Central Europe: A Birthplace of Modernity
This summer school will offer a complex take on the historical, cultural, and political developments taking place in Central Europe at the turn of the turn 19th and 20th centuries, which had a significant impact on European (intellectual) history and culture in the decades to come.
The school aims at familiarizing the students with the intricate interplay between the various radical innovations in the sciences and in the realm of culture (in philosophy, linguistics, literature, music, visual culture, and architecture) as they manifested themselves in the region against the backdrop of sweeping socio-political changes. Some of the developments in question contributed to fundamental reconfigurations of our understanding of the human nature, the reality we inhabit, and its representation.
The program of the summer school consist of daily seminars, lectures, a cultural program, excursions, and field trips. The full program consists of forty-eight seminar hours (typically two-double periods in the morning), three afternoon/evening lectures on selected topics; two film-viewing sessions; two-day trips to Prague and Vienna, a guided tour through Brno, a visit to Brno’s unique UNESCO sight, the Villa Tugendhat, half-day trips to the battlefield of Austerlitz, the Lednice and Valtice UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the caves of the Moravian Karst; and visits to concerts and exhibitions depending on what is offered in the city. This course focuses on the historical, cultural and political developments taking place in Central Europe from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The period begins symbolically with 1848, referred to variously as “the year of revolution” and “the springtime of the peoples” – the year that catapulted to the fore the concept of the nation and the power of nationalism, which were to have such a profound effect on the twentieth century in general and on Central Europe in particular. And the period ends, again symbolically, with 1948, the year of the Communist coup d’état in Czechoslovakia, which sealed the fate of most of Central Europe for the next forty years, cutting it off from the mainstream of European development that it had been part of until then and to which it had contributed so much. In the period from 1848 down to the First World War, we will be looking at the growth of competing nationalisms in the Central European region, the emergence of new social strata and new political forces, the development of pioneering ideas in the sciences and social sciences, and the groundbreaking changes in all areas of culture, in particular literature, art, architecture and music. With the collapse of the previous order at the end of World War I, the focus will shift to the different challenges facing the new constellation of states, challenges reflected in their political life, international relations, social and economic structures and their efforts to create new national cultures. Finally, we will treat the growing trend in the region towards authoritarian regimes in the 1930s, the physical and human devastation of World War II, and the final extinction of democracy in most of Central Europe after the war with its absorption into the Soviet empire.
- Full attendance of the seminars and field trips; collective research project; essay (undergraduate students - min. 2000 words; graduate students min. 2500 words)
- Credit value – 6 ECTS credits
doc. PhDr. Tomáš Pospíšil, Ph.D.
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