Prague, Czech Republic
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Course Information

Prague, Czech Republic | 2017 Summer Sessions I & II

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.


Taught in English
You will enroll in three to five credits per session, plus one additional credit if enrolled in the optional Vienna and Budapest Field Study. At least one 3-credit course is required each summer session. Course availability is contingent upon student interest and enrollment and is subject to change. Please visit the USAC website for complete course descriptions and prerequisites.

Session I

Session II

To request a course syllabus:

Field studies

Deepen your academic experience by turning the optional Vienna and Budapest Tour into a 1-credit field study by completing additional academic requirements (readings, research, written assignments, reports, etc.). Students who choose the field study option will select a particular topic of interest that relates to the history and culture of the region visited and prepare a research paper. Potential field study research topics include: the political history, literature, or art of Central Europe, international relations or European unification.

U.S. Professors

Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following U.S. professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.

Session I:

Dr. Aidan Forth, Loyola University Chicago

Course offered:

Dr. Forth (Ph.D., Stanford) employs a comparative and interdisciplinary lens to understand the history of modern Europe, Britain, and their empires. He is interested in violence, humanitarianism, globalization, and imperial domination. His forthcoming book charts the birth of modern refugee and concentration camps and explores the cultural, medical and humanitarian challenges that they posed.

Session II:

Dr. Jennifer Wilking, California State University, Chico

Course offered:

Dr. Wilking's interest in comparative politics was largely inspired by her love of travel. After teaching English in China for two years, she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science to study Chinese village elections. She looks forward to continuing to combine her work and passion for living and traveling abroad.

Course Descriptions

Alternative Culture, Literature, Music, and Lifestyles

Summer Session I (Anthropology, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

Provides critical insights into graffiti, street-art, underground, punk, hip-hop, psychedelia, alterglobalization movement, etc. Multidisciplinary perspectives of cultural, literary, and media studies are explored. Seminal readings on subcultures 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.

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Czech Cinema - Image and Memory

Summer Session II (Art, Film; 300-level; 3 credits)

The aim of the course is to show the most important trends and moments in the history of Czech cinematography and also to put the films within their historical, political and cultural context. The topics are not in a chronological order because the “reverse motion” arrangement helps to illustrate some specific aspects in the development of Czech cinematography. Historical facts and artistic and theoretical (respectively ideological) ideas are explained using specific examples from the history of Czech cinema. During the course students will watch selected feature films in their entirety (with English subtitles or commentary) or there will be short examples illustrating the topic discussed. Students will read the texts required for each lesson and discuss them in the class. Lively discussion is expected. Students should ask anything that is not clear enough, bring their own ideas, and participate actively in the programme of the course. Part of each lesson is dedicated to film work of Jan Švankmajer. Taught in English.

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From Medieval to Contemporary: Exploring the Great Art and Architecture of Prague

Summer Session I (Architecture, Art; 300-level; 3 credits)

The course is an introductory survey of styles, trends and movements focusing on the fine arts and architecture in Prague and Czech Lands against the background of European influences. It covers the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque times, 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). Tours, field trips and visits to museums and galleries are a substantial part of the course.

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Gender and Post-Socialist Transformation in Central Europe

Summer Session II (Sociology, Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 400-level; 1 credit)

The social and personal stories of women and men in East Central Europe and post-Soviet space took an unexpected turn after the Cold War. Globalization hand in hand with the return to the “natural” order of things after 1989 also brought human trafficking, prostitution and pornography, sexism in the media and advertising, domestic violence, feminization of poverty, small reproductive choices, shortage of state supported childcare and other disadvantages. What has the transition brought for men other than the end of conscription? What are the changes in the reproductive patterns and cohabitation? Gay, lesbian and transgender issues will be discussed alongside with women’s and men’s issues. Documentaries of the Open Society Fund Gender Montage and other visual materials, field trips, international conferences attendance are a part of this course. (Session II)

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Great Czech Writers

Summer Session II (English; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course will explore the development of Czech literature in the modern era, from the National Revival to the present time. It will focus on the study of seminal texts by major Czech novelists of the twentieth century and on the representation of personal and historical experience in fiction. As well as primary texts – Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk, Kafka's The Trial, Hrabal's Too Loud a Solitude, Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Topol's City Sister Silver City - the course will introduce students to a broad selection of Czech literature and explore the cultural and historical contexts of its production. The course will feature guest lectures by Czech authors.

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Introduction to Czech Language I

Summer Session I (Czech; 200-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Czech; 200-level; 1 credit)

This course is designed to introduce you to the Czech language and to provide skills for basic communication. The instructor supervises model conversations as well as real conversational situations during walks in the Old Town. Students with previous knowledge of the Czech language attend the advanced module of this course, read short articles in local newspapers, and do independent research on the social and cultural life of Czech society.

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Introduction to Czech Language II

Summer Session II (Czech; 200-level; 1 credit)

A continuation of Introduction to Czech Language I. (Session II)

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Modern Central European and Czech Politics

Summer Session II (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course is designed for students interested in learning about the political change in Central Europe after 1989 and the present political developments of the Czech Republic. Students will compare recent economic theories and develop a research project focused on political, economic and social issues. Special attention is paid to the contemporary state of political parties, the Parliament and the government. For this purpose, students regularly read articles and other materials published in English. Relevant information about socio-economic life (incomes, prices, housing policy, etc.) is an important part of the course. This course includes visits to Prague's policy-making institutions (visit to the Parliament and discussions with deputies), companies and factories. Enrollment in the Vienna and Budapest Field Studies course is recommended.

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Open Borders? European Union and Refugee Response

Summer Session II (Political Science; 300-level; 3 credits)

Can Europe’s borders remain open in the midst of terrorist threats? Why are some countries accepting of refugees and others not? How do rightist parties affect the willingness of countries to accept refugees? The politics and economics of the European Union are regularly featured in the headlines. We will use contemporary issues to explore both the history and institutions of the European Union, as well as core concepts in International Relations and Comparative Politics. Topics will be adjusted accordingly for salience.

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Politics in Europe’s New Democracies

Summer Session I (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course addresses two central challenges facing Europe's post-Communist countries: how to achieve consolidated democracy and how to transition from planned to capitalist market economies. Government performance in these areas varies considerably: The Czech Republic has achieved a vibrant, high-performing democracy and a robust market economy. However, other countries have returned to authoritarian government and economic stagnation. This course explores the particular political and economic characteristics influencing new democracies' performance. We will address the Czech case first, but we will continue on to explore the dynamics helping or hindering political and economic development in a wide variety of European countries.

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Refugee and Concentration Camps: A Global History of Confinement

Summer Session I (History, Holocaust / Genocide / Peace Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)

Refugee and concentration camps are emblems of the modern world. From the camps of 19th-century colonialism to Soviet and Nazi concentration camps, to more contemporary detention centers for refugees fleeing Syria and political prisoners in the War on Terror, this course explores the diverse manifestations and underlying logic of forced encampment. Why have modern states across the ideological spectrum used camps to accommodate and control real and perceived enemies and “undesirables”? We examine the deep roots of the camp in 19th-century European politics and society, while exploring the global dimensions of the camp today. With a transnational and comparative lens, we examine memoirs, film, and theoretical and historical scholarship to explore the diverse manifestations of concentration and refugee camps over the past two centuries. The class will take a field trip to the Terezín camp memorial and explore local sites relating to the history of exclusion and mass detention.

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Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change

Summer Session I (Environmental Science, Political Science; 200-level; 3 credits)

The course will include background information on the phenomenon of climate change, how the science is characterized, the impact to life on earth from such changes, and, most importantly, solutions to the challenges of climate change. Exercises will include the review of data, the consideration of models that describe impacts, and the development of plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The course is designed for non-science majors of all academics areas.

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The Global Food Challenge

Summer Session I (Agriculture, Environmental Science, Nutrition; 200-level; 3 credits)

Food is central to our lives; and this in many more ways than the action of eating to sustain body and brain. Food is embedded in culture and acts as a strong binding link in families and societies and even between societies as food products and recipes travel the world. More importantly, what is less known is that food production and consumption stand at the crossroad of the big world challenges that humanity faces: hunger, poverty, energy, environment, climate change and population growth. Finally, access to food is a condition to the political stability of a country as mass demonstrations against high food prices (known as ‘food riots’) have showed in recent years.

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The Holocaust:Twentieth-Century Jewish Studies

Summer Session II (History, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course covers the history of Jewish communities in Central Europe since the 12th century. However, it focuses mainly on 20th century events: the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the evolution of succession states and the condition of Jews in each of them, the spread of fascism in Europe and the post-war situation. We will also focus on particular aspects of modern Jewish thought and post-Holocaust theology, the relationship between Judaism and Christianity after the Holocaust and historical aspects of Jewish Prague and Central European Jewry. We will also delve into the "Philosophy of Judaism", and reflect on such luminaries as the American religious thinker Abraham Jehoschua Heschel, philosophers of traditional Judaism, like Buber, Rosenzweig as well as Karl Marx and the French philosopher Jacques Derrida.

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Travel Photography

Summer Session I (Art, Journalism; 200-level; 1 credit)

A camera is really an excuse to delve deeper into a place than we otherwise would. Looking for a good shot forces us to seek out the unique features and scenic beauty of a location, to explore further, and to interact with our surroundings. Taking pictures is also a very accessible art form. With a little thought and effort, you can create captivating images of your own creation and interpretation.

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Twentieth-Century History of Central Europe

Summer Session I (History; 400-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session I (History; 600-level; 3 credits)

The course will provide the students with basic knowledge of the Modern Central European political, social and cultural history. For practical reasons, the course will primarily use the example of the Czech history in order to stimulate independent reflection of another culture, seemingly familiar yet very different from that of the students. It will compare and contrast the Czech modern experience with the histories of other Central European countries, which all historically shared the same fate of small nations between two large historical rivals, Germany in the West and Russia in the East. An integral part of the class will be several field trips.

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Vienna and Budapest Field Study

Summer Session I (Czech; 400-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Czech; 400-level; 1 credit)

Students will gain an introduction to the culture and civilization of Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, both in historical and contemporary social and politics perspectives. A fee of $430 is charged to cover transportation, lodging, lectures and entrance to museums.

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