CENTRAL EUROPEAN STEERING COMMITTEE FOR CANADIAN STUDIES
Eighth meeting of the CESCCS
Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic
28-29 March 2003
Don Sparling (the Czech Republic) [DS]
Marian Gazdik (Slovakia) [MG]
Ljiljana Matic (Yugoslavia) [LM]
Judit Molnar (Hungary) [JM]
Katalin Kurtosi (Central European Journal of Canadians Studies) [KK]
Petr Vurm – Assistant, CE CS Secretariat, Brno, Czech Republic [PV]
The meeting opened at 15:30
2. Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted as presented.
3. Approval of the report on the Debrecen meeting
The report was adopted as presented.
4. Financial reports
4.1. Report to 27 March 2003
DS presented the financial report, covering the period from the Debrecen meeting to 27 March 2003 (see Appendix 1). Most of the items were standard; his comments touched only on those that were of a different nature than usual. This year for example there had been a special budget item for increasing the presence of French on the CE CS Website. He and PV had discussed the possibilities, in the end deciding that it was impossible to make the website totally bilingual. However, this was feasible for the front page, and for the individual pages of teachers whose teaching is in French. See 5.21.
The item “other Sec. expenditures“ covered among other things contributions to accommodation costs for graduate students and others coming to Brno to work on PhDs and Mas as well as the cost of photocopying material in the Brno CS library for Canadianists in the region. Though these kinds of expenditures had not been explicity approved earlier, DS felt that they were legitimate as part of the effort to make maximum use of the very large CS library in Brno.
DS stated that the supplementary grant of 250 CAD would be explained later (see 11 below).
4.2 Preliminary report on fiscal year 2002/2003
DS pointed out that the fiscal year was almost ended, so that a preliminary report could be presented that (with estimates for the Hradec Kralove meeting) would contain figures very close to those in the final report that he would be submitting to DFAIT. He added that in the report on the Hradec Kralove meeting, which he would be writing up after the end of the fiscal year, he would include the final rather than the preliminary figures (see Appendix 2).
Several of the figures were considerably lower than had been anticipated. In particular, because this second Steering Committee was taking place in Hradec Kralove rather than in Grainau (and two of the participants had been unable to attend), the sum spent on Steering Committee meetings was far under budget.
Another expenditure that had not been made, though money had been allotted for the purpose, was a meeting of the CEJCS board. In a brief discussion on whether the board would be meeting in future, KK expressed the view that this might prove necessary, so that this item should be included in the 2003/2004 budget.
5.1 Visits to Brno
DS reported that visits from students (Czechs, a Romanian) doing MAs or PhDs on Canadian topics had continued. He felt that more should be done to encourage this kind of stay, since the CS library in Brno is considerable, and it is far from being fully utilized. In the past period he had used some CE Secreatariat funding to help support the stay of the students in Brno, though this had not been explicity approved of before. He suggested that the SC budget should include an item to help contribute to the cost of students‘ stays in Brno – e.g. to cover their accommodation costs in inexpensive university facilities. This was welcomed by the rest of the SC.
5.2 The CE CS webpage
5.21 Bilingualization. DS reminded people that money had been provided in the budget to introduce more French onto the CE CS website. PV had prepared a new parallel introductory page in French and doubled some other entries; in addition. entries for teachers working in French were being changed to that language. In future there would be an attempt to provide important information in both languages.
5.22 Keeping entries up to date. PV explained that, because it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep the information in personal entries up to date, he had devised a new, automated system. Through the listserve, everyone had been informed of how it works. In future, everyone will be able to update his or her entry automatically, in the language of choice, at any time. The new system is easy to operate (“user-friendly”) and should enable people to make any changes in their entries in a matter of minutes.
5.3 New initiatives
DS asked SC members for suggestions as to what new initiatives the Secretairat might undertake.
5.31 Listserve KK suggested that, since they have an up-to-date listserve in Hungary, kept by Andras Toth, it might be better for Petr Vurm to send all information for distrubution to him (in the way information for Poland is sent to Agnieszka Rzepa). This seemed like a useful idea. PV would contact AT, and also get from him the names to add to our webpage.
5.32 JKF Centre DS reported that he had wanted to list the successful applicants for the JFK Centre grant on the CE CS website, as a means of encouraging people to apply. But he had been told by the librarian at the JKF Centre that this was not possible, as this was classified information. KK mentioned that their had been problems with the payment of grants to some CE scholars; when she was there grants were not paid till almost the end of people’s stays, and this caused some real problems. DS promised he would get in touch with Walter Larink to enquire about both these issues.
5.33 Catalogues of Canadian books. DS had been contacted by Mme Colette Dupuis, who is in charge of the new books exhibit at Grainau every year. Pointing out that many book orders from CE (e.g. those in the book-grant programme) contained books that were not in print, she suggested that since he met a lot of CE Canadianists at various events, he might be able to hand out up-to-date catalogues to them. DS had replied that he didn’t in fact see so many CE Canadianists in the course of a year, but that it would be very useful to have a set of current Canadian book catalogues at the CE CS Secretariat in Brno: people could get in touch and ask us whether or not particular books were available, what books were available in certain areas, etc. She had agreed, and would be sending a full set of the most recent catalogues to the Secretariat. CE Canadianists will be informed of this via the listserve. If this proves useful, the Secretariat would be regularly supplied with the latest catalogues.
5.34 Finally, one general suggestion was made – that the Secretariat should send out an e-mail message to people with a brief summary of the services it provides, just as a reminder, and also ask for new ideas.
6.1 Proceedings of the Bucharest conference
MB was planning to bring the final versions of the articles to Hradec Králové. Instead, she sent them electronically to DS. He and PV will look them over, and do the final preparations for the printers. This might involve some final polishing-up of the language. The articles had been checked, but DS said that in his experience this was not always 100 per cent effective, and a publication with articles in weak English or French was not a good advertisement for CE CS. The same cover will be used as for the Brno proceedings; they will form a series. Probably the title of the publication will be that of the theme of the conference. DS could not say when exactly the publication would come out; given his heavy commitments in the near future, sometime in the summer seemed the most likely date.
6.2 Central European Journal of Canadian Studies
The response to the call for articles had been gratifying: 17 articles (four in French), three book reviews, one article on an event in the region. Comparison with earlier issues showed that interest in the publication was clarly rising.
A discussion was held on the number of readers for each article. KK felt the practice of having four readers for each article, spread out over the whole region, should continue; this ensured a broad acceptance of all articles, and avoided arousing local sensitivies. It was agreed that the same as used in the past would be employed again this time. Complete sets of the contributions would be sent to members of the editorial board in different countries (Nancy Burke in Poland, Margareta Gyurcik in Romania, Petr Kylousek in the Czech Republic) for distribution to readers; KK would see to the readers in Hungary. DS said he would work with Petr Kylousek, and perhaps send some articles to readers in other countries (Slovenia, Serbia). Each article would be given a ranking from one to five (five being the highest), accompanied by a definite statement as to whether it should be published as is, recommended for publication with changes, etc. It was also suggested that new readers should be involved, where possible: we should avoid the situation were only a a few people were reading material issue after issue. KK said that the numbers involved were already large, but agreed that we should always keep in mind the danger of becoming too exclusive.
DS asked when readers’ reports would be due back. KK suggested the end of May.
DS brought up the question of whether the journal board should meet sometime (perhaps in Brno or Bratislava, or even in Budapest). KK felt it would be useful, but there might well be problems of finding a time suitable to all. Suggestions were made for the second half of June or bginning of July. KK would look into this.
DS asked KK to send an e-mail to the board members telling them the articles would be arriving within ten days. This way they could have the readers ready by the time the material arrived. As far as publication date was concerned, DS said he felt it would likely be sometime in the fall.
Finally, it was agreed to raise the print run to 300 copies.
6.3 Proceedings of the European graduate seminars
DS reminded those present that the Secretariat in Brno also published the proceedings of the graduate seminars organized annually by the ENCS, and handed out copies of number two. He had spoken to Elke Nowak, who is putting together the proceedings from the Berlin seminar (September 2002). Between the Brno and Berlin seminars there had been one in Avignon, but there was no communication from the French and he did not know if papers from that event were going to be published. In future, there would be a publication for each grad seminar.
6.4 Distribution of publications
Because of mailing costs, DS had sought for some other way of distributing publications. He had spoken to Magdalena Rosova at the Canadian Embassy in Prague, and it had been agreed that they might be distributed by diplomatic post. DS had not yet had time to arrange this. When this is ready, he will send out an e-mail on the listserve saying that copies will be arriving at the various embassies, and that people should turn to their local embassies if they wish a copy. Embassies will also have instructions that CS Centres should have copies, to put in libraries.
KK asked whether it was possible to send copies of the journal to Paris (the Canadian Cultural Centre there). DS replied that copies would be sent to all of the Western European countries. In the case of the graduate seminar proceedings, most copies would be sent to Western Europe, since the seminar is their initiative.
7. Canadian Studies developments in Central Europe
The country reports were presented (see Appendixes 3-10). This was the first time that a unified format had been used. DS asked how people felt about it. KK felt that it was very practical. DS agreed, adding that it also made it much easier to compare what was going on in different countries. Having all this information in this form would also be useful when the new CE association applied for membership in the ICCS.
A brief discussion on the formal aspects of the reports followed. DS pointed out that there was no specific category for a conference as such; this should perhaps be included under no. 2 in the form.
DS also touched on points of detail. He felt that titles of theses (and their authors’ names) should only be included when they had been defended; otherwise numbers were enough.
JM felt it was a good idea to put the names of teachers down for courses. KK this would also be useful when applying for a grant, since the country reports are public documents and could be referred to.
8.1 Report on the Debrecen conference
The Steering Committee expressed its pleasure at the hospitality it had received at the conference in Debrecen in October 2002, commented on how well it had been organized and how excellent so many of the sessions had been, and asked JM to pass on its thanks to the organizers of the Conference. She replied that we would do so, and added that it was planned to make it a biennial event.
8.2 GKS: Grainau 2003
Since the CE Steering Committee had decided not to meet at the GKS conference in Grainau (as it had in the past), all ten CE places there were freed up for other CE Canadianists. In the end, eight CS Canadianists were chosen to go to Grainau (in fact all who had met the SC criteria for attendance, i.e. work related to the subject of the conference, which was Acadia, or work in Francophone Canadian studies).
DS had also been present at Grainau; part of his stay had been paid by the ENCS, since in his capacity as Co-Convenor of the group he attended a meeting of ENCS reps organizing the big 2005 conference that was held in conjunction with the GKS conference. Some CE Network Secretariat money had also been used.
8.3 GKS: Grainau 2004
When at Grainau, DS had agreed with the new GKS President, Dirk Hoerder, that next year places would be made avaiable for six CE Canadianists at Grainau (they will be paid for out of the CE Network budget). Other CE Canadianists can of course apply on their own, though priority will be given to GKS members.
8.4 3rd International CE Canadianists’ conference, Krakow 2004
DS reported that about a month earlier Anna Reczynska had sent him a draft version of the call for papers. He had made some changes, and distributed the current, provisional version. DS proposed that the announcement should be issued simultaneously by PACS and the CE Network, with “3rd International Conference” and “3rd Congress” in reverse order. DS felt it was hard to discuss the call for papers on the spot, but asked people to send him comments and suggestions by the end of the coming week.
There were some things to discuss. Anna mentioned panels – do we want panels? What exactly do we mean by panels? KK replied that these were perhaps 5 people talking together, each for 5 to 10 minutes, and then answering each other and responding to questions from the floor (as in the final session at Grainau).
In the original proposal the deadline for applications was August 31. DS suggested September 30, with first fall in late April and then reminders being sent out at the beginning of September. It was agreed the original abstract of 200-300 words was slightly too much; the 250 word maximum was better.
It was felt both accommodation and meals should be covered (as in Bucharest). DS said he believed that was the original proposal, on which the budget was prepared. He would investigate this.
8.5 Graduate student seminar in Szeged (2004)
KK felt the seminar in Szeged in the fall of 2004 should be publicized as soon as possible; this would encourage students in the area to work now in order to present a paper there. DS pointed out we can’t do it now, before the 2003 seminar in Italy (or Spain, depending on the final arrangement) - this would only create confusion. As soon as the seminar is over, though, this would be possible.
9. Lecture tours
DS reported that Dirk Hoerder had said the GKS still had money for lectures. However, he (DS} felt these were difficult to organize centrally (i.e. from the Brno Secretariat). Once we are association, we could have an item in the budget for speakers coming to the region; it would be easier to organize this on our own than at second hand through the GKS. In theory it might even be possible to put at item for this activity in the next CE Network budget; however, DS feslt that there would be enough work ahead with the preparation of the new association. Those present concurred. It was agreed to simply send out an e-mail message to people to the effect that if they plan to invite speakers they should let others know, so that maximum advantage can be taken of the opportunity.
10. Class-set grants
DS reported that when he was at DFAIT in January he spoke about the class-set grants.
It was agreed that they would not be offered in the coming year; instead, the programme would be evaluated and if the result was positive it could be renewed the following year. DS had offered to prepare the evaluation questionnaire. He had done so, and the draft questionnaire had been sent to SC members; he asked for comments. All agreed it was OK.
The question arose as to who should send the questionnaire out. It was felt that, since the whole process had been initiated and administered by the SC, the SC should be responsible for this too. DS would be writing to Nancy Hector (who would also be commenting on the questionnaire) and he would pass on to her this view of the SC.
KK brought up the question of the Oxford anthologies of Canadian literature in English. DS reported that Nancy Hector and Marie-Laure de Chantal had said they were going to recommend to embassies that they see to the purchase of anthologies for CS centres. DS was not sure what money would be used for this. KK pointed out that if DFAIT bought, say, 50 copies, they could get a reduction. DS suggested we figure out how many copies would be needed if each centre were to receive three copies; we could then ask DFAIT to approach the publisher and see what price they could get. Since the class-set programme is suspended this year, this anthology programme could have a chance. DS also mentioned that there was an anothology of Quebec literature (he thought in two volumes).
11. Summer schools
DS reported that the question of holding a CS summer school had arisen, in two different situations. First, back in 2002 he had received an e-mail letter from the University of Zagreb asking if he/ the CE CS Network could organize a two-week summer school concentrated on Canadian Studies. The university would pay for accommodation and meals. He answered that he thought he could find teachers in the region, but that he was not sure about money for travel. He had contacted the embassy in Zagreb and asked them to see if Ottawa could fund this. The second situation in which the question of a summer school had arisen was at the conference in Debrecen, where he had talked to Peter Szaffko, who had suggested a summer school in Debrecen in late summer 2003, complete with ECTS credits, that would focus on Canadian theatre..
When in Ottawa in January DS had spoken to Jean Labrie and Marie-Laure de Chantal about the Debrecen idea. In principle they felt it was an interesting idea, but they are moving away from one-off things and are thinking in terms of longer projects. DS suggested that there could be an annual summer school – probably at the MA level, though welcoming PhD students – each year on a different topic and in a different place.
As far as the Croatian summer school was concerned, M-LdC had not heard anything from the embassy in Sagreb. However, about three weeks before the Hradec meeting, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts rang up DS and asked about the summer school. This was the first time DS had had any response from Zagreb since the first communication. The dean told DS the school would be held in a university facility beside the sea on the island of Rab, and for the first time a date was mentioned: the first two weeks of June 2003. DS pointed out this was not the best time. Also that, given the time and the amount of teaching that was wanted, he felt four teachers (two each week) would be needed, and that he had no idea whether transport costs might be covered by DFAIT.
He had done two things; asked the SC members whether they were free to teach in early June, and asked Marie-Laure de Chantal whether DFAIT might be able to cover transportation costs. None of the SC teachers replied in the positive. MLdC replied that DFAIT might consider it, but only in a wider context – perhaps as a pilot project to see if it is feasible to run a summer course, or something like that.
Discussion focused first on the possibility of the summer school in Croatia. DS said the people in Zagreb wanted to know by the end of March whether we could do it. KK pointed out that we would need some time to prepare and coordinate a proper programme, if it was to be a success. No one felt this could be done in the time available. KK also suggested that June was never going to be very suitable; perhaps a date in early September might be more suitable. DS pointed out, however, that this year at least the Croatians were speaking about a course in June. In the end it was agreed that DS would write to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Zagreb explaining with regret the various reasons why we were not able to provide a team of teachers for the course, and suggesting that in future it might be possible to arrange something, if the circumstances were clear and the time right and plenty of advance warning was given.
As far as the option of having a summer school in Debrecen was concerned, DS returned to what the people in DFAIT had told him in January. The main point was that this would have to be part of a larger, ongoing project, not simply a one-of-a-kind event. DS felt this would be feasible, with a different topic and venue each year - e.g. theatre (Debrecen), multiculturalism (Brno), literature (?), language questions (?), etc. However, here again he felt it was not realistic to think in terms of beginning this year. Also, the cost of such a summer school would be more than that needed for the Zagreb event (since Zagreb had offered to cover accommodation and meals). He suggested we leave this subject for now, and return to it in future, perhaps coming up with a proposal for a specific series of summer schools from, say 2004 to 2007.
At 18:45 DS brought the Thursday afternoon session to a close.
The morning session on 29 March opened at 8:45.
12. CE Association of Canadian Studies
DS explained the procedure for registering the new association. He had consulted a lawyer in Brno, who had not added anything to the constitution, but had reformulated it to meet Czech legal requirements and then sent it off to the Ministery of the Interior. After six week we had got the answer that due to the foreign membership some parts of the constitution were somewhat problematical – it would be better to register it as an international organization with headquarters here rather than as an organization with international membership (there is some legal nuance between the two). The lawyer had made the necessary changes and sent the new version off to Prague. She felt there should not any problems – this was the view of the person at the Ministry as well – so we should assume we will be registered without any problems.
DS suggested we should move ahead according to the following scenario, which he had discussed with Gaetan Vallieres in Ottawa in January. As soon as the association is registered this gives it legal existence, which means we can proceed with writing to CE Canadianists and asking them to join it as members. The membership fee would be for 2003/2004. In the fall (Sept.-Oct.) we would know how many members there are. At the end of October we sould send off to the ICCS in Ottawa an application for membership (the application would contain information on the constitution, membership, activities of the CE Network over the past few years and information from each of the coordinators concerning activities in their respective countries. At the ICCS Executive Committee in November our application would be considered. What we would hope would be that they would approve this application, and recommend it for consideration at the Annual General Meeting in Montreal in May. Probably this would have to be a provisional recommendation depending on the election of the Executive Committee of the new CE association; this should happen at the conference in Krakow at the beginning of May. Immediately after the Krakow conference we would send the names of the new executive committee to the ICCS. Hopefully this would be the last formality clearing the way for a decision at the meeting in Montreal.
A discussion on the membership fee followed. DS asked how much it should be. KK declared that it had already been decided: 7 CAD, for both students and teachers.
[[Note: Subsequent to the Hradec Kralove meeting, in checking reports on earlier SC meetings, DS was unable to find a record of the SC having made this decision.}}
The next question was how to collect the membership fee. Because bank and other charges in this part of the world are so outrageous, it would be pointless to have individuals paying their membership fee to the Secretariat through bank transfers or international money orders (this is doubly true in view of the relatively small size of the fee). Even within some countries (e.g. Hungary – KK) banks charge a lot for an account. KK suggested we should ask whether individual embassies in the different countries might not collect the fees, and then forward the appropriate sum electronically to the Prague embassy. DS was sceptical about this, but said he would inquire. It was also suggested that the fee could be collected at the conference in Krakow. DS pointed out this would not be possible, for two reasons. First, when we send in our application for membership to Ottawa in October we will have to include information on the number of members. Second, at the conference in Krakow we will have to elect an executive committee for the association, and to do this we need nominees from each of the countries beforehand, chosen in such a way that every member of a national “chapter” can participate.
It was also suggested that there might be some bank with branches in the different countries that would allow the fees to be paid to them and transferred inexpensively to the Secreriat in Brno. PV would check this out. DS said there was of course one other way, that the SC members could collect the fee in their individual countries and bring the money with them when they met, but that this was quite clumsy.
One final question concerning the new association arose: what if a person on the executive committee had to step down before the end of his/her three-year term? DS
said there was a provision for this in the draft constitution: the members in the national chapter of the appropriate country would choose a replacement. KK felt it would be practical to have two people – a second person in each case, also so that if, for example, a member of the Executive Committee could not come to a meeting, the substitute would. DS felt that this was up to the individual countries: no constitution can make provision for every eventuality – there has to be space for flexibility.
13. Use of conference grants 2002/2003
DS recapitulated briefly the problems with the allocation in the 2002/2003 buidget for CE Canadianists to attend conferences.. Unfortunately there had been a communication slip-up between DS, the ICCS and DFAIT, with the result that the money the Steering Committee thought it would be redistributing had already been distributed. Some of this had then been spent before it was realized what had happened. In the end, instead of thirteen CE Canadianists going to conferences on the basis of the decision taken at the Debrecen meeting, eight went to Grainau, and two to other conferences; in two more cases, the money was spent to cover the travel costs of students going to the graduate student seminar in Berlin. Because of the problems concerned with the distribution of the conference grants, and the approaching deadline of the fiscal year, it turned out in the end that funding for one conference grant could not be allotted. This sum of $250 CAD was then sent to the CE Network in the form of a supplementary grant, and should be used in 2003/2004 to support attendance at a conference.
When DS was in Ottawa in January and spoke to Jean Labrie and Marie-Laure de Chantal concerning the CE SC budget, he was told that we could think in terms of more or less a similar total sum in 2003/2004, and that the makeup of the budget was flexible and essentially up to us, in accordance of course with some of the ideas discussed with them. For example, if we wished we could again have funding for grants to attend conferences. This is good news, since it means we can advertise earlier for these grants, thus enabling people to attend conferences in May/June and over the summer and early fall.
Some items in the new grant request will be less than in the past – e.g. the cost of Steering Committee meetings (no meeting at Grainau; see 4.2). This means that other items can be adjusted, or new activities or items added (e.g. the fee for the lawyer preparing the constitution for the new association). He asked for comments on what the 2003/2004 draft budget should look like.
Various things were mentioned. These included the second instalment of the grant for the Krakow conference; the third number of the CE journal; funding to help CE students come to Brno and do research there (500 CAD was decided on). The question of funding for a summer school came up, but as it had been decided that it would not be possible to organize anything in the summer of 2004 (see 11), any funding for a such a project would only begin in the 2004/2005 fiscal year. KK suggested we leave it at that: we are quite busy now, with conferences, the journal, the travel grants, etc. - other associations do considerably less.
Concerning the grants to attend conferences, DS reminded people of the agreement with Dirk Hoerder: six places at Grainau in 2004. However, the 250 CAD for conference participation did not cover this year’s participants (the conference fee was 177 Euros). So the question to be considered was how many conference grants should be put in the budget request for the next year, and how much per grant. KK suggested that, given the cost of most conferences (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.), 300 CAD per person would be better this would still represent only a contribution to the total cost. It was decided to offer a maximum of 15 such grants (this year there were 13, at 250 CAD; also, 250 CAD is carried over from the current budget), plus the one left over from last year.
Discussion was held on how to advertise these conference grants. It was agreed we should announce them in April right away, for conferences being held between now and the end of the fiscal year (March 2004). KK suggested a deadline of May 10 for applications, so as to enable people to get to conferences in late May and June. Since there are six places for Grainau, in this round we would offer grants for ten people, going to conferences and presenting papers. In this round we would have “quotas” for countries. A second round could be held in the fall, to include Grainau (no paper needed, but involvement in topic of Grainau conference) and grants not taken up in the first round. This round should be done in cooperation with the embassies (except Poland). The allotment would be as follows (number of places): Poalnd – 2; Hungary – 2; Romania – 2; Czech Republic and Slovakia – 1; Serbia – 1; Bulgaria, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia – 2 altogether. For the last group, DS would have to coordinate the selection.
15. Next meeting of the Steering Committee
The next meeting of the Steering Committee should be sometime in October, or early November at the latest. Ottawa likes idea of the SC meeting in conjunction with something else – this produces synergy. DS asked if anybody knew about any event happening in the CE region in October. No one was aware of anything. DS suggested we send out a query on the listserve as to whether there is any centre that is interested, any kind of event that we could hold our meeting in conjunction with. We could also offer ourselves as a little miniseminar; perhaps the local university could provide some contribution for accommodation and/or meals.
There didn’t seem to be any other business. DS reminded those present of two tasks: 1) to provide an electronic version of the country report, perhaps slightly amended in line with the format agreed on at the meeting; 2) to send him, by end of the coming week, any comments on the wording of the call for papers for the Krakow conference.
The session, and with it the Hradec Kralove Steering Committee meeting, closed at 10.05.