Mýty a tradice středoevropské univerzitní kultury

Title in English Myths and traditions of Central European university culture


Year of publication 2019
Type Monograph
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The aim of this historical investigation into university culture is to show continuities and discontinuities in the development of Central European universities, from their ecclesiastical origins in the Middle Ages to the challenges they face in the competitive world of advanced education today. Through the study of the so-called ‘myths’, the authors have sought to uncover those issues that have historically been important to universities in the region, particularly those in the Czech lands. As distinguished historians, however, the authors go beyond this, seeking to address the following questions: • What are these ‘continuities’ and ‘discontinuities’? • What can we learn from the terms used to describe university education and research? How have these changed from the Middle Ages, through the nineteenth century to today? • During the modern age and throughout the twentieth century, what are the drivers that have so entirely transformed the purpose and mission of universities themselves and of their faculties; and how have public expectations of universities changed? • What effects have the evolution of mass culture at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and then the rise of mass university education in the second half of the twentieth century, had on universities’ social purpose? • How have the lives of the participants in these events – the professors, readers, lecturers and other teaching staff, and, finally, the students – been affected by the changes? • Have the structures of universities remained resistant to influence from the economy and politics? • Are universities in crisis? Are their ideals and needs – their struggles for independence and autonomy, their efforts to be competitive, their search for meaningful performance criteria and their internal instability – in fact an expression of a deep crisis in which the universities find themselves today? • Isn’t it the case that all we are left with today are the ‘myths’? These may be helpful to portray the university environment of yesteryear, but where are the equivalent terms we can employ to describe universities today? ‘This is a highly topical and rewarding book, as it provides a fresh rejoinder to many foreign and domestic discussions about the past, present and future mission of universities. I very much appreciate the authors’ concluding observations on the debate about continuities and discontinuities in the social mission of universities as presently understood. In terms of method, the authors’ point of departure is the mythology that universities have used to argue their own legitimacy; to a certain extent, they continue to use it.’ From review by Professor Jiří Štaif, Charles University