11-12 czerwca 2015 r. w ŻORACH


Finał konkursu składa się z dwóch części; uczniowie odpowiadają na pytania/ zagadnienia konkursowe oraz przedstawiają prezentację multimedialną przed Komisją konkursową, na zasadach akademickich (niepublicznie).

  1. Egzamin ustny – uczeń odpowiada na 2 wylosowane pytania.
  2. Prezentacja multimedialna w programie PowerPoint na temat „Canadian Values” (10 minut).

Trzy najlepsze prezentacje zostaną, po ogłoszeniu wyników, powtórzone przed publicznością.

W przygotowaniu do konkursu pomogą uczniom materiały z podanej wcześniej bibliografii oraz sugerowanych stron internetowych, jak również inne wiarygodne źródła.




Prezentacja multimedialna


In contrast to American cultural values expressed in the mottolife, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, the early Canadian motto, as defined in the British North America Act, indicates different values that have shaped the country: „peace, order, and good government. Canada was not built as a culture of gunplay and violence typical of the American Wild West. In the Canadian “Mild West” values have been evolving differently. The respect for the law grounded in democratic values, led to the development of a unique federal style of government based on compromise, co-existence and commitment to social justice. Canada developed as a non-violent peaceful nation whose values include freedom (as freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of peaceful assembly), equality (respect for the rights of all people), and respect for cultural differences (recognition and appreciation of cultures and traditions of all Canadians). The statement by Bill Graham, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (2002), encapsulates it all: “[t]he world we want is much like the Canada we want: a sustainable future of shared security and prosperity; of tolerance and respect for diversity; of democracy and the realization of human rights; of opportunity and equal justice for all” (2002). One might add: civic participation, community involvement and cultural sovereignty. Who is responsible for building these values? They are embedded not only in government documents but first and foremost in literary and cultural projects. Writers, artists, critics, historians and politicians have been engaged not only in the process of producing a narrative of Canada as an attractive place for its citizens and a desiring place for many immigrants but also, exercising their freedom, in challenging and exposing idealized mythologies of Canadianness, unveiling and exploring hidden parts of ongoing history, and addressing problems which others fear to touch.

Choose three areas of Canadian culture, be it literature, film, television, visual arts, music, sports, popular culture, history or politics, and examine how Canadian values have been inscribed, advocated, reflected, examined, or challenged and exposed in the selected work, discourses or projects. For your discussion you may select documentaries from National Film board of Canada or CBC docs websites.



Zagadnienia do egzaminu ustnego


Discuss the changing notions of Canadian nationhood as constructed by politicians.


Heritage Minutes is a project of nation-building which aims at presenting a specific vision of Canadianness. Identify it and point out the major general characteristics of this national project. Point to parodies of the Heritage Minutes in such Canadian television programs as “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” or “Royal Canadian Air Farce” ( you may consult two essays by Katarzyna Rukszto: “Up for Sale. The Commodification of Canadian Culture” and “The Other Heritage Minutes: Satirical Reactions to Canadian Nationalism”).


Reflect on the changing notions of Canadian nationhood as constructed by writers. Identify the signifiers of Canadianness proposed by Northrop Frye, Margaret Atwood and Hugh MacLennan. Decide which of the metaphors constitutes a more fitting model for the current understanding of Canadian identity: “Native Pines” (rootedness in place / heroic survival) or “Diasporic Geese” (mobility/ transculturality / transnationality)? Consult E. Sojka’s “Introduction” to (De)Constructing Canadianness. Myth of the Nation and Its Discontents.


Comment on the importance of mythologizing in the process of building nationhood. What features of Canadianness are represented by the RCMP officers as constructed in the mainstream culture media / film/ literature/ etc.?


What is the role of the National Film board of Canada in the construction of Canadian identity? Give three examples of documentaries to support your response.


Discuss the role of landscape painting in the formation of specific narratives of Canadianness. Identify the features of Canadianness as promoted by the Group of Seven. Reflect on the problematic nature of some of these conceptualizations.


What is the significance of the Multiculturalism Act of 1988Bill 93, the Act for the Preservation and Enhancement of Multiculturalism in Canada, in the history of evolving Canadian nationhood?


Why did several groups of writers, artists and intellectuals question Canadian multicultural policies? Discuss the arguments against the early policies of the Multiculturalism Act of 1988.


Discuss selected contributions of Indigenous people to the culture of Canada (e.g. artists, filmmakers, writers, etc.). Choose two examples.


What is an Indian Act? What kind of impact does it have on the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada? What does the Idle No More Movement and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada tell us about the present state of dialogue between both cultures?


Discuss the role of geography in the formation of identity. Reflect on the statement that “Canadianness was defined by way of northerness and wilderness.” Consider the attitudes of Indigenous people to nature and contrast them with the dominant culture perceptions of the natural habitat.


Canada’s strong presence in the Arctic today is due in large part to the contributions of the Inuit, who continue to inhabit the North. Show the contributions of the Inuit people to the culture of Canada (film, literature or music).


Discuss the representation of Indigenous people (images of “Indians”) in popular culture.


Discuss the importance of the killer whale and salmon in the art of Northwest Coast First Nations. Select two works and comment on their distinctive qualities.


Discuss the role of storytelling in the preservation of the Inuit traditional knowledge. For this purpose, consider two legends widely known to Inuit across the Canadian Arctic.


Alice Munro is the first Canadian writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. What features of her writing are hailed by critics and what aspects of her texts do you find most engaging? If you are not familiar with Munro’s writing – read one or two stories available online.


Select two Canadian Aboriginal paintings (or the work of two Aboriginal artists) and discuss their distinctive qualities as contrasted with the national visual art project of the Group of Seven painters.


In Canada landscape painting has been used historically to construct a distinctive vision of Canadian national identity and it was the Group of Seven painters who has been hailed as a national group of artists. Discuss their role in the formation of specific mythologies of Canadianness. What are they? Do you find these conceptualizations problematic? Are you familiar with any parodies of the Group of Seven paintings?


The arrival of Europeans and their conviction of superiority of European culture had an influence on Indigenous peoples. One of the aims of white settlers was to “civilize” and assimilate Aboriginal people into dominant white society. Discuss the practices aimed at indigenous people used by white settlers to achieve their goal.


Discuss the contributions of a selected minority group in Canadian culture (African, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, German, Mennonite, etc.). You can choose to discuss the accomplishments of politicians, scientists, artists, etc.


Discuss the myth of heroic, benevolent and upright Mounties as it was constructed in popular Canadian literature and film. What features of Canadianness do the RCMP officers reveal in the dominant culture representations of the police force?


Some critics claim  that small Canadian towns represented the Canadian nation in miniature. Do you agree with such a statement with reference to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s writing? Does the writer represent a broad spectrum of immigrants to Canada? What are the ethnic, religious and cultural groups she examines in her writing? Is multiculturality of Canadian society an important part of her texts?


Public museums are the primary places of producing national identity. Discuss the role of museums in the constructions of narratives of Canadianness. For your discussion, choose two examples of museums (e.g. Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Museum of History, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, National Gallery of Canada, Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canadian War Museum, Canadian Museum of Civilization, etc.). Reflect on the mission of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (2014) that is “not only a national hub for human rights learning and discovery, but a new era of global human rights leadership.”


Residential schools in Canada were perceived by the Canadian government as a tool of civilizing the Aboriginal population. Discuss the problem of residential schooling and its legacy.


Why is WWI considered to be one of the most significant events in Canadian history?


Hugh McLennan, a Canadian novelist, in the 1940s used the phrase “two solitudes” to describe the cultural and political life of Canada. How do you understand the concept? Is it still valid?


Explore Canadian humour as a distinctive feature of Canadianness. Is Canadian humour indeed distinctive or unique? How does it differ, or does it differ at all, from American / British or Polish humour?


How do critics define Glen Gould’s Canadianness? Discuss the topic on the basis of David Howes’s “Glenn Gould’s Contrapuntal Constitution.”


What do you know about the Polish immigration to Canada? What are the contributions of Polish people to the country?


What do you know about the Japanese immigration to Canada? Discuss the contributions of Japanese people to the country.


Discuss the role of heritage sites in the process of constructing Canadian identity and values. Choose two heritage sites that you consider most crucial for this process.


Reflect on the historically changing notion of Canadian citizenship, its restrictions for specific groups of immigrants and modified eligibility rules, including the most recent reforms in view of rising terrorism and militarization of the world.


What is the contribution of Ewa Stachniak to Canadian literature?


One set of questions will relate to various aspects of Canadian culture, geography, literature, arts, politics, film, music, etc. which the candidate finds most interesting / attractive / appealing.

For instance:

Which Canadian city, region, province, territory, politician, historical figure, artist, writer, filmmaker , film, actor, painter, painting, musician, composer, singer, sportsman, etc. do you find most important/ engaging / interesting/ impressive/ appealing / compelling, when you look at them as representing/ constructing/ challenging or questioning selected features/ narratives/ mythologies of Canadianness? Candidates are expected to show an awareness of the changing nature of national narratives.

Substantiate your response with a brief description of distinctive features of your selection and fully justify the reasons for your choice. Candidates are not required to possess a detailed knowledge of facts to support their opinions but will need to demonstrate critical thinking skills in the process of justifying them.

Examples of questions:

  • Name your favourite Canadian historical figure and show his/her role in the history of building /shaping Canadian values.
  • Discuss a selected Canadian film or the work of a filmmaker that made the biggest impression on you and show how it inscribes itself in the project of Canadianness – either constructing or questioning it.

  • What Canadian writer does appeal to you the most and why? Why would you recommend his / her writing to your friend? What is Canadian about the writing? Does this question relating to nationhood matter at all?