the above arguments, they felt that the chance to attend the Grainau conference was still extremely important for CE Canadianists. Many new ties continued to be made every year, particularly with the current policy of giving priority to bringing to Grainau CE Canadianists who had not been there before. In addition a key reason for the success of the GKS Outreach Programme was that the CE Canadianists could discuss lectures tours and intensive courses with the individuals in person. Finally, Grainau offered a unique opportunity to meet with people from DFAIT and the Canadian embassies in CE; this was extremely valuable, especially for the Steering Committee. The feeling was that if changes were to be made in the current policy, they should be well thought out, and that CE Canadianists should not be cut off from the chance to attend Grainau absolutely.

 

DS said he would be speaking later with Marie-Laure de Chantal, and would express their views to her. In the subsequent meeting with her, he stressed the reasons in favour of maintaining CE links with

Grainau. ML agreed, saying that the idea was not to eliminate the CE presence at Grainau, or to cut off support for CE Canadianists in general. Certainly she felt that it was important for the Steering Committee. But it might also be possible instead to change the funding so as to allow CE Canadianists the opportunity to attend other conferences besides/instead of Grainau; this way they could actually choose events that matched their interests more closely. She would also have to check out in Ottawa what forms of support might be possible. It was agreed to carry on the discussion by e-mail, so that a concrete proposal could be included in the request for the 2002/2003 grant.

 

In order to show Ottawa the continuing importance of Grainau for CS in the CE region, SC members were asked to prepare lists of how the presence of CE Canadianists in Grainau had benefited CS in their respective countries. DS would then work these comments into a general statement.

 

8. Publications

 

i) The Proceedings of the Bucharest conference

 

MB distributed the papers that had been submitted so far to members of the SC, who agreed to find readers in their respective countries. Each paper will be read by two persons. The SC members were given till 12 April to inform MB of the readers’ evaluations and (any) comments.

 

It was agreed that the Proceedings would be published in Brno, using the same design as for the Brno volume. In this way, a series would be created for the triennial event.

 

ii) CE Journal of Canadian Studies

 

Since the deadlines for submission of material to the CE journal and the Bucharest volume were so close in time, it was decided that it would be desirable to extend the deadline for submission to the Journal. KK as editor-in-chief agreed; Monday 18 March was agreed on. DS said he would immediately send out this information on the CE listserve.

 

The contributions are being submitted to the Secretariat in Brno. DS said that he would then make a complete list of the contributions and e-mail it to KK, who would contact people to read them; the appropriate papers would then be sent out from the Brno Secretariat. For the first volume of the journal, each contribution had been read by several individuals, the reason being that the Steering Committee wanted to start publication by ensuring that there was no doubt as to why papers had been selected or rejected. This time KK felt two readers per paper was enough, with an additional reader should the reports differ widely.  KK reported that the readers would be members of the editorial board, with others called upon for fields not covered by the editorial board members. All people involved in reading reports or providing other support would be included in the advisory board for the respective issue.

 

 

[The morning session ended at 12.30]

 

B. Afternoon session

 

[The meeting reconvened after lunch at 1.45]

 

iii) Proceedings of European graduate seminar (Brno, October 2000)

 

DS thanked the SC members for seeing to the evaluations of the papers from the European seminar for graduate students in Canadian Studies held in Brno in October 2000. A total of fourteen papers had been accepted; editing was proceeding.  The publication of the volume was linked with the following point on the agenda.

 

iv) Other European  graduate student seminars

 

DS informed the SC members that at the most recent meeting of the ENCS, in December, there had been a discussion of the question of publishing the papers from the annual European seminars for graduate students in Canadian Studies. In some cases these had been published, on others not; funding was irregular. Since there was general agreement that the Brno Proceedings and CE Journal of Canadian Studies were very attractive, and had been produced at a reasonable cost, DS had suggested that the annual grant for the seminar should include a sum for publication of a selection of the papers, and had offered to publish these proceedings regularly from the Secretariat in Brno. The idea had been accepted; the first one to be published would be from the seminar in Belfast in 1998. Robert Thomsen of Aarhus University, one of the editors of the papers from that conference, would also see to a design that could be used for the series.

 

9. Lecture tours

 

i) Grainau speakers 2002

 

DS explained why the lecture tours with speakers coming to Grainau in 2002 had not materialized: preparations had begun too late, so that speakers already had other plans; in some cases only one venue could be found for a particular speaker, which was not really enough to justify what was supposed to be a "tour"; in other cases, summer semesters at universities began too late for the Canadian Studies Centres to take advantage of the speakers' presence; and finally, some universities lacked the funds to cover local costs (accommodation, meals). It was agreed that if we wanted speakers coming to Grainau to take part in tours in future, we would have to ask the GKS to get provisional agreement from the speakers very early on in the selection process, so as to give everyone enough time to plan such visits.

 

As part of this, the SC members were asked to give the approximate times when semesters in their countries begin and end. These are as follows:

 

                                    Winter semester                                  Spring semester

 

Czech Republic             25 September - 20 December                    15 February - 20 May

Hungary                       10 September - 15 December                    1 February - 15 May

Poland                          5 October - 20 January                                    10 February - 31 May

Romania                       1 October - 20 January                                    20 February - 31 May

 (MA students - 1 May)

Slovakia                       October - November                              End of February - April

Yugoslavia                   10 October - 15 January                        15 February - 31 May

 

ii) Future tours

 

DS reported that he had been in touch by e-mail with Dirk Hoerder, who is in charge of the GKS Outreach  Programme. He suggested that it might be best to organize some tours with German academics, which would give us experience in arranging such things that could then be applied to, for example, tours by Grainau speakers. DS said he would be speaking to DH later at the Grainau conference, and would report back.

 

Note: The suggestion made by DH was for a tour, or tours, involving one or more of three women academics in the fields of social geography, multiculturalism and gender studies. One possible date would be the second week of October; the visits might take the form of lectures or full one to two day seminars. The best thing would be for a tour to concentrate in a particular region of CE - north-central, central-central or south-central, to cut travel time. The GKS would cover travel costs, local centres would be responsible for accommodation and if possible per diems for meals. DS said he would discuss this with SC members.

 

10. Class-set grants (2001, 2002)

 

DS said he assumed the class-set grant programme would continue this year (the original suggestion had been for a five-year period). It had also been suggested by Marie-Laure de Chantal and Nancy Hector at DFAIT that there should be an evaluation later this year to see how successful the programme had been. DS would be in toucb with NH and ML to confirm that the programme was going ahead; if so, he would send out announcements early in April. It was suggested that the instructions should make it even clearer what class sets were intended for, as well as the fact that a centre or university could only ask for one class-set grant or one library support programme grant per year.

 

11. CE Association of Canadian Studies

 

Most of the afternoon was taken up with discussion of a draft constitution for the new CE Canadian Studies Association.  DS had prepared this before the Grainau meeting, on the basis of comments made at the SC in Bucharest, and circulated it to the SC members. The draft constitution was examined point by point, and a number of suggestions and changes were made.

 

It was agreed that DS would incorporate the changes and then send this revised version to SC members for their approval. This version would then be sent out on the CE listserve to all Canadianists in CE. On the basis of their comments, a final version would be approved by the SC.

 

12. Next meeting of the Steering Committee

 

JM extended the invitation of the organizers of the Debrecen conference to hold the next meeting there in conjunction with that event. The SC members agreed; details will be fixed later.

 

13. Closing

 

The meeting came to an end at 5:15.

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting of Central European Canadianists

 

As in the past few years, a meeting was held on Saturday afternoon that brought together all twenty Central European Canadianists at Grainau, as well as personnel from the Canadian Embassies in the CE region who were also present. Alan Bowker, Director, Academic Relations, DFAIT, Marie-Laure de Chantal, International Academic Relations, DFAIT, and Catherine Bastedo-Boileau, ICCS Executive Director, also spoke.

 

The meeting opened with Ursula Mathis and Elke Nowak of the GKS welcoming the CE Canadianists and expressing confidence that cooperation between the GKS and the countries to the east would continue to develop in future, though perhaps some of the current forms of cooperation would be replaced. After their introductory words, Don Sparling gave a brief survey of the development of Canadian Studies in the Central European region since the mid-nineties, stressing the importance of the GKS and, in the early stages in particular, the European Network for Canadian Studies. He also outlined the activities developed by the Steering Committee; noting the crucial support given by the ICCS and the Academic Relations Division of DFAIT in all this, he welcomed the presence of representatives from these two key agents for the development of Canadian Studies. Catherine Bastedo-Boileau then touched on the main kinds of support offered by the ICCS for Canadian Studies activities, and urged those present to check out the ICCS website for more detailed information concerning relevant programmes. She was followed by Alan Bowker, who spoke at some length about the role of DFAIT in supporting Canadian Studies, stressing that it was there to promote, not to instigate, the discipline: the initiative had to come from the Canadianists themselves. Marie-Laure de Chantal backed him up on this, and focused more specifically on the various DFAIT programmes that have been developed for Canadianists worldwide. Finally, DS spoke about the three programmes which he felt were of most immediate benefit to Canadianists in Central Europe, especially those who, like the majority of CE Canadianists present, were fairly new to the field: the class-set programme, the FRP and FEP grants, and the grants for research stays at the J.F. Kennedy Institute in Berlin.