Poslední úprava: UAAMALAM (13.03.2009)
European culture and history. Walking through the narrow cobblestone streets of Prague is like walking on the pages of a
history book. Located in the Center of Europe - and thus - unfortunately a prized possession for many great powers
throughout history - many of Europe's major cultural, political, literary, artistic, and social developments either took place here
or had visible consequences for this city and Czechs.
This team taught course will be offered by a team of Czech professors from different disciplines: prof. Petr Bílek
(history of literature, culture, and mass media), Dr. Jan Parez (Czech and European history), and Dr. Josef Záruba (history of
Poslední úprava: UAAMALAM (13.03.2009)
Poslední úprava: UAAMALAM (13.03.2009)
Slavic roots and sentiments
Feb. 23: History (Dr. Pa?ez)
The Early Middle Ages.
The migration of "the nations": Czech or Bohemian? Great Moravia and Christianity in Bohemian lands. The P?emyslid state and the P?emyslid legacy. The Bohemian heaven: St Ludmila, St Wenceslas, St Adalbert - Myths and facts.Required reading for the whole semestr:
Hugh Agnew: The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Stanford University 2004
Mikuláš Teich (ed.): Bohemia in History, Cambridge (UK) 1998
Josef Polišenský: History of Czechoslovakia in Outline, Prague 1991
Feb. 25: Fine Arts and Music (Dr. Záruba)
Culture of the Great Moravia and Early Middle Ages in Bohemian Lands. How to distinguish the Greek and Latin Christian tradition in Fine Arts? Can we trace eastern influences or concepts in the Czech medieval Culture? Various objects and jewels from the early Middle Ages show the mixing of pagan and Christian motifs at the time of early middle Ages. This imagery served to Alfons Mucha to make his special designs at the turn of the 19th century: Alfons Mucha and his cycle "Slavic Epic" is the gift to the city of Prague (1928) and one of the most important pieces of Art Nuveau style. It shows great myths of Slavic nations and their glorification in the cycle. We will mention panslavism in Music of Antonin Dvo?ák and Leoš Janá?ek (Mša Glagolskaja, oratorio "Baptism of St. Ludmila") Main Art source on the web for the whole semester:
The Grove Dictionary of Art, .Oxford University Press 2004. On line edition: www.artnet.com
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press 2003. On line edition: www.bartleby.com/65/
Barford, P. M. , The early Slavs : culture and society in early medieval Eastern Europe. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 2001
March 2: Literature (prof. Bílek)
Mythologies and mythologizations: Ancient source of modern Czech identity
Alois Jirásek: (from) Old Czech Legends (1894). The iconic late 19th century version of the foundation story. The ideology of Czech-ness and the Hegelian concept of coherent narrative history of causes and effects.Required reading:
Alois Jirásek: (from) Old Czech Legends (1894)
Week 2 - 3
The Gothic Era: The Golden époque of Czech History March 4: History (Dr. Pa?ez)
The Bohemian Lands as the part of the Holy Roman Empire. Luxembourg dynasty and Charles IV. Gothic era from Czech and international perspective. The breaking point: the Hussite revolution - our contribution to the reforms of the Western Christianity. Warriors of God and their legacy. New "saints" - Jan Hus and Jan Žižka. Hussite King George of Pod?brady and the Jagellonian dynasty.
March 9: Fine Arts and Music (Dr. Záruba)
Saint Agnes Cloister. The History of the 14th century panel painting. We will deal with medieval symbolism in various panel paintings, Master of Hohenfurth (Vyšší Brod), Theodoricus (Theodorik) , and Wittingau (T?ebo?). We will interpret the closed grave in the Altarpiece from T?ebo? as the visual support to the transubstantiation doctrine. On the way back we will look at the entrance portal of the Tyn Church with destroyed sculptures. Required reading:
Drake-Boehm Barbara: Prague, The Crown of Bohemia. 2005, catalogue of the NY exhibition
March 11: Fine Arts and Music (Dr. Záruba)
The Czech Women The place of a woman in Art and Culture of Czechs is rather exotic for a foreign visitor. Easter whip of women is the most controversial tradition. The Myth of the Maidens war is another example supporting the female submission. This legend inspired several music compositions (Smetana, Janá?ek, Fibich) Endless examples of female allegories decorate the rooms of the National Theater. The role of woman in Art of Central Europe is explored recently in the special character of Art in medieval convent and German female mysticism. (Krone und Schleier Essen) Medieval nun was the bride of Christ, showing by faith, performance and Art the corporeal presence of Jesus. (Passionale from the St. Georg Convent (1320) and the life of St Hedwig of Silesia (1350))Required reading:
Bynum Caroline Walker, Fragmentation and Redemption. Zone Books 1992
Jeffrey F. Hamburger. The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany. New York: Zone Books, 1998.
Art lover on the throne March 16: History (Dr. Pa?ez)
Formation of the Habsburg Central European monarchy. Religious and political bipolarization of Europe. Unity of Bohemian Brethern - our way of Christianity, and its special role in our history. Prague as a center of arts and science under Rudolf II. Establishing of an unique religious tolerance in the Lands of the Crown of Bohemia and its fall in the Thirty Years War. John Amos Comenius - the Bohemian intellectual in exile.
March 18: Fine Arts and Music (Dr. Záruba)
Rudolf II and Vaclav Havel had not only the passion to the female breast in common. It is also a certain sense for perverse obscurity of the detail, often dealing with an intellectual pleasure of each particular situation. These two important figures at the Prague Castle have gathered groups of Artists with very similar esthetical ideas:
Art historians use very often the term mannerism to describe work of art by Šípek, Ji?i?ná, Pišt?k etc. as well as the pieces by Giuseppe Arcimboldo or Adrian de Vries from the time round 1600. The art was used for political purposes as well - we may explore designs of Giuseppe Arcimboldo or Bo?ek Šípek for the state occasions and conferences, or Havel's visual poetry - protesting against the political system during the communism.Required reading:
Rudolf II and Prague, Thames and Hudson, London, 1997
The Baroque Re-shaping of Europe: Modern States and Nations March 23: History (Dr. Pa?ez)
The Baroque in Europe and the Czech Lands
The Baroque absolutism of Habsburgs - decline of independence of the Bohemian Crownlands, recatholicisation, decline of Czech literature. Looking for the new Catholic identity - can we call this period the Dark Ages? Maria Theresa and Joseph II: Reforms of Enlightened absolutism.
March 25: Fine Arts and Music (Dr. Záruba)
The ornament and its refusal
We will visit the Czech Music Museum, which is former cloister church, abolished by the emperor Josef II. and The Church of Saint Nicholas at the Lesser town. Comparing the esthetics of these two spaces may bring some link to the ideas of enlightment. In the Czech Music Museum we will listen to the baroque ornamentation in music and to the classical music samples. On the way back we will look at various 19 cent. facades and we will talk about ornament in the Habsburg Empire - especially so called "Kaiserstil", and its modernist refusal. The discussion may provoke ideas on the problem of ornamentality in different cultures. Required reading:
Vlnas, Vít, The Glory of the Baroque in Bohemia. National Gallery, Prague 2001
Adolf Loss, Ornament and crime (1908) - see below
The 19th century Era of the "National Revivals": Coining Nations as Cultural Constructs March 30: History (Dr. Pa?ez)
19th century Europe and the Czech Lands
Process of emancipation of the Czech people within the Habsburg monarchy. Roots of police state in the pre-March period and after 1848. Revolutionary year 1848 in Europe, Habsburg Empire and transformation of the Czech national Revival into the political movement. Austro-Hungarian dualism of 1867: political ambitions of Czechs put on side. Industrial and cultural advancement of Czechs. Political parties before WW I.
April 1: Literature (prof. Bílek)
Czech National Revival and its Ideology
Analysis of rather quick and surprisingly successful process of construction of the Czech nation via its literature and culture. Concepts of mother tongue, homeland, and fine qualities of Czechs. Collective national identity slowly clashing with the identity of a local community and eventually also personal indenty. Required reading:
Ján Kollár: Prelude to The Daughter of Slavs
Extracts from the ideological essays on the qualities of the Czech nation
Božena N?mcová: Four Seasons
Jan Neruda: How Mr. Vorel Broke in his Meerschaum
The "slow" 19th century challenged by the quick arrival of industrialization: Modernity crisis and Modernism April 6, 8: Literature (prof. Bílek)
Franz Kafka and his generation of "men without qualities". A physical walk through the Old Town Square Area of Prague and former Jewish Quarter and a virtual walk through early 20th century literature and culture Required reading:
Gustav Meyrink: GM
Franz Kafka: The Metamorphosis, Before the Law, Passers By, On the Tram, An Old Manuscript, A Hunger Artist
Georg Simmel: Metropolis and Mental Life
Gilles Deleuze: Postscript on the Societies of ControlWeek 8 - 9
The World War I and another re-shaping of Europe: Independent Czechoslovakia established April 15: History (Dr. Pa?ez)
Tomáš G. Masaryk and his struggle for independent state in exile. Role of intellectuals in the czech history (Hus, Comenius, TGM, Havel). Czechoslovak legion in Russia, France, and Italy and its role. The idea of the Czechoslovak nation. Creation of the Czechoslovak Republik 1918, new constitution, attitude of German speaking Bohemians to the new state. Human rights of minorities in Czechoslovakia.
April 20: Fine Arts and Music (Dr. Záruba)
Birth of a True Shape
Many foreign visitors point out very strong iconic quality of avant-garde painting in Central Europe. We will try to search traces why this obsession to express the meaning of the world was so strong in abstract tendencies. The idea of cosmic birth and harmony were crucial to the work of Kupka. The sacral approach was also typical for the Czech cubism.
Vincenc Kramar, the main collector of Picasso in Czech lands was at the same time a great connoisseur of the Czech panel painting and the elder statesman of the Prague cubists. He was showing cubist tendencies in the Bohemian Medieval Art as well as in the medieval sketchbooks of Villard d´Honnencourt.Required reading:
Švácha, Rostislav, The Pyramid, the Prism and the Arc, Czech Cubist Architecture 1911 - 1923. Gallery, Prague 2001.
April 22: Literature (prof. Bílek)
Literature and Culture between the two world wars: Utopias, anti-utopias, and service to the social issues
Jaroslav Hašek: (from) The Good Soldier Švejk (chapters 1-3)
Karel ?apek: Footprint, Elegy (Footprint II), Footprints
The World War II and its consequences for Europe: Holocaust experience, Communist triumph, and the Iron curtain of Europe April 27: History (Dr. Pa?ez)
Munich Agreement 1938 and the fall of Czechoslovakia. The War years: lost belief in western democeacy, resistence hoem and abroad, holocaust. Post-war years as a prelude to Communist takeover of 1948. Red terror of 1950ies, relaxation of 1960ies and Prague Spring reforms of 1968.
April 29: Fine Arts and Music (Dr. Záruba)
Life in Terezín: The special potential of the Bohemian Jewish minority is signified by many important composers. This rich tradition at the turn of the century represented by Gustav Mahler drastically ends in the last chapter of this era- The war years in Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camps. We will listen to authentic music samples of children opera Brundibár and the Emperor of Atlantis (Krása, Ulmann) with the stage decoration by functionalist František Zelenka. We will talk about the influence of Terezín drawings on the Czech postwar Art Brut and structuralism. Required reading:
See Terezín attachment on the Blackboard Week 11 - 12
The Communist totalitarian ideology: Enforced happiness and the end of time May 4, 6, 11: Literature (prof. Bílek)
The images of life under Communism in Czech literature and pop culture. A virtual tour of Stalin's statue over Prague and a real walk through the Olšanské municipal cemeteries of Prague Required reading:
Heda Margolius-Kovály: (from) Under a Cruel Star
Bohumil Hrabal: Too Loud a Solitude (need to buy the book!!!)
Milan Kundera: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (need to buy the book!!!)
Helene Cixous: Attacks on the Castle
May 13: History (Dr. Pa?ez)
Normalisation in Czechoslovakia of 1970ies. The year 1989 in Europe. The "Velvet" Revolution
The Pos-Communist confusion: From colonialism to post-colonialism May 18: Literature (prof. Bílek)
Culture and society in the post modern world that lost its binary oppositions Required reading:
Jáchym Topol: A Trip to the Train Station
May 20: Fine Arts and Music (Dr. Záruba)
Entropa 2009 -the Czech approach towards authority
The piece of art representing the Czech EU Presidency 2009 in Brussels is a typical example of artistic approach where the virtual "typical artist" from each country is laughing at a certain stereotype. The importance of environment in a certain relation to the indifferent average is a typical feature of naturalistic social reflections. In later middle Ages this strategy was developed especially to create so called "Mahnbild" against the sins of people. Creation of allegorical figure of Mr. Noone ("Historia neminis") was linked with religious medieval Allegory. Niemand and Jederman in Art.was very much used in protestant imagery of the Dutch primitives. It became again popular in the social tendencies of Fine Arts - where the average is often depicted as the victim of social condition.