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 following elective courses specifically meet the needs and requirements of the UPrague program:
Dr. Hnat and students at the farewell party
1. Global Crises (Economics)
Dr. Pavel Hnat
This class helps students understand the current global economic environment and crisis. Students will learn about European integration from an outside and an inside perspective, as well as explore the problems besieging the economies of Eastern Europe and Asia. 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 (History)
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 Central and Eastern 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. Dr. Galle Vassogne, a French historian, is the author of the recently published book Max Brod in Prague: Identity and Mediation.
3. Hollywood and Europe (Film Studies)
Dr. Richard Nowell
How has Hollywood made films attractive to Europeans? How have European critics, governments, and film industries responded to Hollywood? What do European audiences think about Hollywood? Questions like these are broached in Hollywood and Europe, a course offering insights into the transnational relationships that have existed between Hollywood and Europe. Students will analyze the impact on- and off-screen of Hollywood’s actions and its product, taking into account films such as The Bourne Identity (2002) and Mamma Mia! (2009) as well as consider the political, economic, social, and cultural circuits through which they flow – from production to consumption. Therefore, in addition to analyzing the content and themes of mainstream films, students will pay close attention to cross-media phenomena such as stars and marketing campaigns, and documents such as tourist board press releases and audience interviews. In doing so, Hollywood and Europe will invite students to develop key issues concerning “cultural imperialism,” “Americanization,” “globalization,” and “the national.” Dr. Richard Nowell teaches American cinema at Charles University in Prague. His research on American Cinema has been published in leading international Film Studies journals, and he is the author of Blood Money: A History of the First Teen Slasher Film.
4. Czech and European Art and Architecture (Art History)
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 of Czech history. 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.
5. Contemporary Czech Culture, Art, Music and Literature: Urban Semiotics (Art History)
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 includes field trips to art exhibitions, concerts and performances.
6. Romanticism and National Identity in Central Europe (Literature)
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.
7. 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.
For information about other elective courses, contact the IEEP Office.