A+ A A-

Tenth meeting of the CESCCS (Krakow, 1st May 2004)

Central European Steering Committee for Canadian Studies

Tenth meeting

Krakow, Poland, 30 April – 1 May 2004

A. Morning session, 30 April




Monica Bottez (Romania [MB])

Maria Huttova (Slovakia [MH])

Katalin Kurtosi (Hungary, CE Journal of Canadian Studies [KK])

Ljiljana Matic (Serbia and Montenegro [LM])

Judit Molnar (Hungary [JM])

Agnieszka Rzepa (Poland [AR])

Don Sparling (Czech Republic [DS])

Petr Vurm (Czech Republic, Secretary [PV])


  1. Opening


The meeting opened at 10:00.



  1. Adoption of agenda


The agenda was adopted as proposed.



  1. Approval of report on Belgrade meeting


Comments had been sent by Steering Committee members when the report was prepared in October; it was approved as it appears on the CEACS website.


  1. Activities of Central European Canadian Studies Secretriat in Brno


Don Sparling reported that there had been no unusual innovations in the period since the Belgrade meeting. Comments could be made in several areass, though.


4.1  Student research grants for Brno


Larger numbers of students were coming to Brno do do reasearch at the Canadian Studies Centre library there; the included students from Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Monica Bottez asked exactly how successful applicants were selected  DS replied that so far it was an open thing, that the funding available had been more than the actual demand (accommodation and photocopying costs are covered). However, it may be moving towards the point where this will not longer be true. Then some kind of selection process will have to be implemented. Maria Huttova asked whether the stays could be extended, making the scheme somthing like that at the JFK Centre in Berlin. DS replied that the resources in Brno are not nearly on the scale of those at the JFK (though in some areas Brno has more up-to-date material); he felt a maximum stay of a week would be reasonable. Depending on demand, however, we could ask for more resources.


4.2 Publications


The production of publications continues. The proceedings of the Bucharest conference appeared in February, volume 3 of the Central European Journal for Canadian Studies only this week. The proceedings of the 11th graduate seminar (Berlin, 2002) appeared in the fall. All publications were received very favourable. These three series of publications were keeping DS and Petr Vurm quite busy.


4.3 Webpage


DS reported that Petr Vurm has made some minimal changes to transform the webpage from one for the Central European Network to one for the new Central European Association for Canadian Studies (CEACS). DS said he realized there was a need for a new design, new texts. etc. This would come, but not immediately. Interestingly enough, the many links on the current webpage (which will remain) mean that references to www.cecanstud.cz are very often thrown up when people are googling for something. This is good, as providing publicity for the association.


4.5 Conference grants

Grants to deliver papers at conferences were awarded, a total of thirteen in the past year. These went to academics from virtually all countries in the region, enabling them to attend conferences both in CE and elsewhere.

4.6 Croatian summer school.

Once again the University of Zagreb turned to the CE Network with a request to supply teachers for their summer school in Canadian Studies. They wanted two, one for the English-language week and one for the French-language week. We were able to find a teacher for the former (Katalin Kurtosi); for the latter there was a tentative response from a graduate student in Brno, but in the meantime the organizers said they would see to finding a teacher for the French week. MB pointed out that it is an awkward time for us, as we cannot leave at the end of the semester. DS agreed, though pointing out that last year we were unable to supply anyone, and this year one teacher; perhaps next year we could find two. MH asked for more advance notice of the school; MB felt May would be a better month. DS said he felt the Croatians had little flexibility, what with their academic year, and the demands of the tourist season on possible facilities.

4.7 Travel grants for Krakow conference

There was a total of 2500 CAD earmarked for travel support to the Krakow conference. In the end most of the embassies found money to support at least some of their people. In the end we offered support for seven people, and then for various reasons three of these people cancelled their participation in the conference. The total distributed was, therefore, 1200 CAD.

4.8 Class-set grants

DS reported that he had not had the time to make an analysis of the evaluations of the class-set book grant programme. A preliminary look at the forms indicated they were very favourable. He would try to do this analysis and send it to DFAIT; he was not sure who was responsible now, as Nancy Hector was not in the section anymore. There was general agreement that we should try to revive the programme, assuming the analysis of the evaluations shows that it was well received.

KK asked about whether the Oxford anthology of Canadian literature could be included in this. DS reminded her that when he had been at DFAIT in January 2003 they had said that this should be left up to individual embassies, which could, for example, order a certain number of copies for each Canadian Studies Centre from the funds they have for Canadian Studies.  However, each embassy uses this budget as it sees fit. KK still felt that DFAIT should at least mention this to the embassies as a useful initiative.


5. The Central European Association for Canadian Studies (CEACS)


5.1  Current state of CEACS application at the ICCS


DS reminded of the crash campaign in October to put together the application to the ICCS for associate membership of the new Central European Association for Canadian Studies (CEACS) in the ICCS. We had to submit a document with the history of CS in the region, developments in the past decade, activities, country histories with Canadianists’ activities in each of them, the association constitution (in English, French and Czech), the proces sof registering the membership and the numer of members as of October 31. This dokument was sent to the ICCS at very end of October. The Executive Committee discussed it at their meeting in November, and then asked Serge Jaumain and Joseph Glass to prepare a report for the next EC meeting, at Grainau in February. This they did; it was favourable, and at that meeting the EC agreed unanimously to recommend that the CEACS be accepted as an associate member at the Executive Council meeting in Moncton at the end of May. All that remains is for us to send to the ICCS the names of the new CEACS Executive Committee members, who will be elected at the general meeting in Krakow on 2 May.


5.2  Governing bodies of CEACS

DS reported that the system of governing bodies of the CEACS is a bit complex, and it will take a while for the members to get used to it. According to the CEACS constitution, two months before the general meeting, national chapters must select their representatives for the Executive Council, and make thein nominations for the Executive Committee; the latter is then elected at the general meeting. This has been done. Most of the members of the Executive Council were not involved with the Steering Committee; some of those nominated for the Executive Committee are new. This means that, no matter how the elections for the Executive Committee turn out, there will both continuity and change in the leadership of CE Canadianists. This is good, a sign of a healthy organization.  In future the Executive Council will meet once a year, and the Executive Committee (probably) twice a year.

5.3 General meeting, election of Executive Committee


Discussion shifted to the general meeting and election of the Executive Committee. Three things had to be decided: how the general meeting on Sunday would be run, who would chair it, and how the election itself would be held. After talking about several options, the SC came to the conclusion that the meeting should open with the election, and that this should be run by the new Executive Council, with one of its members taking the chair. The election itself would be organized by an election committee, chosen at the meeting this afternoon. It would be a two-round affair: in the first the new President would be elected, and in the second the other three members of the Executive Committee would be selected from the remaining nominees. Each candidate would have a chance to introduce him/herself, speaking for two or three minutes. After the election of the new Executive Committee, the new President would become Chair of the general meeting, and conduct the business.


6. Financial report


DS presented the preliminary financial report from the last SC meeting in Belgrade until the end of the fiscal year on 31 March 2004 (see appendix 1). The report was “preliminary” since not all the bills for expenditures up to 31 March had been received; however, they were accounted for approximately in the report. He pointed out that since September there had been a professional accountant in charge of the financial records; the figures he produces will be used for the official report to be submitted to DFAIT along with the new grant request for 2004/2005.  The report shows a large “surplus”, but in fact virtually all of this money is earmarked for some particular purpose (travel grants to Krakow, publications, etc.). When all these are accounted for, the budget is more or less balanced.


7.  Future relationship with the Polish Association for Canadian Studies (PACS)


In an exchange of e-mails, DS and Ewa Welnic (the President of PACS) agreed that the close cooperation between the CE Network and PACS should continue. Their idea as that at least once a year members of the organizations’ Executive Committees should attend meetings of their counterpart. Of course a lot of things can be dealt with by e-mail, as has been the case so far, but it is useful to have personal contact. One unknown is just how DFAIT sees financing. For example, the travel grants for conferences: we don’t know if DFAIT wishes to continue the present practice, of the grant being included in only one budget, and then distributed throughout the region, or whether it would prefer to make two grants, one through PACS and one through the CEACS. As far as the CE journal is concerned, it seems logical to have one, not two: it takes an immense amount of work to produce the journal, and in fact the number of good articles being produced (at least so far) is sufficient for one quality journal, not more. AR pointed out that it is not only the decision of DFAIT – it is up to us to say what we feel works best. MH noted that the essential reality is that there are two associations, not “one region”. AR mentioned that the class-set grants are another thing we have in common. MH brought up the question of some kind of “calendar” to make sure that major conferences in the region do not clash. DS pointed out that this is a problem partly between PACS and CEACS, but even more so between the various countries represented within the CEACS. In this connection, he mentioned that he had written to Peter Szaffko at the University of Debrecen, who organizes a biennial Canadian Studies conference there; the next one is in October of this year. He suggested that the 4th International Conference of Central European Canadianists might be held there in 2006. This would have the advantage of putting it at some distance from the next PACS congress, which will probably be held in May 2007. KK agreed, saying this set up a good rhythm, and returned us to the fall as a time for our conference (as in Brno and Bucharest).

AR mentioned information sparing as another area for ongoing cooperation; DS agreed, and said we would go on including PACS on our listserve, so that its members receive all the information ours do.  The visits by students to do research in Brno will be another area of cooperation – funding for this will come from the CEACS budget.

AR asked whether organizing lectures was possible. DS replied that the GKS has its outreach program, but the point is that there has to be somebody organizing these visits: it is a lot of work. We could include in our budget money to bring people here, but they would have to go more than one place. MH felt she could certainly use some visutiny lecturers. DS reminded her of the potential from CE Canadianists. MH agreed, but pointe dout resources still have to be made available. MB felt visiting lectures by CEACS people could be worked out (even financially) fairly easily; for outside professors we would need other funding. DS saw one of the main problems as being the work involved, and having to find someone willing to see to this.


The morning session closed at 11:55.


B. Afternoon session, 30 April


Present (in addition to those at the morning session) as members of the CEACS Executive Council and candidates for election ot the CEACS Executive Committee


Marian Gazdik (Slovakia [MG])

Petr Kylousek (Czech Republic [PK])

Vesna Lopicic (Serbia and Montenegro [VL])

Ana Olos (Romania  [AO])

Voichita-Maria Sasu (Romania [V-MS])

Diana Yankova (Bulgaria [DY])

Jason Blake (Slovenia, observer [JB])

Vlatka Ljubenko (Canadian Embassy, Zagreb, in place of Ivo Josipovic [IJ], who was arriving later [VL])


The afternoon session opened at 14:45


After all those present introduced themselves, DS explained that, since the Steering Committee would soon cease to exist, it felt it should have a joint meeting with the new Executive Council, so that the latter would have a clear picture of the various issues it would be facing in future.


8. Past activities


DS reported on the activities of the CE Canadian Studies Secretariat in Brno (see 4 above). He also explained the process of applying for associate membership in the ICCS (see 5.1 above). At present we have 165 members; in other words, we are a large organization with many active people.

9. Financial matters


DS presented and explained the preliminary financial report for the 2003/2004 fiscal year (1 April – 31 March) – see 6 above and appendix 1. Now we will have to prepare and submit a budget requst for the 2004/2005 fiscal year. It should be submitted in June (DS has discussed some points with Marie-Laure de Chantal the day before), and would probably be approved by DFAIT in the course of the summer. For large events (such as the Central European conference) it is usual to stretch the financing out over two or even three years (two years for conference funding, the third year for the publication of the proceedings of the conference). In the past, the Steering Committee met twice a year; in future, the Executive Council would probably meet once a year, and the Executive Committee twice (once in con junction with the meeting of the Executive Council). DS asked if there were questions about financing or the budget.

Vesna Lopicic asked why, when there were so many members in the CEACS, we had not applied for full membership. DS replied that the Steering Committee’s plan for some time had been to apply for an associate membership. We had not been sure how many members we might have; the minimum for full membership is 100, and at the time of submission, we had only had 118, not a convincingly large number to justify full membership. (Also, from past experience, the ICCS wanted to be very sure that numbers would continue to be high, and not drop under 100; this had happened in the past.) Another compelling reason is that full membership is more expensive. On the other hand, full membership does not offer any particularly advantages: for example, our members will be eligible for all ICCS grants. Of course this status is not fixed – the question can be reviewed in two or three years,


10.  System of conference grants

This is an important initiative, but one that is slightly tricky, in that if we want to give grants to people going to conferences, many of which také place in May-August, we have to offer them the grants before we actually have our budget approved. However, Jean Labrie has assured us that unless there are some major changes, out level of funding should remain at least at the current level, and that it is up to us to decide how we wish to use it. The conference grants are usually divided into two offers, the first with a certain number of grants for each country (in order to ensure that they are spread throughout the region), and the second open to any of the Canadianists in the region. One of the conditions is that these grants are only given to people who will be delivering papers; applications can be made on the basis of a submission of a paper for presentation, but in that case any award is conditional on the paper actually being accepted.


11.  Publications


For recent developments, see 4.2 above. A call for articles for Vol. 4 of the CE Journal has been sent out. The editorial board of the journal is the responsibility of Katalin Kurtosi, the editor-in-chief. The usual practice is to have the papers sent to Brno, where copies are made and then sent out to the members of the editorial board. Each contribution is read by four people. This is certainly more than usual, but the SC wanted to make sure that the articles were of good quality. This process has acted as an “educational” one, and helped establish standards in the region. Also, it has meant that the final choice of articles had a broad backing; this has ensured that no doubts have arisen concerning either the articles selected or those rejected.

KK added that there had been problems reaching contributors; some e-mail addresses had been inaccurate, and this held up work. JM suggested the editorial board should be stricter about ensuring that all papers have both English and French abstracts, as well as short CVs.

12.  European Network for Canadian Studies (ENCS)

DS spoke briefly about the ENCS and its work. The question was raised as to CE representation on the ENCS – now that the CEACS had been created, should there also be a Polish representative on the ENCS?  DS said he would speak to Cornelius Remi about this.


In connection with the European Network, DS spoke about the European seminar for graduate students in Canadian Studies, which it sponsors every year. This year in October it will be in Szeged, and people were encouraged to have their students apply – this would raise the profile of the whole region. Both MA and doctoral students are eligible. Acommodation and food are covered; usually the local Canadian embassy pays or contributes to the travel cost; the participants are responsible for the modest fee themselves. This is an exceptional event, giving participants the chance to meet other young people involved in Canadian Studies; this helps create a new generation of Canadianists. V-MS pointed out that the student need not have completed a thesis – on the basis of past performance one could judge what the work would be like.


13.  Country reports


DS explained the genesis of the form for country reports – that originally SC members prepared reports on everything in the CS field that had happened in their countries, but that it was hard to compare countries, as everyone had a different system and reported things differently. That led to the creation of the present, structured form for reporting.


Each participant presented his or her report, giving a brief oral summary of the most interesting developments. The reports are included here as appendixes 2-10. A few other points were raised.


DS mentioned that the collection of translations of short stories by Canadian (and American) Natives that had been done in Brno had been part of a translation course in the English Department. The publication had received financial support from the Canadian embassy in Prague (and also from the American embassy). This might be a model for others.


VL spoke about the revival of Canadian Studies in Croatia, and the newly established Croatian association for Canadian Studies. She asked whether members of the Croatian association were also considered members of the CEACS. DS said no, but they could be put on the CEACS listserve. He stressed that the CEACS had no power to shape what individual Canadianists in the various countries did, but that we could provide support (e.g. for conference grants) only for our members. VL also announced that the first conference of the new Croatian association would be held in October/November, in conjunction with a visit by Canadian judges to Croatia; they envisaged it as a multidisciplinary event. DS said as soon as information was received on the event, the CE CS Secretariat would disseminate it.


JM suggested that in the reports on books the size of the printing should be indicated. She also said that the Canadianists in Debrecen hoped to hold regular biannual conferences there, that it would become a tradition.


The afternoon session closed at 16:20 so that people could prepare for the opening of the conference.


C.  Afternoon session, 1 May


The session opened at 13:30


14.  Preparations for the general meeting


DS reminded those present that the main business of this session was how to run the general meeting of the new association on 2 May. First there would be the election of the new Executive Committee; because of the CEACS constitution, this would have to be in two stages, first the election of the President, followed by the other officers. Then the meeting should discuss future activities.


The suggestions made earlier at the Steering Committee meeting (see 5.3 above) were presented. As Judit Molnar was the only member of the current Steering Committee to be on the Executive Council, it was agreed that she would make an appropriate Chair. First each candidate for the Executive Committee would make a presentation; this would be followed by the election of the President, and then by a second round for the other three members of the committee. At this point the newly elected President would také over as Chair of the meeting. An election committee made of of Diana Yankova, Marian Gazdik and Petr Kylousek was selected.


DS pointed out that the CEACS constitution calls for two auditors to be selected at the general meeting. Although we have a professional auditor keeping the books in Brno, these indivuals would be a kind of check. PK asked how many pages the Brno auditor’s report would be; if not too many, then it could be faxed to these internal auditors for checking (though translation might be a problem). DS replied that the auditor prepares a statement at the end of every month; it is not extensive, varying according the association’s activities. MH asked if these auditors should be from one of the official bodies of the organization; DS replied no, they had to be members of the association, but not members on any body – their independence had to be assured. It was decided to leave the nomination and election of the auditors to the general meeting.

Suggestions were made for issues to be discussed at the general meeting in addition to those that had been touched on so far. DS said there should be discussion of what we do, what kind of changes they would like, what issues they might want to bring up with Ottawa. PK felt we should discuss for the future the coordination of national conferences; there should be a plan so that major events did not take place too close to one another. DY suggested more information on visiting professors.

The Debrecen and Croatian conferences were discussed, as examples of events close to one another that might take away potential participants from each other. .

DS brought up the question of an annual CE summer school, the proposal for which had been approved at the meeting of the Steering Committee in Belgrade in the fall of 2003 (see the report for that meeting on the CEACS webpage, section 11.2). In the end he had not gone ahead on this proposal, since it is a long-term project, lasting a minimum of three years; he felt the new association should rediscuss this, since it would be responsible.

MB spoke about the possibility of creating an outreach program of funding, with participation in a conference being used as a springboard for a small lecture tour in neighbouring universities. DS said that this should be possible, on the model of the GKS practice (though distances in CE are rather great, which complicates the traveling). It would be something completely new for the new association.

KK stressed that where future activities are concerned, a formal mention of the CE Journal might be useful to ensure continuity.

As far as meetings went in future, DS mentioned that in the ICCS the Executive Council meets once a year, and the Executive Committee three times; he felt in our case two meetings of the Executive Committee should suffice. Ideally, one or both of these meetings would be in connection with some other event, to encourage more contact among Canadianists, and enable the executive bodies to be in closer contact with the association’s members. IJ suggested Opatija as a good venue, but DS felt this might be quite early; also, he had more or less committed the group to being in Szeged in October. VL suggested the Raab summer school as a place for the Executive Council to meet; DS agreed it might be a  possibility, but May and June are  very difficult for many CE universities  (e.g. in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary.

JM asked about CEACS fees. There are two questions here, how they are collected and when. They system we have now (their being collected by national representatives) seems best; DS felt they should apply for the calendar year and be collected at the beginning of every year – an appeal in January, with a deadline at the end of February. Of course each country might have individual problems, in particular in connection with forwarding the fees to Brno, but these would be met pragmatically

As there were no other points, and conference sessions were beginning, the meeting closed at 14:15.