VI edycja Ogólnopolskiego Konkursu Wiedzy o Kanadzie

Discover Canada 2019

TEMATY ESEJÓW

 

Prosimy dokładnie przeczytać tematy esejów oraz ustosunkować się do wszystkich aspektów określonej problematyki sugerowanych w pomocniczych pytaniach.

W czasie półfinału zostaną wylosowane trzy tematy, z których uczestnik wybiera jeden.

 

 

  1. The 2018 Polaris Prize-winner Jeremy Dutcher pointed out that the Canadian arts scene is in the midst of an “Indigenous Renaissance.” Many Indigenous artists in such fields as visual arts, literature, music, dance and film have been critically acclaimed worldwide. Their artistic practices are diverse, both traditional and contemporary. The distinctiveness and the role of art in Indigenous cultures has been documented by various Indigenous filmmakers, including Loretta Todd in her film Hands of History” (1994). Watch the documentary and write an essay in which you discuss the views on Indigenous art as represented by Doreen Jensen, Rena Point Bolton, Jane Ash Poitras and Joane Cardinal-Schubert, the artists featured in this project. Focus on major themes and ideas of their artistic practices. What are their reflections on the differences between the Indigenous and Western art? How was Indigenous art defined by western scholars in the past?  How is art defined by Indigenous  people and artists?  What is the role of art and artists in Indigenous communities?

 

  1. In 2018 Polish people worldwide have been celebrating the centenary of independence  regained by Poland after the First World War. This anniversary is a good time to reflect on the life of immigrants from Eastern Europe in Canada,  and to explore and recognize the contributions of the diverse Polish diaspora in this country. There are many Polish heritage sites in Canada of important cultural, historical or scientific significance to this diaspora. They may be unique geographic or historical landmarks or places commemorating the history of Polish presence and accomplishments in Canada.  Visit the Polish heritage website and explore the diverse categories of heritage sites (bridges, buildings, cemeteries, churches, credit Union, geographical locations, gravesites, lakes,  monuments,  parks, plaques, Polish halls. Pope John Paul II, streets, villages, townships). Select 6-8 examples of heritage sites which for you represent the distinctiveness of the Polish diaspora in Canada. Write an essay in which you reflect on each of your selected sites and justify your choice. What do they reveal about the history of Polish immigration to Canada?  What do they say about the contributions of the Polish diaspora to this country?  How do they construct the image of Polishness in Canada? To support your discussion of  this topic, you can also explore the website “The history of Polish Community in Canada”:

http://www.polishheritage.ca/page.aspx?page_id=88

 

  1. Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature,  has been acclaimed by critics as the „master of the contemporary short story.” She is praised for being “a meticulous documentalist: a recorder of sounds and smells, a landscape painter, an analyst of individual and social minds.”  Readers are enticed by the complexity of her psychological fiction and its artistry.  Munro deals with topics such as dichotomy of reality, identity and relationships,  self-discovery and self –alienation,  relationship between identity and physical and social environment, just to mention some of them. The keywords used by critics to discuss the artistry of her short stories are: “open-endedness, complexity,  irony,  paradox,  double vision,  irony, subtext,  multiple telling,  polyphony, hybridity”; her use of language is compared to the “denseness and precision characteristic of poetry” and the narrative strategies are examined as based “on textile crafts, patchwork piecing,  quilting,  stitching,  intertextuality” and “destabilizing the notions of unity, coherence, and balance.” Select one Alice Munro’s short story from the list below and write an essay in which you reflect on the writer’s mastery and artistry of the short story genre. What did you find most striking/insightful/ captivating about the short story you chose for your analysis? What themes/ideas have been explored in the text?  How are the characters represented? In your analysis,  focus also on the use of language and narrative techniques.  Did you find anything missing or disappointing in the short story of your choice?

 

  1. A considerable number of Indigenous people from every region of Canada served in the Canadian armed forces in the World Wars, even though they were exempt from military service. Willingly accepting the most perilous tasks, they participated in every major battle of the wars and many Indigenous military servicemen were awarded medals for bravery and heroism, leaving a remarkable record of wartime accomplishment. Although the scale and diversity of Indigenous involvement in the war effort was great, they had to overcome cultural challenges and barriers. Having returned to Canada after years away at war, Indigenous soldiers, hoping that their sacrifice would result in greater recognition and improved living conditions at home, faced unequal access to benefits and found it very difficult to successfully re-establish themselves in civilian life. Write an essay discussing the participation of Indigenous people in Canadian military service during both World Wars. Examine various reasons why Indigenous men enlisted, focus on their contribution to the wars, and cultural challenges they were subject to before and after the military conflicts. What was the impact of the recruitment of Indigenous men on their home communities and traditional means of livelihood? What was the Soldier Settlement Act and how did it affect the lives of returning Indigenous military servicemen? What were the main problems the Indigenous veterans faced having returned to Canada after many years at war?

 

  1. One of the most visible and recognized parts of the Canadian Constitution is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms enacted by the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1982. Considered to be one of the country’s greatest accomplishments revolutionizing specific aspects of Canadian life, its main objective is to strengthen national unity and to protect a number of basic rights and fundamental freedoms, affirming that Canada is a democratic and multicultural country. Yet, it also provides Canada’s Parliament, provincial and territorial legislatures with the power to limit and override certain Charter rights. Since its language is very general, it elevates the role of the courts as judges are enabled to make legal and social changes through their interpretation of the Charter’s meaning, which generates controversy. Write an essay discussing how the Charter has shaped Canada’s political landscape and social fabric since its enactment. Examine positive and negative influences of the Charter on the Canadian political system and Canadian society. Does the Charter divide or unite Canadians? Does it strengthen or weaken democracy? Has it provided minorities with a new avenue to change public policy? Has the role of the Parliament been gradually eroded? What are the main concerns relating to the Charter? What is the notwithstanding clause, also known as Section 33? How many times has the clause been used and by whom?

 

  1. The Indigenous peoples of the territory that is known today as Canada have been living for generations, nurturing an intimate relation with their land and natural world in line with their holistic beliefs. Their life in close contact with the land has resulted in an in-depth knowledge of natural environment, its resources, their sustainable use and the harmonious relationship between humans and the land. Having faced colonialism, exploitation and losses, the encroachment of European settlers into their traditional lands, the Indigenous peoples in Canada are now confronting the immediate impact of the ruthless and thoughtless industrial activities of modern civilization. According to the United Nations, climate change is a potential “threat” to the lives of the Indigenous communities in Canada. Long before western scientists started alarming the world of the danger, the Indigenous people worldwide had voiced their opinions about the necessity for an urgent shift in the approach to the natural environment. Many countries have not been listening to them. In Canada, in 2008, the government officially apologised for historical injustices committed against the Indigenous peoples living in this country, and declared its readiness to cooperate with them. Write an essay that discusses how the climate change impacts the lives of Indigenous communities in Canada. In what ways is it bringing irreversible changes to their cultures, societies, traditional lifestyles and knowledges? Provide examples of THREE such changes. Focus on the tensions between Indigenous forms of knowledge and Western science with reference to climate change. What are the Indigenous views and proposals on the preservation of the environment and biodiversity of the planet? In what activities raising the awareness on climate change are the Indigenous peoples of Canada involved? Provide TWO examples of their direct actions towards protecting environment. Point out how the government is cooperating with the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

 

  1. The population of visible minorities in Canada has been rapidly growing. According to the Statistics Canada, by 2036 almost one of every two Canadian residents is expected to be a first or second generation immigrant. The top visible minority cultures in Canada include the South Asians and the Chinese. These minority cultures have contributed to Canada in various ways. Canada is recognized worldwide for its progressive multicultural policies; historically, however, the relationship between the Government of Canada and visible minorities has lacked consistency. Choose ONE minority culture (South Asian or Chinese) and write an essay about its changing relationship with the Government of Canada. Give THREE examples of the selected minority’s contribution to the process of shaping Canadian identity and culture. Provide also TWO examples of discriminatory policies or any other forms of mistreatment the minority culture experienced  in Canada. Discuss what the Canadian government has done for the reconciliation and redress for past injustices to this culture.