For visual arts and theater studio work, background in the area of study is required. Students enrolling in creative writing must be majors or minors in English or creative writing. For all students, previous survey courses in European history or arts history are recommended, but not required.
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The interdisciplinary coursework for the Czech Republic: Arts and Social Change program focuses on the complex cultural history of the Czech lands and the lasting impact of communism on Czech society. Students participate in intensive language instruction and field-based activities that offer unique insight into twentieth-century Czech society and culture and the challenges facing the long-celebrated Czech tradition in the visual and performing arts, film, and photography. During the final month of the semester, students leverage their field study experience and research skills to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) that critically examines a topic related to the program theme. Students have the option to produce creative work for their independent study, such as painting, sculpture, photography, or writing a short story or theater script inspired by their experience and studies of Czech arts and society.
Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Czech History, Arts, and Civil Society I – syllabus
(EURO 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course examines Czech society and national identity in historical and contemporary contexts through visual and performing arts, film, and literature. The seminar is built around the rich and well-known intersection of arts, politics, and social change in Czech post-war history and the legacy of communism as it plays out in cultural expression and institutions today. The seminar includes required readings and lectures, as well as discussions, film screenings, music and dance performances, and site visits to artists’ studios, theaters, NGOs, and community centers.
Research Methods and Ethics in the Arts – syllabus
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
A course in qualitative research methods focused on learning across cultures and from field experience and includes topics such as cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; appropriate methodologies; field study ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; maintaining a work journal. The course introduces arts-based research (ABR) methods in which the creation and analysis of art is utilized as primary mode of qualitative inquiry. Students review the different kinds of arts-based research methods (narrative, poetic, dance, and visual forms of inquiry, for example), the debates surrounding the use of arts-based methodologies, and gain practical experience for integrating creative work in a social science research contexts, which may be used in the Independent Study Project.
Czech – syllabus
(CZEC 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Students are placed in beginning classes.
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Prague or in another approved location appropriate to the project in the Czech Republic, Poland, or Slovakia. Projects may include a creative or artistic component in the visual and performing arts or creative writing. Sample topic areas: alternative theaters in the Czech regions; Czech cubist architecture and design; legacy of Czech underground music; Roma ethnic and cultural identity; sustainable development in North Bohemia; the former Sudetenland today; Slovak weaving traditions.
In addition to taking the above-listed courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:
Czech History, Arts, and Civil Society II: Creativity in Context – syllabus
(EURO/ARTS 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course provides a deeper analysis of the development of democracy and civil society following the end of communism, with an emphasis on the nexus of contemporary politics and civic initiatives where the arts and creativity are key components for impelling social change. The course is introduced with a workshop dedicated to ways in which we read and analyze art and examines the position of art and creativity in contemporary society in the context of Czech history. The seminar includes readings, lectures, and roundtable discussions on the evolution and defining characteristics of civil society in the Czech Republic today; as well as visits to NGOs and festivals and with former dissidents and activists engaged with topics such as youth support, alternative culture, human rights, or the integration of social and ethnically-marginalized groups. The class provides firsthand observation and analysis of the social legacy of communism and critical issues in Czech and post-socialist European society today.
Arts Studio – syllabus
(ARTS 2000/3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course is geared toward students in the visual and performing arts and literature and requires independent studio work in inter-media visual arts, digital photography, dance/ physical theater, or creative writing. The objective is to connect students more deeply to artists and projects related to their field of study, through a combination of studio work, site visits, and personal discussions with Czech artists. Creative writing students work under the guidance of a Czech writer. Inter-media visual arts and photography students as well as dance students work in a studio setting with established artists and dance instructors. Please note that inter-media studio and photography students do not work long hours in a physical studio or darkroom, as may be required for more conventional studio courses at their homeschools, but rather work conceptually, in the field, developing ideas for possible in-depth exploration during the ISP period. Depending on the student’s area of focus, attendance at theater or dance performances, reviewing visual arts exhibitions, or readings in contemporary Czech literature will be required.
The course culminates in a presentation of student work-in-progress, including a visual arts exhibition, a performance, and literary readings.
The choice of focus for the course must be requested at the time of application. For inter-media arts, photography, and dance studio work, a basic course or background in the area of study is required. Students enrolling in creative writing must have completed at least one course in fiction writing or poetry. Students are enrolled at the 2000 level or 3000 level with additional course requirements, if the course is in the student's major.
Browse this program's Independent Study Projects / Undergraduate Research.