Comprehending Canada
COIL course


13 June – 24 June 2022 

The Faculty of Arts of the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic invites to a Collaborative Online International Learning course Comprehending Canada organized on 13 June – 24 June 2022.

Students are introduced to the study of Canada and its society, identity, culture, economy, and politics. This course brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts in Canadian Studies whose insights will allow students to gain a better comprehension of Canada. By synthesizing these approaches, we develop a unique and more comprehensive understanding. We explore Canada by looking at its development, its evolving sense of national identity, and the challenges of Canada’s ongoing evolution and survival. We look at Canadian people and how they live in Canada. Subjects covered include: national identity, diversity in Canadian society, race, and ethnicity, Indigenous Studies, Canada-US relations and the border, natural resources, the environment, and the economy, immigration and refugee policies, Canadian narratives as seen in culture, film, and literature.

The first week consists of online activities prerecorded lectures, online discussions, and the production of 5 response papers. In the second week, there will be online real-time activities and there will be one introductory lesson on June 14, when the whole course is launched, presented and the team is introduced.


Jeffrey Ayres – St. Michael´s College (Burlington, U.S.A.)

Jeffrey Ayres is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, USA. He teaches courses and conducts research broadly in the areas of comparative and international political economy, regionalism and global governance and Canadian and North American Politics.

Magdalena Fiřtová – Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic)

Magdalena Fiřtová is an assistant professor at the Institute of International Studies Charles University, Prague. Devoted primarily to Canadian studies, her work focuses on the political economy of North America.

Denisa Krásná – Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic)

Denisa Krásná is a doctoral student at the Department of English and American Studies, Masaryk University, Brno. She specializes in Indigenous studies and literatures and Critical Animal Studies, connecting gendered colonial violence and exploitation of nonhuman animals. Her case studies include Indigenous decolonial movements and literatures in Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii.

Richard Nimijean – Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada)

Richard Nimijean is a member of the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University. His teaching and research focus on the Canadian national identity, the politics of branding Canada, Canada as a global actor, and the field of Canadian Studies.

Tomáš Pospíšil – Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic)

Tomáš Pospíšil works as an associate professor at the Department of English and American Studies, Masaryk University, Brno. His research areas include Canadian feature film, African American screen representation, and the reception of American culture in the Czech lands.


June 14, 14:00 CET
Introductory meeting

June 20, 14:00 and 18:00 CET
National Identity, Diversity, Race, Ethnicity (Nimijean)

June 21, 14:00 and 18:00 CET:
Indigenous Studies, Literature, the Environment (Krásná)

June 22, 14:00 and 18:00 CET:
Canada-US Relations, the Border, Refugees (Ayres)

June 23, 14:00 and 18:00 CET:
The Economy, Natural Resources, Immigration (Fiřtová)

June 24, 14:00 and 18:00 CET:
Culture and Film (Pospíšil

Course Format 

Students will be able to access recorded lectures, readings, and other resources that must be looked at prior to class meetings in a Moodle site (ELF) hosted by Masaryk University. We will then explore subjects in greater detail in twice-daily 90-minute (maximum) meetings. 


Participants who accomplish the course will be granted 10 OZN.


The course is open to BA and MA students. In order to take part in the course, contact Ms. Denisa Krásná, Students will be admitted on a first come, first served basis.

Year 2021/2022

May 30: The (Early) Literature of COVID-19. Session V

May 24, 2022

This open seminar will explore initial literary responses to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, offering participants opportunities to talk through this world-changing event. By the end of the seminar, participants should be able to not only identify but also to interpret and evaluate common features of early COVID literature within and beyond the United States.

American Studies Colloquium Series

June 2: Eat, Migrate, Love: Gastronomic and Sexual Desire as Identity

May 24, 2022

This talk, whose title plays off the Julia Robert’s film “Eat, Pray, Love,” will explore queer films and queer immigrants’ relationships to food as part of the cultural identity, and how the rituals around food preparation and consumption informs their negotiations in the US.

Year 2021/2022

June 8: Sounds of Dune(s): Music-landscaping in Cinema

May 24, 2022

In this workshop we’ll talk about Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and its many adaptations (both real and unrealized), in order to see how music and sound are used to bridge sensory gaps in cinematic experiences, and how to write about such synaesthetic encounters in our research.

Year 2021/2022

May 23: Gender/Sexuality Conference ASC

May 23, 2022

ASC’s Gender/Sexuality Research Group invites all students and faculty members to the first ASC’s Student Conference on gender and sexuality in American studies. We have an exciting day planned, with a keynote by Dr. Richard Reitsma and four panels of student presentations, on everything from feminist theories to representation of trans characters on TV and challenging the norms of masculinity.

American Studies Colloquium Series

May 19: ‘bits of agitation on the body of the whole’: Animals in COVID-19 Literature

May 19, 2022

Given its origins in horseshoe bat populations, the SARS-CoV-2 virus offers many opportunities to re-think our relationships with the nonhuman world around us. In this talk, Raymond Malewitz will explore emerging cultural narratives embodied in COVID poetry and fiction, which tend to reinforce the stiff differences between the human and the nonhuman as physically and conceptually separate from one another.