Czech Republic Prague 763285693

What's Included?

Highlights

Pre Departure Services

Advising

@api Online System

Orientation Materials and Resources

Access to International Phone Plans

API Alumni Network

Social Networking

Scholarship Opportunities

On Site Services

Airport Reception

On-Site Orientation

Housing

Monthly Cultural Activities

Excursions (overnight, day, international)

Resident Director

Tuition

Transit Pass

Medical and Life Insurance

Re-Entry Services

Re-Entry Materials and Support

Post-Program Evaluation

Transcript

Alumni Network and Global Leadership Academy

View all opportunities and amenities

Application Requirements

  • 3.0 G.P.A. (2.7 G.P.A. considered on a case-by-case basis)
  • Open to college sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Entry requirements: valid passport with student visa
  • Supplemental application requirements are solicited upon receipt of API application
  • University Approval Form

API students participate in several excursions per session designed to help familiarize them with areas of their host city, country, and the surrounding region. The following is a listing of all excursions for API Prague programs. All excursions are subject to change.

  • Krakow

    Poland’s former capital has always been famous for its beauty, charm, and culture. Structurally, Krakow survived WWII virtually untouched with elegant squares, charming castles, a historic Jewish district, and museums. Southwest of Krakow is Oswiecim (Auschwitz). From 1940 until 1945, more than 1.5 million people lost their lives in this Nazi concentration camp. Students will tour the camp and learn about this tragic episode in world history.

  • Karlovy Vary

    Echoing the opulence of the golden days of the European aristocracy, Karlovy Vary is one of the most beautiful spa towns in the world. Take a walk along the Teplá River enjoying the elegant colorful architecture and sampling the local healing waters at one of the colonnades with springs. Czech extra: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the oldest film festivals in the world, is held in the city annually and Karlovy Vary also served as a backdrop for 2006 James Bond film "Casino Royale". The luxurious Grand Hotel Pupp became "Hotel Splendid" in the movie and also served as one of the inspirations for Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

  • Český Krumlov:

    A UNESCO World Heritage site, Český Krumlov has already become a major stop for travelers in the Czech Republic. One can still get a quiet look at this renaissance town if you choose to stay there overnight and go exploring after the day-trippers have left. You can wander the tiny streets in the center, check out the palace with all of its Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo trappings, and the bear moat (yes – a moat with bears in it) that surrounds it, or go rafting on the river running through the town center. You’ll see an amazing variety of architecture from the 14th to 17th century, all packed into this tiny historic town.

  • Budapest

    Budapest is Hungary’s capital and largest city. The river Danube flows through Budapest on its way to the Black Sea, dividing the city in two. In fact, Buda and Pest were officially united in 1873. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, but its capital retains an Eastern mystique, with twisty old streets lined with beautiful architecture. Today Budapest is bustling with activity. The language will fascinate you, the nightlife buzzes, the classical music scene is impressive, and the Hungarian people are warm and welcoming. Budapest’s famous thermal baths are a “must-do” for the traveler. Due to Budapest’s stunning beauty, many tourists believe it to be one of the hidden treasures of Central Europe.

  • Krakow

    Poland’s former capital has always been famous for its beauty, charm, and culture. Structurally, Krakow survived WWII virtually untouched with elegant squares, charming castles, a historic Jewish district, and museums. Southwest of Krakow is Oswiecim (Auschwitz). From 1940 until 1945, more than 1.5 million people lost their lives in this Nazi concentration camp. Students will tour the camp and learn about this tragic episode in world history.

  • Karlovy Vary

    Echoing the opulence of the golden days of the European aristocracy, Karlovy Vary is one of the most beautiful spa towns in the world. Take a walk along the Teplá River enjoying the elegant colorful architecture and sampling the local healing waters at one of the colonnades with springs. Czech extra: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the oldest film festivals in the world, is held in the city annually and Karlovy Vary also served as a backdrop for 2006 James Bond film "Casino Royale". The luxurious Grand Hotel Pupp became "Hotel Splendid" in the movie and also served as one of the inspirations for Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

  • Český Krumlov:

    A UNESCO World Heritage site, Český Krumlov has already become a major stop for travelers in the Czech Republic. One can still get a quiet look at this renaissance town if you choose to stay there overnight and go exploring after the day-trippers have left. You can wander the tiny streets in the center, check out the palace with all of its Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo trappings, and the bear moat (yes – a moat with bears in it) that surrounds it, or go rafting on the river running through the town center. You’ll see an amazing variety of architecture from the 14th to 17th century, all packed into this tiny historic town.

  • Budapest

    Budapest is Hungary’s capital and largest city. The river Danube flows through Budapest on its way to the Black Sea, dividing the city in two. In fact, Buda and Pest were officially united in 1873. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, but its capital retains an Eastern mystique, with twisty old streets lined with beautiful architecture. Today Budapest is bustling with activity. The language will fascinate you, the nightlife buzzes, the classical music scene is impressive, and the Hungarian people are warm and welcoming. Budapest’s famous thermal baths are a “must-do” for the traveler. Due to Budapest’s stunning beauty, many tourists believe it to be one of the hidden treasures of Central Europe.

What You’ll Study

TOTAL CREDITS - 12-15 credits per semester

Established in 1348, Charles University still carries the name and legacy of its founder, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Backed up by more than
600 years of tradition, the university is considered to be one of the most research-intensive and international institutions in the world.

API students at Charles University can choose from courses in art and culture, economics, film studies, history, literature, music, political science, psychology, sociology, theater, and Czech language. All courses, with the exception of Czech, are offered in English.

All students who have not previously studied Czech language are required to take a 3 credit language course. This language course is taught for two-weeks at the beginning of each semester.

TRANSCRIPTS

API students will receive a transcript from Charles University upon completion of their program.

Staff & Coordinators

Intensive Czech Language

This course offers an in-depth study of the Czech language focusing on written and oral communication. Students who opt to take this course pass/fail must earn a “C” or better to receive a “pass” on their transcripts.

Language of Instruction: Czech    Language Level Required: Beginner  

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Alternative Cultures

Provides critical insights into counter culture, graffiti, street-art, underground, punk, hip-hop, political art collectives, etc. Perspectives of anthropology and culture studies are explored. Seminal readings on subcultures, protest and new social movements are used to discuss the practices of ‘alternative’ urban lives in postindustrial society and certain trends of artistic production. Focus is on political interpretation of youth subversion and disclosures of power mechanisms. Visuals and field trips to graffiti and other subcultural sites are a part of this course.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech Cultural Studies: Official and Unofficial Czech Cultures in the 2nd half of the 20th Century

The main objective of this course is to discuss and trace the intricate relation among culture, politics and society in the region of Central and Eastern Europe by delving specifically into¨Czech multilayered cultural expression in the second half of the 20th century: from the works of art sanctioned by the communist regime to those marginalized by it or born in the exile. While we will primarily focus on the manifestations and significance of Czech official and unofficial cultures in a totalitarian society, we will also inquire into what the social and cultural legacy of these expressions has been after the transition to democracy, and how they are reflected in contemporary cultural and intellectual discourse today. The course will examine these issues in a transversal, multi-disciplinary way. In addition to traditional lecturing and required readings, we will also watch films and documentaries from and about the period, analyze independent photographs and propaganda posters, listen to proand anti-communist songs and read works of fiction written and distributed in spite of tough regime censorship. Where appropriate, we will take site visits within Prague to take advantage of persons, events or institutions that might enhance students’ understanding of the course, i.e. Libri Prohibiti Library; Václav Havel library; The Institute for Studying Totalitarian Regimes, etc.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech Culture and Civilization Course: A Field Trip into the Czech Psyche

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 a “lighter” reflection on certain specifics of the country’s development in the heart of Europe. Students will not be limited to listening to lectures and attending screenings in classrooms, but rather, 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 and top-quality documentaries will enable the participants to gain an interesting experience on all levels. The course is divided 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 below, and a final test. The course is open to students of history, sociology, political science, literature and visual arts as well as to anyone who is interested, eager to learn and has an open mind.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech and European Art and Architecture

The course provides a general overview of the Fine Arts development in Europe with a special focus on Central Europe and monuments in Prague. The course covers the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, up to Modernism and the Contemporary art scene. Special attention will be paid to the unique characteristics and developments of art (e.g. Prague Castle, Baroque churches, Czech cubism), and to 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. The class is divided into two parts; a lecture in the classroom and a field trip to a local museum or other monuments or buildings in Prague. Students will be encouraged to apply their knowledge – e.g. date the piece; describe the iconography, discover important details, guess the original purpose of the object, and recognize its modifications and later additions.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech and Slovak New Wave Cinema- Department

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.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Edges of Photography: Techniques, Artistry, and Czech Photographers

Although photography is a regular art discipline, due to its broad accessibility, it is perceived by many as a mere technical tool to record reality. Such perception is unsubstantiated on so many levels! The technical aspect of photography is only one part of it. The other, and perhaps even more important is the artistic part: Photographic technology can be seen as a tool in the service of a creative human soul. In addition, both these elements also correspond with and reflect a particular historical timeframe, which has an impact on the overall purport of every single image. This is certainly true about documentary photography, in which the seemingly ‘trivial’ photographer’s choices (such as camera exposure settings, framing/cropping, angles, focal length, composition, depth of field, etc.) have an impact on the outcome and perception of the photograph. It’s even more evident in abstract photography, in which reality/real objects are only used as mere creative tools for self-expression, a parable, a metaphor, a visual story.

This course is conceived as a rather passionate invitation to a collective exploration of and adventure in photography as an art form. It combines theoretical aspects of photography, its aesthetic and cognitive value with practical exercises. Several outdoor activities make an integral part of the course in order to improve students’ individual skills in artistic self-expression. Through students’ presentations, the course also offers a brief history of Czech(oslovak) photography.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Humour and Czech Culture

Since Antiquity, humour has been listed as one of the defining traits of human beings. At the same time, it often serves to express antagonism between different groups of people (offensive or subversive humour). As a cultural phenomenon humour is ever evolving and acquires so many forms it defies definition and even poses a threat to theory itself. In any case humour is a great gateway to the study of the peculiarities of a particular culture. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenon of humour, combining literary studies, culture studies, rhetoric, philosophy, ethics and psychology. The first part of the course will present a historical introduction, comparing examples of humour and comedy from different parts of the world and different eras (from Aristophanes to Kharms and contemporary comedians). Key concepts like satire, irony, parody, black humour, wit, hyperbole, absurd humour etc. will be clarified and major philosophical theories of humour will be discussed. Current problems like the limits of humour, political correctness, identity and outgroup derogation will be introduced, to be further discussed in the second part of the course. This part will focus on Czech culture and the many ways humour is present in it. Apart from literary masterpieces by Hašek, Kafka, Havel, Kundera and others we will take a look at comedy in theatre (Jára Cimrman Theatre), film (Czechoslovak New Wave) and other forms of art. The readings will always include an excerpt from a humorous text and a short theoretical text pertaining to the type of humour or the problem presented. From the divine to the obscene, from the hyper-intellectual to the nonsensical, from practical jokes to political satire, the rich palette of humour will give us a unique view of Czech culture.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Music between a Universal Language and Local Culture

The course will provide an introduction to Czech (and Central European) music and at the same time explore key topics in the philosophy of music, popular music studies and culture studies. Is music a universally comprehensible language or rather a locally specific and arcane form of community formation? The concepts introduced will allow us to discuss this question in general terms while we attempt to pinpoint what makes Czech music unique. Themes covered will include: music and technology, works of art, musical communities and identities, music and emotions, performance, mechanical reproduction, music and visual arts, and others. The classes will consist of interpreting short excerpts from various texts on music, discussion, listening to musical samples, and field trips. Students will be introduced to major Czech and Central European classical composers as well as popular and alternative/underground music groups. Reading excerpts will be taken from texts by philosophers such as Roland Barthes, Theodor Adorno and Jacques Attali, music critics like John Blacking and František Stárek as well as by musicians like David Byrne, John Cage or Miloš Štědroň. No prior knowledge of philosophy or musical education is required. In previous semesters, various guest lecturers have also been invited to the course, such as contemporary composer Miloš Orson Štědroň.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Consumerism and Every Day Practices in State Socialism

This seminar will address the specifics of consumption culture in state socialism. As a central societal and political phenomenon it had potentially legitimizing and delegitimizing effects on socialist states. Coming from the perspective of the every-day and cultural history we will be looking at how ordinary people influenced state policy through their practices and vice versa. Overall, we will be seeking a deeper understanding of consumption in socialism while giving special attention to similarities and differences within the "socialist bloc".

Language of Instruction: English   

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Contemporary Czech Art, Culture, and Literature: Urban Semiotics

The course will acquaint students with contemporary Czech society and art, their “roots” and transformations from three different perspectives. First, the course will pursue how Czech art and music are connected with activism, minority groups and mainstream culture. Second, focus will be placed on how to “read” contemporary urban performances, literature and music from a sociological and semiotic perspective (i.e. art as social life). We will ask: How and why do performances address and fascinate their readers? What valuehierarchies and culture-changing signs do they produce? Third, 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 will elucidate the transitions in Czech art scene after 1989, together with their socio-historical context. It will explore different understandings of post-communist movements as represented in the performances and works by Czech artists and thinkers. Czech perspectives will be confronted with Western social and literary criticism. Lecturer: Blanka Maderová, PhD Guests: Radim Labuda, Toybox, Pavla Jonnsonova, Darina Alster

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech Republic: An Urban Perspective – Department

The aim of the course is combine knowledge from the fields of urban sociology, general sociology and urbanism in order to give students detailed insight into Czech urban situation. At the end of the course, they 1) will have a basic introduction to the field of urban sociology; 2) will be to understand how cities work from the sociological perspective and 2) will have information and knowledge about Czech cities that will help them to benefit from their time here in CR. In the second part of the semester 1) a short commented film trip to smaller town nebo Prague is planned; 2) if possible a talk in class given by an urban professional (i.e. planner) and 3) students’ presentation focused on the comparison of the cities of their origin and Prague. The main output is a paper. The paper will be discussed during semestr and gradually presented by the students in a short form of reports on their projects.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Landscape (and) Sociology: Understanding of Czech and European Landscapes – Department

The connections between society and the landscape go beyond descriptive sociological perspectives of biophysical landscapes. Holistically, landscape sociology incorporates philosophical, cultural, anthropological and ecological interactions between man and nature, and between social and ecological systems. European, and particularly Czech, landscapes represent ecological as well as sociocultural heritages. Human experiences with landscapes, social and cultural constructions and transformations of landscapes, and the ways in which we bring meaning to landscapes are the main topics of this course. A primary aim of landscape sociology is to show landscape both as a geo-ecological phenomenon and as a sociocultural construction. The development of basic knowledge of ecological and cultural constructions of the Czech and European landscapes thus requires us to discuss a range of topics, including contemporary environmental and ecological issues, globalization and the landscape, and orientations in pan-European landscape typology based on the integration of landscape formation actors as a regionally differentiated geography, morphology and scenery on the one hand and regional culture, habits and history on the other. Landscape Sociology usually focuses on the interaction of social groups (represented largely by rural communities and urban environmentalists) and the complex of the environment constructed as the “landscape” on the macro-level. In this course, an overall objective and context for our lectures is the movement away from productivity as the sole or dominant mode of conceiving the value of rural landscapes, and the movement towards ideas about how to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Psycholinguistics

The course aims at introducing the fundamental aspects of psycholinguistic research, discussing the methods used in psycholinguistics and a summary of the knowledge achieved so far in the field. In the second part of the course, the process of language acquisition in children is discussed, together with examples of developmental language disorders such as dyslexia.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Selected Topics of Social Psychology: Soft Skills

Soft skills have got a great impact on our success and satisfaction in life. The concept of soft skills consists of both intra-personal and inter-personal aspects. This course presents a well-balanced practical overview of the soft skills world. The content will be adapted according to the students, possible topics are:

− Social perception, stereotyping, prejudices.

− Effective communication principles.

− Coaching.

− Self-management.

− Presentation skills.

− Assertiveness and manipulation recognition.

− Resolving conflicts.

− Teamwork, group problem solving.

− Stress management.

− Authenticity, values.

− Creativity.

Self experience is one of the most important outcomes of this seminar and therefore active learning methods will be used in every session (discussion, role-play, simulations, exercises, art, reflective journal, peer counselling, etc.). The whole class is more practice-oriented than theory oriented.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Social Change in the Czech Republic

The aim of the course is to overview social change in the Czech Republic. After a short introduction to the historical and social development (1918-1989) and basic comparison to other CEE countries, the course focuses on basic perspectives on social change (“shock therapy vs. gradualism”) and then deals with the changes in economic and social structure and political attitudes in general. To provide a deeper insight into the development, the transformation of housing and higher education system is presented in detail. The seminars consist of discussing short texts or relevant topics (covered in lectures), watching documentaries and presentations of students. However, the main output is a paper that students have to develop and write on a topic of their choice. Depending on the availability, relevant cultural events (i.e. exhibitions) are included as well.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Sociology of Food

Eating is a natural necessity for almost all human beings. Food, however, does more than just help humans survive and grow. It can become a political tool, a marker of social class and gender, a mirror of significant cultural differences. On a more individual scale, it can be related to personal identity, habits and health. As our perspective in this course is sociological and semiotical, we shall look at food both as a source of embodied experience, and as a language that can be decoded. It is a symbolic system that reflects the everyday habits of humans, norms of societies, as well as deeper, internalized meanings. Food will thus become a lens through which we will see and analyse our different cultures in a new light. We will ask questions such as: What is the place of origin of our food? How did our food get to us? How does food configure and change relations among people?

During our comparisons and practical workshops, we shall trace the histories of some of the most significant meals of the Czech Republic (and former Austro-Hungarian empire). Their transformations will help us understand the social changes that took place in Central Europe from a different perspective. Questions such as gender relations, families, political economy, health (obesity, anorexia, bio food), ecology and the nation-state will be discussed. We will read academic articles that react on these questions in various national and ethnic contexts. There will be 3 workshops where students will try to cook several Central European meals and discuss them with a Czech chef.

Language of Instruction: English   

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20th-Century Prague Literature in International Contexts

The course aims to cover selected chapters of 20th-century Czech literature as part of the Centraland East-European and Anglo-American contexts, presenting Prague and the literature produced here at the crossroads of multiple languages, traditions, poetic and aesthetic systems. The canonical Czech-writing authors include, among others, Jaroslav Hašek, Karel Čapek, the poetist poets (Nezval, Seifert, Biebl), Bohumil Hrabal, Milan Kundera, Josef Škvorecký, Ivan Blatný, & Václav Havel. The international context is provided by German-writing authors such as Gustav Meyrink, Franz Kafka, & Robert Musil, and the many French and Anglophone poets writing in/about Prague. The seminar will conclude with an overview of the post-1989 situation, where Prague literature has once again become the locus of lively international exchange and prominent Czech or Praguebased writers (Jáchym Topol, Michal Ajvaz, Tom Stoppard, Tom McCarthy, & Louis Armand) have re-entered into dialogue with other traditions and languages. Discussion of the literary texts is complemented by their historical/theoretical backgrounds, provided by the work of Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, Martin Esslin, Sigmund Freud, & Angelo Maria Ripellino.

Language of Instruction: English   

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From Thoreau to Havel: Chapters in Czech and American Struggle for Social Justice

The course reacts to current polarization of political life both in the United States and the Czech Republic. It discusses important U.S. and Czech writers, artists, and activists who have believed in the indivisibility of freedom (“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison” – Thoreau) and entered in dialogue with the powerful as well as the powerless in face of dogmatism, fear, and indifference. These writers, artists, philosophers and activists have been broadening the notion of democracy and have been keeping the precious “fragile democratic experiment” alive – by fighting for ballot for women and African Americans, by fighting anti-Semitism in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, by fighting injustice and complacency in Socialist Czechoslovakia, by helping children “of the Enemy,” or by confronting ongoing racial injustice in the United States and the Czech Republic. The course will foster dialogue between American and Czech humanistic thinkers, artists, and activists. The course draws inspiration from African American philosopher Cornel West who understands truth “as a way of life” that “allows suffering to speak”.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Cold War and the Soviet Block: Impacts for Eastern Europe and World- Department

This course deals, particularly, with the foreign policy of the Soviet Union and East-European countries during times of the so called Cold war. It analyses the development of international relations with special emphasis on Eastern Europe. It focuses on basic and forming milestones of the Soviet foreign policy, its principles, strategies and direction. The great emphasis will be given primarily to the rivalry of the Eastern and Western countries during the Cold war (the lectures will be devoted also to the foreign policy of the Soviet satellites) but there will be also space for analysis of relations among the Soviet Union (Soviet block) and Middle East, Near Asia, Far East, Africa, Latin America, China and others. The course will concentrate also on the key assumptions of the Soviet foreign policy, such as ideology, propaganda, viewing of others etc. It contains two parts: lecture (2x45 minutes per week) and seminar (2x45 minutes per week). Lectures will offer key information to the topic while seminars will develop acquired knowledge through discussions, examples, presentations, projections etc.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Conflicting Identities: The Influence of „Germany“ over Central Europe (From the Middle Ages to 1945)

The course focuses on the history of Central Europe through the perspective of German influence. It will shed light on complicated and controversial notions such as “Central Europe”, “Germany”, and “Mitteleuropa” as well as “nationalism”, the “nation state”, and “multinational states”. The course is divided into three main units which follow the chronology and reflect the evolution in the meaning of the “German” as well as the changing nature of its interactions with the non-German elements in Central Europe: – The Habsburgs and their assertion of control over the majority of Central Europe, thereby placing its population under German rule (from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century) – The Age of Nationalism, the development of specific central European identities and political strategies against German rules(s) and the resulting modification of the European map after World War I. – The German “Mitteleuropa”, the weak democracies of Central Europe and the growing threat of German revisionism for the non-German states and population in Central Europe. Added emphasis will be placed on the role played by the Jews in shaping the history and culture of Central Europe and on their relations with the other Central European peoples.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech and Central European History

– history of Bohemia and Moravia (historically the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, today the Czech Republic) since primeval times till present – history of the peoples in this territory (ancient cultures, Celts, Germanic tribes, Slavonic tribes, Czechs, Germans, Jews, Slovaks, the Romani, other minorities…) – broad geographical context (the Czech Lands – Central Europe – Europe…) – broad thematic context (political, social, cultural history…)

Language of Instruction: English   

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Jewish History in Central and Eastern Europe

The course focuses on Jewish history in Central and Eastern Europe with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th century. 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. In the analysis, special attention will be paid to the history of Central and Eastern European countries at the beginning of the 20th century.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Stunde Null (Zero Hour). The End of the Second World War in Europe and Its Aftermath (1944-1947)

The phrase “Stunde Null” (“Zero Hour”) refers commonly to the scheduled time for the start of some event, especially a military operation (parallel for example for D-Day as a military designation of the allied invasion to Normandy on 6 June 1944 etc.). However, historians use this term also as a metaphor to describe the time immediately following the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Last months of the WWII were just as full of contradictions as the following period of peace renewal. Before the end of the war, Nazis dragged millions of people to concentration camps or enslaved them under forced labor in factories far away from their homes. Another millions of people ran away from cities destroyed by bombing. Mainly in the Eastern Europe, soldiers expelled another millions of people from their homes. At the end of the war, Europeans were losing their hope but they still had to find out plans and solutions for the new beginning, i.e. necessary economic recovery and political consolidation. In the course, we will try to discuss and understand the most important social, political and economic circumstances between the last months of the WWII and beginning of the Cold War.

Language of Instruction: English   

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The Formation of Europe and its Nations- Department

The course focuses on the processes and events that have been making the ethnic and political borders of Europe since the arrival of Indo-Europeans until present times. It follows the formations, expansions, and differentiation of the Celtic, Germanic, Romance, Slavic and other peoples, the formation of medieval nations or changes in the political map of Europe in the last centuries. It also explains how and when peoples like Basques, Albanians, Hungarians, Turks appeared in Europe. Due to its comprehensive character, the course is suitable for students interested in history, politics, anthropology and linguistics.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Totalitarianism Revisited

The course intends to be a basic introduction to the development of historical and contemporary way of thinking about the two most significant authoritarian or undemocratic regimes – Nazism and Communism. Initial reading of fundamental ideological works and classical theoretical essays of totalitarian theory will provide students the most significant basis of understanding further debates on the field of history. Students will have an opportunity to be acquainted with both the most relevant general, theoretical and methodological debates and their concrete practical application in the research of the East-Central European history. They will have an opportunity to cultivate their abilities in discussing general preconditions of historical understanding of political power but at the same time, they will learn fundamental knowledge of the history of East-Central Europe in the 20th Century.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Central Europe in the context of the European integration

This course reacts to the last developments in the Central European space in the dynamic process of the European integration. The migration situation since 2015, the threats of terrorism, the decision of the Great Britain to leave the European Eunion within two years are largely influencing also the political atmosphere in Central European countries. This class will make an attempt to explain the interdependance of both the developments of five Central European countries (Czech republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Hungary) after the historical changes in 1989, as well as those developments inside the EU caused by the enlargement of the EU into Central Europe.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Comparative Politics: Transformation of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic

Sharing the same geopolitical position within the East Bloc, the individual cases – i.e. Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and others – differed significantly, however, in their respective points of departure, as well as in political institutional solutions chosen in course of their transitions. This comparative aspect will be studied with a special focus. Students will be also encouraged to challenge the mainstream understanding of “transition” as predictable, gradual and irreversible progress towards the standard “Western” model. The course is designed as a seminar based on a guided discussion about carefully selected texts collected in a reader; active participation of the students is essential.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czechoslovakian Dissent under Communist Rule

The aim of this course is to give an overview about relevant figures, events and texts of the independent political thinking in the communist Czechoslovakia, based on reading and discussing original articles and documents (in English translations). This will include political debates during the Prague Spring, the dissident movement and its political thinking in 70´s and 80´s, as well as a few representative articles from the early 90´s. There will be two main elements, reducing this wide topic into a reasonable range. One of them is Václav Havel, an extraordinarily instructive (not just attractive) figure within the Czech(oslovakian) politics of last four decades. Secondly, we will deal repeatedly with certain basic political concepts which seem to be clear at the first sight, but which cover up essentially different aspects when used by various authors (such as socialism, democracy, politics and others). Thus, we will apply an interdisciplinary approach, which combines the analysis of political ideologies, historical context and of the language/rhetoric within public debates.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Dealing with Neighbours – National Identities and Relationships in Central Europe

The aim of the course is to give a general insight about relations between countries/nations in the region of Central Europe and subsequently to reflect on the idea of European cooperation as a whole nowadays. We will start with a brief analysis of national identities in Europe and reflection of various borderlines within the continent. Subsequently, we will focus specifically on Central Europe and explore step by step relations of Czechs with its neighbours countries, focusing primarily on recent history and consequences for the political ties and relationships nowadays. Each relation is very specific: with Slovaks, Czechs used to share a common state for 75 years (even though the idea of the „common state“ differed substantially on both sides); with Germans, also used to share a significant part of the Czech lands for centuries (before we expelled the German minority as a consequence of the Second World War); with Austrians, we have had a long common history as a part of the Habsburg Empire, before Czechoslovakia appeared as an independent state as a consequence of WWI. We will discuss and analyze the historical relations to understand political ties nowadays – be it the cooperation within Visegrad 4 scheme, or current challenges to the foundations of liberal democracy which Central European states have faced recently.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Global Economy and Crises

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 focuses on analysis of historical and contemporary issues in the Global Economic Order both in theoretical and applied perspective. Important part of the course focuses on comparative perspectives both in the form of Comparison of Economic Systems and of comparison of past major world economic crises. 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 current global economy. States and their regional integrations (RTAs), international organization (e.g. UN, WTO, IMF, WB), and TNCs will be introduced and analysed in comparative perspective. Second part provides students with the long-term trends of the global economy, i.e. with globalization, global mobility of goods, services, capital and labour as well as with comparative analysis of past crises. Globalization’s influence on balances within global governance system will be stressed. 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) should be another main outcome of this part.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech Language for Everyday Use II

The course lays stress on the productive skills of speaking. It is to help learners master basic functional grammar and vocabulary by providing a number of both readymade and improvised everyday life conversations. The attention will be also paid to basic information on Czech culture to help students to communicate in a socially appropriate way.

Language of Instruction: Czech   

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Intensive Czech Language

This course offers an in-depth study of the Czech language focusing on written and oral communication. Students who opt to take this course pass/fail must earn a “C” or better to receive a “pass” on their transcripts.

Language of Instruction: Czech    Language Level Required: Beginner  

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Alternative Cultures

Provides critical insights into counter culture, graffiti, street-art, underground, punk, hip-hop, political art collectives, etc. Perspectives of anthropology and culture studies are explored. Seminal readings on subcultures, protest and new social movements are used to discuss the practices of ‘alternative’ urban lives in postindustrial society and certain trends of artistic production. Focus is on political interpretation of youth subversion and disclosures of power mechanisms. Visuals and field trips to graffiti and other subcultural sites are a part of this course.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech Cultural Studies: Official and Unofficial Czech Cultures in the 2nd half of the 20th Century

The main objective of this course is to discuss and trace the intricate relation among culture, politics and society in the region of Central and Eastern Europe by delving specifically into¨Czech multilayered cultural expression in the second half of the 20th century: from the works of art sanctioned by the communist regime to those marginalized by it or born in the exile. While we will primarily focus on the manifestations and significance of Czech official and unofficial cultures in a totalitarian society, we will also inquire into what the social and cultural legacy of these expressions has been after the transition to democracy, and how they are reflected in contemporary cultural and intellectual discourse today. The course will examine these issues in a transversal, multi-disciplinary way. In addition to traditional lecturing and required readings, we will also watch films and documentaries from and about the period, analyze independent photographs and propaganda posters, listen to proand anti-communist songs and read works of fiction written and distributed in spite of tough regime censorship. Where appropriate, we will take site visits within Prague to take advantage of persons, events or institutions that might enhance students’ understanding of the course, i.e. Libri Prohibiti Library; Václav Havel library; The Institute for Studying Totalitarian Regimes, etc.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech Culture and Civilization Course: A Field Trip into the Czech Psyche

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 a “lighter” reflection on certain specifics of the country’s development in the heart of Europe. Students will not be limited to listening to lectures and attending screenings in classrooms, but rather, 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 and top-quality documentaries will enable the participants to gain an interesting experience on all levels. The course is divided 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 below, and a final test. The course is open to students of history, sociology, political science, literature and visual arts as well as to anyone who is interested, eager to learn and has an open mind.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech and European Art and Architecture

The course provides a general overview of the Fine Arts development in Europe with a special focus on Central Europe and monuments in Prague. The course covers the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, up to Modernism and the Contemporary art scene. Special attention will be paid to the unique characteristics and developments of art (e.g. Prague Castle, Baroque churches, Czech cubism), and to 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. The class is divided into two parts; a lecture in the classroom and a field trip to a local museum or other monuments or buildings in Prague. Students will be encouraged to apply their knowledge – e.g. date the piece; describe the iconography, discover important details, guess the original purpose of the object, and recognize its modifications and later additions.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech and Slovak New Wave Cinema- Department

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.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Edges of Photography: Techniques, Artistry, and Czech Photographers

Although photography is a regular art discipline, due to its broad accessibility, it is perceived by many as a mere technical tool to record reality. Such perception is unsubstantiated on so many levels! The technical aspect of photography is only one part of it. The other, and perhaps even more important is the artistic part: Photographic technology can be seen as a tool in the service of a creative human soul. In addition, both these elements also correspond with and reflect a particular historical timeframe, which has an impact on the overall purport of every single image. This is certainly true about documentary photography, in which the seemingly ‘trivial’ photographer’s choices (such as camera exposure settings, framing/cropping, angles, focal length, composition, depth of field, etc.) have an impact on the outcome and perception of the photograph. It’s even more evident in abstract photography, in which reality/real objects are only used as mere creative tools for self-expression, a parable, a metaphor, a visual story.

This course is conceived as a rather passionate invitation to a collective exploration of and adventure in photography as an art form. It combines theoretical aspects of photography, its aesthetic and cognitive value with practical exercises. Several outdoor activities make an integral part of the course in order to improve students’ individual skills in artistic self-expression. Through students’ presentations, the course also offers a brief history of Czech(oslovak) photography.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Humour and Czech Culture

Since Antiquity, humour has been listed as one of the defining traits of human beings. At the same time, it often serves to express antagonism between different groups of people (offensive or subversive humour). As a cultural phenomenon humour is ever evolving and acquires so many forms it defies definition and even poses a threat to theory itself. In any case humour is a great gateway to the study of the peculiarities of a particular culture. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenon of humour, combining literary studies, culture studies, rhetoric, philosophy, ethics and psychology. The first part of the course will present a historical introduction, comparing examples of humour and comedy from different parts of the world and different eras (from Aristophanes to Kharms and contemporary comedians). Key concepts like satire, irony, parody, black humour, wit, hyperbole, absurd humour etc. will be clarified and major philosophical theories of humour will be discussed. Current problems like the limits of humour, political correctness, identity and outgroup derogation will be introduced, to be further discussed in the second part of the course. This part will focus on Czech culture and the many ways humour is present in it. Apart from literary masterpieces by Hašek, Kafka, Havel, Kundera and others we will take a look at comedy in theatre (Jára Cimrman Theatre), film (Czechoslovak New Wave) and other forms of art. The readings will always include an excerpt from a humorous text and a short theoretical text pertaining to the type of humour or the problem presented. From the divine to the obscene, from the hyper-intellectual to the nonsensical, from practical jokes to political satire, the rich palette of humour will give us a unique view of Czech culture.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Music between a Universal Language and Local Culture

The course will provide an introduction to Czech (and Central European) music and at the same time explore key topics in the philosophy of music, popular music studies and culture studies. Is music a universally comprehensible language or rather a locally specific and arcane form of community formation? The concepts introduced will allow us to discuss this question in general terms while we attempt to pinpoint what makes Czech music unique. Themes covered will include: music and technology, works of art, musical communities and identities, music and emotions, performance, mechanical reproduction, music and visual arts, and others. The classes will consist of interpreting short excerpts from various texts on music, discussion, listening to musical samples, and field trips. Students will be introduced to major Czech and Central European classical composers as well as popular and alternative/underground music groups. Reading excerpts will be taken from texts by philosophers such as Roland Barthes, Theodor Adorno and Jacques Attali, music critics like John Blacking and František Stárek as well as by musicians like David Byrne, John Cage or Miloš Štědroň. No prior knowledge of philosophy or musical education is required. In previous semesters, various guest lecturers have also been invited to the course, such as contemporary composer Miloš Orson Štědroň.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Consumerism and Every Day Practices in State Socialism

This seminar will address the specifics of consumption culture in state socialism. As a central societal and political phenomenon it had potentially legitimizing and delegitimizing effects on socialist states. Coming from the perspective of the every-day and cultural history we will be looking at how ordinary people influenced state policy through their practices and vice versa. Overall, we will be seeking a deeper understanding of consumption in socialism while giving special attention to similarities and differences within the "socialist bloc".

Language of Instruction: English   

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Contemporary Czech Art, Culture, and Literature: Urban Semiotics

The course will acquaint students with contemporary Czech society and art, their “roots” and transformations from three different perspectives. First, the course will pursue how Czech art and music are connected with activism, minority groups and mainstream culture. Second, focus will be placed on how to “read” contemporary urban performances, literature and music from a sociological and semiotic perspective (i.e. art as social life). We will ask: How and why do performances address and fascinate their readers? What valuehierarchies and culture-changing signs do they produce? Third, 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 will elucidate the transitions in Czech art scene after 1989, together with their socio-historical context. It will explore different understandings of post-communist movements as represented in the performances and works by Czech artists and thinkers. Czech perspectives will be confronted with Western social and literary criticism. Lecturer: Blanka Maderová, PhD Guests: Radim Labuda, Toybox, Pavla Jonnsonova, Darina Alster

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech Republic: An Urban Perspective – Department

The aim of the course is combine knowledge from the fields of urban sociology, general sociology and urbanism in order to give students detailed insight into Czech urban situation. At the end of the course, they 1) will have a basic introduction to the field of urban sociology; 2) will be to understand how cities work from the sociological perspective and 2) will have information and knowledge about Czech cities that will help them to benefit from their time here in CR. In the second part of the semester 1) a short commented film trip to smaller town nebo Prague is planned; 2) if possible a talk in class given by an urban professional (i.e. planner) and 3) students’ presentation focused on the comparison of the cities of their origin and Prague. The main output is a paper. The paper will be discussed during semestr and gradually presented by the students in a short form of reports on their projects.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Landscape (and) Sociology: Understanding of Czech and European Landscapes – Department

The connections between society and the landscape go beyond descriptive sociological perspectives of biophysical landscapes. Holistically, landscape sociology incorporates philosophical, cultural, anthropological and ecological interactions between man and nature, and between social and ecological systems. European, and particularly Czech, landscapes represent ecological as well as sociocultural heritages. Human experiences with landscapes, social and cultural constructions and transformations of landscapes, and the ways in which we bring meaning to landscapes are the main topics of this course. A primary aim of landscape sociology is to show landscape both as a geo-ecological phenomenon and as a sociocultural construction. The development of basic knowledge of ecological and cultural constructions of the Czech and European landscapes thus requires us to discuss a range of topics, including contemporary environmental and ecological issues, globalization and the landscape, and orientations in pan-European landscape typology based on the integration of landscape formation actors as a regionally differentiated geography, morphology and scenery on the one hand and regional culture, habits and history on the other. Landscape Sociology usually focuses on the interaction of social groups (represented largely by rural communities and urban environmentalists) and the complex of the environment constructed as the “landscape” on the macro-level. In this course, an overall objective and context for our lectures is the movement away from productivity as the sole or dominant mode of conceiving the value of rural landscapes, and the movement towards ideas about how to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Language of Instruction: English   

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CUFA PSY 310 - Psycholinguistics

The course aims at introducing the fundamental aspects of psycholinguistic research, discussing the methods used in psycholinguistics and a summary of the knowledge achieved so far in the field. In the second part of the course, the process of language acquisition in children is discussed, together with examples of developmental language disorders such as dyslexia.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Selected Topics of Social Psychology: Soft Skills

Soft skills have got a great impact on our success and satisfaction in life. The concept of soft skills consists of both intra-personal and inter-personal aspects. This course presents a well-balanced practical overview of the soft skills world. The content will be adapted according to the students, possible topics are:

− Social perception, stereotyping, prejudices.

− Effective communication principles.

− Coaching.

− Self-management.

− Presentation skills.

− Assertiveness and manipulation recognition.

− Resolving conflicts.

− Teamwork, group problem solving.

− Stress management.

− Authenticity, values.

− Creativity.

Self experience is one of the most important outcomes of this seminar and therefore active learning methods will be used in every session (discussion, role-play, simulations, exercises, art, reflective journal, peer counselling, etc.). The whole class is more practice-oriented than theory oriented.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Social Change in the Czech Republic

The aim of the course is to overview social change in the Czech Republic. After a short introduction to the historical and social development (1918-1989) and basic comparison to other CEE countries, the course focuses on basic perspectives on social change (“shock therapy vs. gradualism”) and then deals with the changes in economic and social structure and political attitudes in general. To provide a deeper insight into the development, the transformation of housing and higher education system is presented in detail. The seminars consist of discussing short texts or relevant topics (covered in lectures), watching documentaries and presentations of students. However, the main output is a paper that students have to develop and write on a topic of their choice. Depending on the availability, relevant cultural events (i.e. exhibitions) are included as well.

Language of Instruction: English   

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CUFA SOC 300 - Sociology of Food

Eating is a natural necessity for almost all human beings. Food, however, does more than just help humans survive and grow. It can become a political tool, a marker of social class and gender, a mirror of significant cultural differences. On a more individual scale, it can be related to personal identity, habits and health. As our perspective in this course is sociological and semiotical, we shall look at food both as a source of embodied experience, and as a language that can be decoded. It is a symbolic system that reflects the everyday habits of humans, norms of societies, as well as deeper, internalized meanings. Food will thus become a lens through which we will see and analyse our different cultures in a new light. We will ask questions such as: What is the place of origin of our food? How did our food get to us? How does food configure and change relations among people?

During our comparisons and practical workshops, we shall trace the histories of some of the most significant meals of the Czech Republic (and former Austro-Hungarian empire). Their transformations will help us understand the social changes that took place in Central Europe from a different perspective. Questions such as gender relations, families, political economy, health (obesity, anorexia, bio food), ecology and the nation-state will be discussed. We will read academic articles that react on these questions in various national and ethnic contexts.

There will be 3 workshops where students will try to cook several Central European meals and discuss them with a Czech chef.

Language of Instruction: English   

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20th-Century Prague Literature in International Contexts

The course aims to cover selected chapters of 20th-century Czech literature as part of the Centraland East-European and Anglo-American contexts, presenting Prague and the literature produced here at the crossroads of multiple languages, traditions, poetic and aesthetic systems. The canonical Czech-writing authors include, among others, Jaroslav Hašek, Karel Čapek, the poetist poets (Nezval, Seifert, Biebl), Bohumil Hrabal, Milan Kundera, Josef Škvorecký, Ivan Blatný, & Václav Havel. The international context is provided by German-writing authors such as Gustav Meyrink, Franz Kafka, & Robert Musil, and the many French and Anglophone poets writing in/about Prague. The seminar will conclude with an overview of the post-1989 situation, where Prague literature has once again become the locus of lively international exchange and prominent Czech or Praguebased writers (Jáchym Topol, Michal Ajvaz, Tom Stoppard, Tom McCarthy, & Louis Armand) have re-entered into dialogue with other traditions and languages. Discussion of the literary texts is complemented by their historical/theoretical backgrounds, provided by the work of Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, Martin Esslin, Sigmund Freud, & Angelo Maria Ripellino.

Language of Instruction: English   

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From Thoreau to Havel: Chapters in Czech and American Struggle for Social Justice

The course reacts to current polarization of political life both in the United States and the Czech Republic. It discusses important U.S. and Czech writers, artists, and activists who have believed in the indivisibility of freedom (“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison” – Thoreau) and entered in dialogue with the powerful as well as the powerless in face of dogmatism, fear, and indifference. These writers, artists, philosophers and activists have been broadening the notion of democracy and have been keeping the precious “fragile democratic experiment” alive – by fighting for ballot for women and African Americans, by fighting anti-Semitism in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, by fighting injustice and complacency in Socialist Czechoslovakia, by helping children “of the Enemy,” or by confronting ongoing racial injustice in the United States and the Czech Republic. The course will foster dialogue between American and Czech humanistic thinkers, artists, and activists. The course draws inspiration from African American philosopher Cornel West who understands truth “as a way of life” that “allows suffering to speak”.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Conflicting Identities: The Influence of „Germany“ over Central Europe (From the Middle Ages to 1945)

The course focuses on the history of Central Europe through the perspective of German influence. It will shed light on complicated and controversial notions such as “Central Europe”, “Germany”, and “Mitteleuropa” as well as “nationalism”, the “nation state”, and “multinational states”. The course is divided into three main units which follow the chronology and reflect the evolution in the meaning of the “German” as well as the changing nature of its interactions with the non-German elements in Central Europe: – The Habsburgs and their assertion of control over the majority of Central Europe, thereby placing its population under German rule (from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century) – The Age of Nationalism, the development of specific central European identities and political strategies against German rules(s) and the resulting modification of the European map after World War I. – The German “Mitteleuropa”, the weak democracies of Central Europe and the growing threat of German revisionism for the non-German states and population in Central Europe. Added emphasis will be placed on the role played by the Jews in shaping the history and culture of Central Europe and on their relations with the other Central European peoples.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech and Central European History

– history of Bohemia and Moravia (historically the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, today the Czech Republic) since primeval times till present – history of the peoples in this territory (ancient cultures, Celts, Germanic tribes, Slavonic tribes, Czechs, Germans, Jews, Slovaks, the Romani, other minorities…) – broad geographical context (the Czech Lands – Central Europe – Europe…) – broad thematic context (political, social, cultural history…)

Language of Instruction: English   

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Cold War and the Soviet Block: Impacts for Eastern Europe and World- Department

This course deals, particularly, with the foreign policy of the Soviet Union and East-European countries during times of the so called Cold war. It analyses the development of international relations with special emphasis on Eastern Europe. It focuses on basic and forming milestones of the Soviet foreign policy, its principles, strategies and direction. The great emphasis will be given primarily to the rivalry of the Eastern and Western countries during the Cold war (the lectures will be devoted also to the foreign policy of the Soviet satellites) but there will be also space for analysis of relations among the Soviet Union (Soviet block) and Middle East, Near Asia, Far East, Africa, Latin America, China and others. The course will concentrate also on the key assumptions of the Soviet foreign policy, such as ideology, propaganda, viewing of others etc. It contains two parts: lecture (2x45 minutes per week) and seminar (2x45 minutes per week). Lectures will offer key information to the topic while seminars will develop acquired knowledge through discussions, examples, presentations, projections etc.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Jewish History in Central and Eastern Europe

The course focuses on Jewish history in Central and Eastern Europe with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th century. 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. In the analysis, special attention will be paid to the history of Central and Eastern European countries at the beginning of the 20th century.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Stunde Null (Zero Hour). The End of the Second World War in Europe and Its Aftermath (1944-1947)

The phrase “Stunde Null” (“Zero Hour”) refers commonly to the scheduled time for the start of some event, especially a military operation (parallel for example for D-Day as a military designation of the allied invasion to Normandy on 6 June 1944 etc.). However, historians use this term also as a metaphor to describe the time immediately following the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Last months of the WWII were just as full of contradictions as the following period of peace renewal. Before the end of the war, Nazis dragged millions of people to concentration camps or enslaved them under forced labor in factories far away from their homes. Another millions of people ran away from cities destroyed by bombing. Mainly in the Eastern Europe, soldiers expelled another millions of people from their homes. At the end of the war, Europeans were losing their hope but they still had to find out plans and solutions for the new beginning, i.e. necessary economic recovery and political consolidation. In the course, we will try to discuss and understand the most important social, political and economic circumstances between the last months of the WWII and beginning of the Cold War.

Language of Instruction: English   

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The Formation of Europe and its Nations- Department

The course focuses on the processes and events that have been making the ethnic and political borders of Europe since the arrival of Indo-Europeans until present times. It follows the formations, expansions, and differentiation of the Celtic, Germanic, Romance, Slavic and other peoples, the formation of medieval nations or changes in the political map of Europe in the last centuries. It also explains how and when peoples like Basques, Albanians, Hungarians, Turks appeared in Europe. Due to its comprehensive character, the course is suitable for students interested in history, politics, anthropology and linguistics.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Totalitarianism Revisited

The course intends to be a basic introduction to the development of historical and contemporary way of thinking about the two most significant authoritarian or undemocratic regimes – Nazism and Communism. Initial reading of fundamental ideological works and classical theoretical essays of totalitarian theory will provide students the most significant basis of understanding further debates on the field of history. Students will have an opportunity to be acquainted with both the most relevant general, theoretical and methodological debates and their concrete practical application in the research of the East-Central European history. They will have an opportunity to cultivate their abilities in discussing general preconditions of historical understanding of political power but at the same time, they will learn fundamental knowledge of the history of East-Central Europe in the 20th Century.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Central Europe in the context of the European integration

This course reacts to the last developments in the Central European space in the dynamic process of the European integration. The migration situation since 2015, the threats of terrorism, the decision of the Great Britain to leave the European Eunion within two years are largely influencing also the political atmosphere in Central European countries. This class will make an attempt to explain the interdependance of both the developments of five Central European countries (Czech republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Hungary) after the historical changes in 1989, as well as those developments inside the EU caused by the enlargement of the EU into Central Europe.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Comparative Politics: Transformation of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic

Sharing the same geopolitical position within the East Bloc, the individual cases – i.e. Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and others – differed significantly, however, in their respective points of departure, as well as in political institutional solutions chosen in course of their transitions. This comparative aspect will be studied with a special focus. Students will be also encouraged to challenge the mainstream understanding of “transition” as predictable, gradual and irreversible progress towards the standard “Western” model. The course is designed as a seminar based on a guided discussion about carefully selected texts collected in a reader; active participation of the students is essential.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czechoslovakian Dissent under Communist Rule

The aim of this course is to give an overview about relevant figures, events and texts of the independent political thinking in the communist Czechoslovakia, based on reading and discussing original articles and documents (in English translations). This will include political debates during the Prague Spring, the dissident movement and its political thinking in 70´s and 80´s, as well as a few representative articles from the early 90´s. There will be two main elements, reducing this wide topic into a reasonable range. One of them is Václav Havel, an extraordinarily instructive (not just attractive) figure within the Czech(oslovakian) politics of last four decades. Secondly, we will deal repeatedly with certain basic political concepts which seem to be clear at the first sight, but which cover up essentially different aspects when used by various authors (such as socialism, democracy, politics and others). Thus, we will apply an interdisciplinary approach, which combines the analysis of political ideologies, historical context and of the language/rhetoric within public debates.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Dealing with Neighbours – National Identities and Relationships in Central Europe

The aim of the course is to give a general insight about relations between countries/nations in the region of Central Europe and subsequently to reflect on the idea of European cooperation as a whole nowadays. We will start with a brief analysis of national identities in Europe and reflection of various borderlines within the continent. Subsequently, we will focus specifically on Central Europe and explore step by step relations of Czechs with its neighbours countries, focusing primarily on recent history and consequences for the political ties and relationships nowadays. Each relation is very specific: with Slovaks, Czechs used to share a common state for 75 years (even though the idea of the „common state“ differed substantially on both sides); with Germans, also used to share a significant part of the Czech lands for centuries (before we expelled the German minority as a consequence of the Second World War); with Austrians, we have had a long common history as a part of the Habsburg Empire, before Czechoslovakia appeared as an independent state as a consequence of WWI. We will discuss and analyze the historical relations to understand political ties nowadays – be it the cooperation within Visegrad 4 scheme, or current challenges to the foundations of liberal democracy which Central European states have faced recently.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Global Economy and Crises

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 focuses on analysis of historical and contemporary issues in the Global Economic Order both in theoretical and applied perspective. Important part of the course focuses on comparative perspectives both in the form of Comparison of Economic Systems and of comparison of past major world economic crises. 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 current global economy. States and their regional integrations (RTAs), international organization (e.g. UN, WTO, IMF, WB), and TNCs will be introduced and analysed in comparative perspective. Second part provides students with the long-term trends of the global economy, i.e. with globalization, global mobility of goods, services, capital and labour as well as with comparative analysis of past crises. Globalization’s influence on balances within global governance system will be stressed. 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) should be another main outcome of this part.

Language of Instruction: English   

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Czech Language for Everyday Use II

The course lays stress on the productive skills of speaking. It is to help learners master basic functional grammar and vocabulary by providing a number of both readymade and improvised everyday life conversations. The attention will be also paid to basic information on Czech culture to help students to communicate in a socially appropriate way.

Language of Instruction: Czech   

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Highlights
  • Classes taught in English
  • International excursion during some semesters

API students in Prague will live in university residence halls.

API students at Charles University who opt for the residence hall option will usually stay in the Komenského kolej (dormitory) near the Prague Castle, a 10-minute walk to the castle, a 30-minute walk to the main university building, and a twenty-minute tram ride to the historic Old Town. The dormitory offers conveniences that any student would need to live and study abroad. The residence hall includes in-room kitchenettes (with larger, shared kitchens available), as well as a laundry room, community room, study room, small gym (fee required), wi-fi, housekeeping (on a limited basis), gated entry with student ID access, and breakfast served Monday-Friday (excluding holidays).

Session Program Dates Program Cost Application Deadline Payment Deadline
Spring Jan 25, 2020 - May 16, 2020 $12,960 Oct 15, 2019 Nov 15, 2019
Fall Sep, 2020 - Dec, 2020 $12,960 May 1, 2020 May 15, 2020