Multiculturalism, The Final Frontier? Conference of the Canadian Studies Student Circle


Organized by Canadian Studies Student Circle,
at Canadian Studies Centre, Institute of English Cultures and Literatures,
University of Silesia,
MAY 14TH 2014,  Sosnowiec, Poland




In the 1960's one of the most famous Canadian actors, William Shatner, paved the way towards ethnic diversity on American television, leading a multicultural cast in the cult TV series Star Trek. Fifty years later, Gene Roddenberry's Utopia is reflected by the Canadian policy of multiculturalism. Not only is the framework of multiculturalism employed in Canada to describe the diverse composition of its population but – as a social ideal – it also places emphasis upon the growing Canadian ethno-racial and ethno-cultural pluralism functioning as the Canadian way of life.
More precisely, what is brought to the fore is the possibility of integration of members of diverse ethnic groups into mainstream Canadian society, simultaneously encouraging equal participation in social and cultural production, while at the same time maintaining attachment to their cultural background and taking pride in their ancestry. Consequently, at the heart of the Canadian social mosaic is the belief in inter-ethnic along inter-racial harmony, stressing a mutual respect for social differences as well as precluding the mutual exclusion of individual needs for fulfillment and ethnic group cohesion.
As a result, whilst Canadian popular culture has been dominated by Anglophone consumption and products, closely linked with US-dominated global culture, multiculturalism has put pressure upon Canadians to launch into developing ethnic approaches popular in regional, ethnic senses. Literature and especially soft media – characterized by a more eclectic range in their content than print, such as drama, community affairs, music, art, and religion – provide minorities with a more fertile ground for cultural maintenance and a multi- layered identity capable of long-term survival, proving that popular culture can serve as a prime vehicle for cultural transmission and major manifestation of a particular culture – one that bridges the gap between the world of academia and more layman approaches to cultural consumption. Nonetheless, Canadian mass media is still dominated by instances of American popular culture, where representations of diversity are highly problematized, and home entertainment industry has yet to develop truly visible strategies of reflecting the country's multicultural mosaic. The aim of the Conference is to analyze both the extent of implementation of the ideal of multiculturalism into Canadian mass media, and the issues raised by questionable representations of ethnic and racial minorities in Canadian popular culture.

We particularly encourage contributions (15-20 minutes) that deal specifically with the main topic of the conference. Papers developed from such presentations will be reviewed and considered for post-conference publication. Presentations may concern the following categories (themes):

  • Indigenous approaches to popular culture in Canada;
  • representations of hybridity and multiculturalism in Canadian speculative and science fiction literature and TV shows;
  • Others and aliens—narratives of encounter in Canadian speculative and science fiction;
  • race and hybridity in Canadian variety programs and reality TV;
  • multiculturalism and the news;
  • representation of hybridity and multiculturalism in daytime TV/soap operas;
  • approaches to multiculturalism in children's TV and literature;
  • influences of Canadian multiculturalism on the music industry;
  • new media and the transcultural dialogue
  • comic books as venues for exploring the issues of multiculturalism/hybridity
  • stand-up comedy in the context of the debate on multiculturalism in modern-day Canada

Paper submission details:
(1) Please, send a 250-word proposal for a 15-20-minute presentation (in English), explaining the overall focus. Include your name and institute.
(2) Proposals should be submitted via email to:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(3) Conference fee: PLN 70
(4) Deadline for abstracts: 2 March 2014
(5) Conference website:
(6) About Canadian Studies Centre and Canadian Studies Student Circle:

Conference organizers:

  • Rafał Madeja, M.A. (CSSC Supervisor, Head of the Organizing Committee)
  • Agnieszka Podruczna, M.A. (Conference Secretary)
  • Kinga Kowalska, B.A. (Head of CSSC)

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Wydział Filologiczny Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
ul. Gen. S. Grota-Roweckiego 5
41-205 Sosnowiec