Tematy esejów

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

  1. Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter-poet-novelist, was described as a “ladies’ man and Buddhist monk [who] built a tower of song – even though darkness was never far off” (Gilmore). In Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows Harvey Kubernik states: “No comparison can be drawn between Leonard Cohen and any other phenomenon. Many will undoubtedly attempt such a comparison, but the result will be, at best, fragmentary. For Cohen is a rarity, if not a scarcity. And though he will always be rare in the true sense of the word, he will be listened to, sung, and read by an ever increasing entourage, those of the new awareness, those seeking artists of sensitivity.” Write an essay in which you reflect on the distinctiveness of Cohen’s art. Do you agree with the above statement by Kubernik? What kind of philosophy of life do Cohen’s texts convey? Do you think his sung poetry can be still attractive to the young people of today? Express your opinion. To explore the topic you may consult the suggested websites but you are also encouraged to use other materials available online.
  2. Indigenous art projects inscribe distinct visions of Indigenous realities, worldviews and knowledge systems. Watch the documentary directed by Loretta Todd, Hands of History (1994) and examine the concept of Indigenous art on the basis of interviews of four female First Nations artists—Doreen Jensen, Rena Point Bolton, Jane Ash Poitras and Joane Cardinal-Schubert. You are also encouraged to consult the other materials we propose for the exploration of the topic. Write an essay in which you reflect on the importance of art for Indigenous cultures, although there is no word for art in most of them. Discuss the predominant subject matter, aesthetic philosophies, as well as the techniques and personal styles of two female artists selected from the documentary or other materials.
  3. Canadian women writers of Polish descent have been conspicuously absent from Canadian literary canons and university reading lists, with the notable exception of Ewa Stachniak. Her literary career, similar to Joseph Conrad or Stefan Themerson, proves that writing in a second language does not belong to the sphere of unattainable fantasy. Stachniak is the winner of the Books in Canada First Novel Award (2000) for her book Necessary Lies, which places her in the category of such eminent writers as Michael Ondaatje, Joy Kogawa, Nino Ricci and Rohinton Mistry. Being an author of five novels and many short stories, Stachniak has earned both Canadian and international acclaim. Write an essay in which you reflect on the contribution of Stachniak to Canadian literature. Focus on the type of novels and topics she chooses for her writing. Discuss why she foregrounds the female experience in her texts. Select one novel as an example of Stachniak’s writing between two cultures. To explore the topic you may consult the suggested websites but you are also encouraged to use other materials available online. Stachniak’s novels translated into Polish are easily available in Poland.
  4. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) was established on 2 May 1670 as a joint-stock merchandising company aimed at a fur-trading commerce with the Royal Charter granting the Company a fur trade monopoly for the entire northern coast of the continent, which was named Rupert’s Land. During its first century of operation, the Company, possessing enormous wealth and political power, established trading posts and forts along the routes of Hudson and James Bay. With the increased competition in the late 18th century, it was forced to expand further into the continent with trading posts spanning the continent all the way to the Northwest Coast. For the purpose of trade, the Company, largely dependent on Indigenous trappers, traded European goods for furs that were hunted, trapped and transported to trading posts by Indigenous peoples. When the fur trade faced a steady decline at the hands of Western settlement and the Gold Rush, the Company was forced to shift to retail and transform trading posts into stores with a variety of goods. Simultaneously, the Company’s fur-trading empire drove colonization through vast tracts of Canadian land. Write an essay discussing the role the Hudson Bay Company played in the development of what became Canada. Examine the trading relationships between the Hudson Bay Company and Indigenous peoples in the fur trade. What were the impacts of the fur trade upon Indigenous peoples, their traditional lifestyles and economy? Did the Hudson Bay Company bring peace and stability to Indigenous peoples? How did the European expansion to the West and discovery of gold change the future of the Hudson Bay Company? What were the point blankets and why are they fraught with colonial history? Why were Metis women integral to the fur trade?
  5. L.B. Pearson’s Peace Plan, securing the cessation of hostilities in the 1956 Suez Canal crisis in Egypt, established Canada’s reputation as a peacekeeping nation. Ever since, Canadian soldiers have participated in related missions all over the world. As part of Canada’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Canada has played a key role in the international adoption of peacekeeping with 125,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces serving in peace enforcement operations. Yet, between 2006 and 2015, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper decided turn away from Canada’s peacekeeping legacy for the sake of managing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, despite Canada’s levels of participation in peacekeeping being at its lowest point, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to fulfill his promise to return Canada to peacekeeping and renew its leadership position. Write an essay discussing Canada’s role in international peacekeeping operations and conflict resolution. Examine whether Canada’s actions were always guided by the desire for world peace. Why is peacekeeping important to Canada? Why was the image of Canadian peacekeeping harmed during the mission to Somalia? Why has Canada’s participation in peacekeeping missions declined since 1992? What happened to the international myth of Canada as a peacekeeping nation? Should Canada, once the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping support operations, renew its role as a peacekeeper? How has the nature of peacekeeping changed? Can Trudeau fulfill his peacekeeping promises?
  6. In June 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its Final Report titled Reclaiming Power and Place. It has been a highly anticipated document but its outcomes have been severely criticized. This project is just one example of a long history of Canada’s ambivalent relationship with Indigenous women. Read the highlights of the report on the missing and murdered women and girls and study the discriminatory aspects of the Indian Act. Write an essay discussing how the Canadian Government’s approach to Indigenous women has been shifting and how the Indigenous peoples of Canada have been struggling for equal rights, care and respect for Indigenous women. By referring to the outcomes of the final report and commentaries by Indigenous people, examine the importance and impact of this inquiry undertaken by the Canadian government. To explore the topic choose ONE example of mistreatment through legislation, and ONE instance of misrepresentation in literature or popular culture. Moreover, provide TWO examples of positive changes in legislation and refer to TWO artistic events that raise awareness on this issue.
  7. Canada is well known for its peacekeeping, compassion and positive solutions to various refugee crises as exemplified, for instance, in the recent case of the acceptance of over 50,000 Syrian refugees fleeing war since 2015. Historically, however, the Canadian government has not always represented such an admirable political stance. Write an essay that overviews the complexity of refugee resettlement in Canada and its political, economic and cultural impact in the past and today. Discuss how Canada’s official policies have supported or discriminated against refugees – provide TWO examples of such policies. Moreover, read and watch the recent and earlier stories of struggle and success shared by refugees. Select TWO stories to demonstrate the newcomers’ contribution to the Canadian society. Take into consideration the fears and hopes of refugees and the challenges they face in the new land. In what ways is the awareness of refugee crises raised and the process of resettlement supported in Canada? Provide ONE example from across artistic endeavors, literature, museum exhibitions or activist movements. Furthermore, reflect on the general public opinion about the intake of refugees by the Canadian government. Is there any opposition to the refugee intake in Canada and what are the major fears related to the problem? If yes, provide ONE example showing such attitudes and concerns.