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Unit information: Introduction to Czech History and Culture in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Introduction to Czech History and Culture
Unit code RUSS10038
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chitnis
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Russian
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit, students will study the history of the Czechs chronologically from ‘Good King’ Wenceslas to President Havel. They will develop a sound introductory knowledge of key overarching themes and interpretations of Czech political and cultural history. Classes will focus on key figures, episodes or periods, including the reign of Charles IV, the early church reformer, Jan Hus, Bohemia and the Thirty Years War, the nineteenth-century National Revival, Tomáš Masaryk and the creation of Czechoslovakia, the German occupation and the Communist period. Alongside the study of competing historiographical interpretations, students will also explore works of literature, art, music and film created in a given period and/or representing it.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will

a) have a sound introductory understanding of key episodes, events and figures in Czech history.

They will also be able to

b) discuss key recurring themes, including the Czech position between East and West, Czech-German relations and the role of nationalism in shaping and interpreting Czech history.

They will also

c) have a developing knowledge of Czech culture’s relationship with Czech history and Czech national identity, and will be able to d) analyse this relationship in key texts.

Teaching Information

1 x weekly lecture, 1 x weekly seminar (split group)

Assessment Information

2000-word essay (50%) plus 2-hour exam (50%), testing ILOs a-d.

Reading and References

Karel Erben, A Bouquet of National Folk Tales (1853) Jaroslav Hašek, The Good Soldier Švejk (1921) Mary Heimann, Czechoslovakia: The State that Failed, London, 2011. Derek Sayer, The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History, Princeton, NJ, 1998. R.W.Seton-Watson, A History of the Czechs and Slovaks, London, 1943.