General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Multicultural Canada
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Dagmara Drewniak
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Professor
Faculty Faculty of English
Semester 2024/2025 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 15-ALS-AMU-PIE-11



Module aim (aims)

This module will be devoted to the study and discussion of the most important issues from Canadian politics, history, culture, and literature as well as a few literary texts by Canadian authors in order to give students interested in the widely understood field of literary and cultural studies (as well as others) a possibility to supplement and broaden their knowledge. The overall aim is to familiarize students with the historical, cultural and literary tradition of multicultural Canada. This concept of multicultural Canada is going to be rendered through a selection of works which vary in style, subject-matter and origin of their authors, thus, allowing students to appreciate the diversity of Canada.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

No prerequisites


Week 1: What is Canada? – syllabus, expectations, requirements. Introduction: You Know You are a Canadian When, Janice Kulyk Keefer “Voyage,” Billy Collins “Canada”.


Week 2: Canadian history and culture: “Canada: Regions and History”: Martin Kuester (ed.) Canadian Studies: A Literary Approach. Bochum: Universitatsverlag, 1995: 9-15.


Week 3: Political system in Canada; The USA, UK , France and Canada – relations.


Week 4: Canadian history and culture cont.: First Nations and Native Canadians; Canadian Multiculturalism Act;


Week 5: Criticism of multiculturalism: Neil Bissoondath Selling Illusions…Toronto: Penguin Books, 1994, fragments: “Beginnings”28-44, “The Simplification of Culture” 78-97.




Week 6: Canadian myths: Daniel Francis “Divided We Stand: The Myth of Heroism,” “The Ideology of the Canoe: The Myth of Wildreness”.




Week 7: Postmodernism and Postcolonialism: Linda Hutcheon “’Circling the downspout of Empire’ Post-Colonialism and Postmodernism”, Donna Bennett “English Canada’s Postcolonial Complexities”.




Week 8: Stereotypes: Margaret Atwood Survival A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature ch. 1.; criticism of the concept.




Week 9: Classics: Margaret Atwood Surfacing – defining Canadian identity, symbolic portrait of Canada, internal divisions.




Week 10: Multiculturalism: Japanese-Canadians: Joy Kogawa Obasan (fragments), Joy Kogawa “What Do I Remember of the Evacuation,” Roy Miki “September 22” silencing the past, trauma, WWII, Japanese-Canadian relations.




Week 11: Indian/Sri Lankan-Canadian Autobiographical minority: Michael Ondaatje Running in the Family – autobiographical narrative, problems with genres (biotext, autobiography, travelogue, postmodern novel), the idea of history.




Week 12: Black-Canadians: George Elliot Clarke “Look homeward, Exile,” “Blank sonnet”




Week 13: Continuation Dionne Brand fragm. of “No language is Neutral,” “Hard against the soul,” Dionne Brand “St. Mary’s Estate”




Week 14: Polish-Canadians: Eva Stachniak short stories: “A Sign,” “Have you Seen a Fern Bloom?”, “Marble Heroes,” “Fatherland”




Week 15: Conclusions.

Reading list

Bennett, Donna and Russell Brown (eds.) 2002. A New Anthology of Canadian Literature in English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kamboureli, Smaro (ed.) 1996. Making a Difference. Canadian Multicultural

Literature. Toronto – New York – Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sojka, Eugenia (ed.). 2007. (De)Constructing Canadianness. Myth of the Nation and

Its Discontents. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego.