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Department of American Culture

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Department of American Culture was established in October 2013 as a center for studies of the merging of the worlds of culture and politics on both American continents. It is an interdisciplinary unit, gathering sociologists, political scientists, culture studies researchers, film and media scholars.
Scholarly interests of its researchers are concentrated on the evolution, diversity, and multidimensionality of the American cultures with a special emphasis on the United States and Canada.
Research and didactic activities of the Department include issues associated with American and Canadian education system, film, theater, media and audiovisual culture, languages and language policy, and political rhetoric.

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Main research areas

  • American and Canadian film
  • history of American and Canadian theater
  • American and Canadian media and audiovisual culture
  • American public television
  • American myths and their reception
  • languages and language policy of the US and Canada
  • education in the US and Canada
  • political rhetoric in the US

Current research projects

Documentation of Activities Undertaken by the Polish Diaspora in Toronto for the Benefit of Poland and Polish Immigrants in the 80s and 90s of the 20th Century

Description: The aim of the project is to create and make available on the Internet website of the Canadian Polish Research Institute and the interested libraries in Poland a repository of materials showing the achievements and diverse activities undertaken by the Polish ethnic group living in the Toronto agglomeration (Greater Toronto Area) after the martial law was declared in Poland.
 

Effect of the project: Organization and digitalization of the most valuable collections of the Canadian Polish Research Institute and other materials that may be found and are associated with the activities of the Polish Diaspora in Toronto in the 80s and 90s of the 20th century.

Source of financing: Grant from the Senate of Republic of Poland for a public task of cooperation with the Polish Diaspora and Poles abroad in 2016.
Head of the project: Prof. dr hab. Anna Reczyńska.
Members of the project team: Dr Tomasz Soroka, dr Marcin Gabryś, dr Magdalena Paluszkiewicz-Misiaczek, mgr Karolina Pietrzok.
Duration of the project: 2016-2017.

Canada as a Selective Power. The Role and International Position of Canada after 1989

Description: The aim of the project is to determine the actual place and role of Canada in the international relations after the Cold War. Its most important goal is to ascertain whether the international position of Canada meets the criteria of the definition of a selective/specialized/elective power – building its position as a power based on energy, technology, or non-material factors.

Effect of the project: Creating tools and methodologies for determining the new indicators of the power status in contemporary international relations. A tangible effect of the project will be the publication of an English-language monograph.
 

Source of financing: Research grant from the National Science Centre (SONATA, No. UMO-2011/03/D/HS5/01123)
Head of the project: Dr Marcin Gabryś.
Members of the project team: Dr Tomasz Soroka, dr Wojciech Michnik.
Duration of the project: 2012-2017.

Poland in the Transatlantic Relations – Tools, Perspectives, and Significance of Poland in Shaping the Transatlantic Debate

Description: The primary goal of the project involved the examination of the changing scope of Poland’s participation in Transatlantic relations. Coinciding with recent global transformations, the political and economic priorities of both Europe and the US have changed as well. This in turn has resulted in the redistribution of opportunities and challenges in Transatlantic relations. The project also aims to establish new ways of determining the role and perspectives of Central and Eastern Europe in the Transatlantic debate.

Effect of the project: Identification of thematic areas of future Transatlantic cooperation and methods of improvement of the effectiveness of its mechanisms.

Source of financing: Research grant from the National Science Centre (SYMFONIA, No. UMO-2011/03/D/HS5/01116).
Head of the project: Dr hab. Małgorzata Zachara.
Members of the project team: Dr hab. Garry Robson, Professor of the Jagiellonian University, dr Patrick Vaughan, Professor of the Jagiellonian University, dr Jolanta Szymkowska-Bartyzel.
Duration of the project: 2011-2016.

Faces of America. Essays on the Society, Culture, and Politics of the United States of America

Description: The aim of the project is to publish a collection of papers written by young researchers affiliated with the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora. These papers are focused on various aspects of the American life, including: ethnic studies, music, popular culture, church-state relations, electoral politics, and rhetoric.

Effect of the project: Publication of a collection of papers.

Source of financing: Donation for young scholars (U-35) from the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University.
Head of the project: Dr Rafał Kuś, dr Paulina Napierała.
Members of the project team: Dr Maciej Turek, mgr Magdalena Matłoka, mgr Dawid Przywalny, mgr Maciej Smółka.
Duration of the project: 2015-2016.

Political Rhetoric of Richard Nixon

Description: The aim of the project is to publish a monograph containing a rhetorical analysis of the most significant speeches of the 37th President of the United States, delivered during his lengthy political career. The publication includes also a selection of Polish translations of Nixon’s most important orations.

Effect of the project: Publication of a monograph.

Source of financing: Donation for young scholars (U-35) from the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University.
Head of the project: Dr Rafał Kuś.
Duration of the project: 2015-2016.

Completed research projects

Negotiating Cultural Differences in the Digital Communication Era

Description: The project was focused on the changes in the sphere of global communication, which had a significant impact on the possibilities, perspectives, and the nature of intercultural encounters. Transformations in the sphere of communication technology result in changes of the mechanisms of intercultural communication. The nature and the results of these changes were the focal point of this project.

Effect of the project: The research examined the impact of factors associated with the new communication environment on the state, mechanisms, and perspectives of carrying out an effective intercultural dialogue.

Source of financing: Research grant from the National Science Centre (HARMONIA, No. UMO-2012/04/M/HS6/00517).
Head of the project: Dr hab. Garry Robson, Professor of the Jagiellonian University.
Members of the project team: Dr hab. Małgorzata Zachara, dr Jolanta Szymkowska-Bartyzel, dr Agnieszka Stasiewicz-Bieńkowska, David Gunkel, Ann Gunkel.
Duration of the project: 2012-2014.

Peace, Order, and Good Government. The Most Important Issues of Contemporary Canadian Politics

Description: The aim of the project was to analyze the key problems shaping both the domestic and foreign politics of Canada from the post-war times to the beginning of the 21st century. The goal of the project was also to show to what extent the eponymous formula of “peace, order, and good government”, derived from the first Canadian constitution – the British North America Act of 1867 – is still relevant and realized in the politics of contemporary Canada. The project was also designed to determine the effectiveness of decisions taken by Canadian politicians.

Effect of the project: The publication: M. Kijewska-Trembecka (ed.), “Canada at the Turn of the 20th and 21th Century. Politics, Society, Education” (Księgarnia Akademicka  2013).

Source of financing: Research grant issued by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (No. 4593/B/H03/2011/40).
Head of the project: Dr hab. Marta Kijewska-Trembecka.
Members of the project team: Dr hab. Radosław Rybkowski, dr Tomasz Soroka, dr Marcin Gabryś.
Duration of the project: 2011-2013.

The Role of Canada in the Transformation of the British Empire. The Analysis of Canadian-British Relations in the Interwar Period

Description: The aim of the project was to publish a monograph depicting the process of the multidimensional political emancipation of the Dominion of Canada, shown from the angle of the mechanisms of functioning and transformation of the British Empire. In the dissertation, two main research problems were discussed, e.g. the Canadian policy towards Great Britain and the British Empire, and the interwar relations between Canada and the United States.

Effect of the project: Monograph “The Role of Canada in the Transformation of the British Empire. The Analysis of Canadian-British Relations in the Interwar Period” (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego 2014).
Source of financing: Donation for young scholars (U-35) from the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University.
Head of the project: Dr Tomasz Soroka.
Duration of the project: 2013-2014.

Academic Activities

Organized conferences and workshops:

  • Management of the Faculty, training-workshops (in cooperation with the Institute of Professional Training), Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw (November 24th, 2016).
  • Back to the Game? Poland in Transatlantic Relations after 1989, international conference, Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora, Jagiellonian University, Kraków (March 20, 2015).
  • Negotiating Cultural Differences in the Digital Communication Era, international conference, Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora, Jagiellonian University, Kraków (October 2-3, 2013).

 

Also:

  • Participation in academic conferences organized by the students of the Institute, including moderation of conference panels in the annual Days of American Culture and the Canadian Culture Festival.
  • Participation in discussions with students (including the regularly organized “Fireside Chats”, dedicated to current socio-political problems of both Americas).
  • Organization of guest lectures for students and scholars of the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University.
  • 2015: Katarzyna Kolenda-Zaleska, journalist.
  • 2013: prof. Zygmunt Bauman, professor emeritus (University of Leeds).