Students can take additional courses offered from Charles University’s East and Central European Studies Program. These courses have a mixture of other American students and some European students. The majority of the following elective courses have been approved for UM equivalencies. Courses with the parenthetical “Elective” notation do not have direct UM equivalents and will come in as elective credit.
Dr. Hnat and students at the farewell party
1. Global Crises (ECO 499)
Dr. Pavel Hnat
This course combines application of international economics and international political economy to the processes of globalization and current economic downturn. It explores different ways in which current globalization changes the position of different actors of the global economic system as well as the balance between state and market and their interactions. The course is divided into three main parts. The first part seeks to provide students with an introduction and comparison of the principal actors of the current global economy. States and their regional integrations (RTAs), international organizations (e.g. UN, WTO, IMF, WB), and TNCs will be introduced and analysed through a comparative perspective. The second part provides students with the long-term trends of the global economy, i.e. with globalisation, global mobility of goods, services, capital and labor as well as with a comparative analysis of past crises. Globalization influence on balances within the global governance system will be stressed. The third part describes the causes and consequences of the current economic crisis as well as the current reaction on different levels of the global and economic governance (states, G20, IMF, WTO). Changing balance between states and other actors of the global economy (TNCs, RTAs, international organizations) will be another main study of this third part.
Dr. Hnat is an assistant lecturer in the World Economy Department of the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Economics in Prague. He has published many articles in his research areas of governance in the context of a globalized economy, society and regionalism, multilateralism, and recent economic developments.
2. Jewish History in Central and Eastern Europe (JUS 401)
Dr. Gaelle Vassogne
This course focuses on Jewish history in Central and Eastern Europe with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. The primary goals of the course are to study the political, cultural and economic situation of the Jews in Europe and analyze the different forms of Jewish cultural and political identity. Special attention will be paid to the history of Central and Eastern European countries at the beginning of the 20th century when Prague was home to the diverse ethnic groups and cultures of Czechs, Germans and Jews. Students will see how this history is part of the history of Central Europe as a whole and grasp the differences between the situation of the Jews in the different countries of the region. This course will also spend time understanding the context that lead to the Holocaust and its dramatic consequences. Dr. Galle Vassogne, a French historian, is the author of the recently published book Max Brod in Prague: Identity and Mediation.
3. Czech and European Art and Architecture (ARH 180)
Dr. Josef Zaruba
This course is an introductory survey of styles, trends and movements focusing on the fine arts and architecture in Prague and the Czech Republic and how European influences have affected their development. It covers Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque times, up to Modernism and the contemporary art scene. Special attention is given to the unique characteristics and achievements of Czech art (Prague Castle, Baroque churches, Czech Cubism) and the most glorious periods in the history of Czech Lands (era of Charles IV, Rudolf II). Certain particular pieces of art that represent the époque or style will be presented and we will analyze the details, historical context, iconography and formal qualities that represent the individual style. The course will also focus on selective facts on important artists and movements that illustrate typical features of a certain time period. By studying detailed information about a particular piece, the student will obtain a good insight to the history of Fine Arts as an academic discipline.Tours, field trips and visits to museums are a substantial part of the course. Students will gain an understanding of the different historical styles presented in the classroom and then have the opportunity to explore them first-hand by walking through the narrow streets of Prague. By examining the history of art and architecture as a consequence of historical events and movements, students will acquire a critical lens for viewing and understanding the arts that will benefit them throughout their lifetime. Dr. Josef Zaruba has been a professor at ECES since 2009. In addition to his time spent at Charles University he has also taught Music History at the USAC college Prague and Art History at the Charles University.
4. Contemporary Czech Culture, Art, Music and Literature: Urban Semiotics (ARH 210)
Dr. Blanka Maderova
The 1989 Velvet Revolution that ended Communist rule in the Czech Republic not only changed the way people were governed, but also sparked a transformation of Czech society and culture. This course looks at how the political and historical impact of this event was internalized by society, particularly at the grassroots level, and will explore post-Communist movements as they are expressed through the visual arts, music, and literature. This societal shift will be further examined by analyzing the idea of “mainstream” and “alternative” culture, new media and cultural codes. Students will acquire the theoretical tools necessary for understanding how art and performance affect the contemporary Czech society. The course will acquaint students with the contemporary Czech art scene from three different perspectives. First, the course will pursue how Czech art and music are connected with activism, minority groups and mainstream culture. The second focus will be placed on how to “read” contemporary urban performances, literature and works of art. How and why do performances address and fascinate their readers? What value-hierarchies and culture-changing signs do they produce? Thirdly, the course will familiarize students with the notions of performance art, digital media, counterculture, mass culture and show their impact on Czech individuals and society. The course includes field trips to art exhibitions, concerts and performances. Dr. Blanka Maderova has completed her doctoral studies at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague in American Studies and Literature, as well as, Philosophy. Her current research projects include Czech and American counter-culture (Iva Bittova, Joan Baez, G. Stein, Zuzana Navarova) and Gender and Performative theory, identity and performance: semiotics in art and culture (Music as Social Life, Minority identities in Czech and American context).
5. Romanticism and National Identity in Central Europe (ENG 350)
Dr. Martin Prochazka
This course aims to explore the origins and different forms of Romanticism in Central European cultures. Students will be exposed to representative works of twentieth-century Central European literature. For many Central European nations, Romanticism was a decisive cultural influence that shaped their emancipation movements in the nineteenth century. Organic models of community based on the affinities between nature, culture and language became the foundation of nationalistic ideologies. The upsurge of nationalism gave birth to grand narratives of national history, and created sharp divides in multilingual and multiethnic societies. The outcome of these developments was a deep and protracted crisis of many Central European nations in the twentieth century, affecting the best works of their cultures. Dr. Martin Prochazka is the head of the Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at Charles University, as well as, Chair of the Board of the Ph.D. program English and American Literature. He is the author of Romantismus a osobnost(Romanticism and Personality, 1996), a critical study of English romantic aesthetics, Coleridge and Byron, Transversals (2007), an interpretation of Romanticism as the first pluralistic project of modern culture and Ruins in the New World (2012) a theoretical study of the functions of ruins in American history and culture.
6. Prague: The Story of a Central European City (HIS 396)
Dr. Petr Roubal
Across national boundaries, Central European cities share many aspects of their past and present. Due to its geopolitical location, Prague was the starting point of many European historical events. The course will use the city of Prague as the focal point for understanding broader issues in Central European history and politics, such as the rise of nationalism, construction of empires, urbanization and modernization. Each class discussion will be accompanied by a related field-trip that will give the students first-hand experience. The students will visit both tourist magnets, such as the Old Jewish Cemetery, but also sites that are not accessible to the public, such as the Presidential Office State Rooms or the derelict Communist Strahov Stadium. The course will also include two full-day mandatory field trips to Prague neighborhood. Dr. Petr Roubal completed his doctoral studies at Central European University, History Department, in Comparative History. He is currently a researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History at the Czech Academy of Sciences.
7. Language, Cultural and Social Cognition (PSY 276)
Dr. Eva Filippova
This course introduces students to selected topics centered on the relationship among social cognition (i.e., folk psychology, theory of mind), language and culture. In spite of its cross-disciplinary scope, its chief focus is on questions of human development. It is designed both for students in arts and the sciences and will be run as a combination of lectures and seminars. The lectures will be closely tied to the readings but will often go beyond them. The seminars offer an opportunity to discuss the readings in detail and to raise questions arising from both the readings and lectures. The objective of the course is twofold: first, it gives an overview of the interconnectedness of language, culture and social reasoning, with a special focus on human ontogeny. Secondly it provides an informal setting for sharing one’s ideas, discussing opinions with colleagues and developing new angles for viewing the problematic. Students will develop skills in reading studies using different research approaches and methodologies and foster their abilities to engage in an academic dialogue. Dr. Eva Filippova completed her doctoral studies in Applied Cognitive Science Department of Human Development & Applied Psychology at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada.
8. Students needing a Marketing elective for the Marketing major or minor can take one of the following classes to receive credit for MKT 499:
- Marketing in Central and Eastern Europe or International Marketing Communications
9. Czech and Slovak Cinema from the 1950s to Present: Politics, Visuality, and Experimentation (CIM 407)
Dr. Nicholas Hudac
Bounded by the Germanic Empires to the West, the Russian Empire and Soviet Union to the East, Hungary and the former Ottoman holdings to the South, the Czech and Slovak lands have long been a site of conflict and creation. This course will explore the incredibly rich cinematic tradition of thought provoking and entertaining films produced in the areas of the Czech Republic (the primary area of focus), and Slovakia from the years following World War II up until the beginning of the 21st century. In addition to watching films, we will also be discussing cinema theory and approaches to “reading” films, not only as movies, but also as multi-faceted cultural artifacts. To this end, our readings will contain primary source materials on cinema history, historical research, film theory, and literature intended to broaden our understanding of Czech and Slovak culture, cinematic and otherwise.
While this syllabus gives a fairly accurate portrayal of the material we will cover, additional material may be assigned (and assigned material may be dropped or altered) at any time as the semester progresses, in order to better suit the needs and interests of the class.
10. Art Photography and Genius Loci (Elective)
Dr. Jan Stary
A one-semester experimental course that will combine some theoretical aspects of photography and its aesthetic and cognitive value as a unique art form with practical exercises and authentic experiential outdoor activities. Not primarily conceived as a course in the history of Czech Photography, the course will provide a basic orientation in the Czech photographic art of the 20th century. The focus is not so much on the techniques, but rather on the styles and how photography as an exquisite artistic medium expresses (or at times suppresses) the individual bias, aesthetics, period style, and the societal and cultural boundaries. The course will also marginally examine the age-old debate about the documentary value versus the artistic value of photography, and similarly the argument on the nude photography versus pornography.
11. Czech Culture and Civilization Course: A Field Trip into Czech Psyche (Elective)
Dr. Ivana Dolezalova, Pavel Sladek
This interdisciplinary course is designed as a unique insight into Czech/Slovak history, politics and arts and should provide the students with serious data and information as well as with “lighter” reflection on certain specifics of the development of the country in the heart of Europe. Students will not be limited to listening to lectures and attending screenings in classrooms only, they should understand that Prague and other locations in the Czech Republic will give them a rare opportunity to study and form their own opinion in public spaces all over the country. Learning through interactive seminars, visual arts, top-quality documentaries and visiting various artists’ studios will enable the participants to gain an interesting experience on all levels. The course is structured into thirteen weekly sessions, 180 minutes each. Students will write four short mini-essays after each of the larger blocks as per the detailed syllabus bellow, and a final test. The course is open to students of history, sociology, political science, literature and visual arts as well as to anybody who is interested, eager to learn and has an open mind. Since Czechs are well-known for their specific humor – we shall also have lots of fun!
12. European Languages
Beginners: Students may enroll in a semester-long Czech language course, “Czech Language for Everyday Use.” If five or more UPrague students are interested in forming a beginning-level class, this can be arranged for Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian.
Advanced: Students must already be proficient in the target language in order to participate. Interested students will only be placed in advanced language classes if they can pass the entrance exam, which will be administered before departure at the Department of Modern Languages. Advanced language classes are taught entirely in the target language and students are expected to interact with their professor and classmates in that target language. English will not be spoken.