Report on the Foreign Language Programmes of the Department of Czech Literature and Literary Theory

At the beginning of the new millenium it became apparent that Czech Literary Studies should be able to offer foreign students possibilities of discovering the qualities and inspiring power of Czech culture. In the academic year 2002–2003, the Department of Czech Literature and Literary Theory accredited a new doctoral programme in German and English. Now also non-native students who are not yet fully proficient in Czech and work on improving their language skills in speaking, listening comprehension and writing can get their PhD in Czech Literature and Culture. Detailed information about this PhD Programme in German and English can be found at

In the same academic year (2002–2003), another English language programme, Czech Literature In and Out, was opened. It is mainly aimed at students in Masters Programmes of foreign universities who come to study at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University for one semester or two, and who are interested in Czech, Central European or Slavic cultures and literary criticism. More and more such students (especially on Erasmus scholarships) come to the Faculty every year and that is why a similar programme will be given in German from 2004–2005. Czech Literature In and Out includes lecture courses, short topic-oriented courses and reading courses encouraging students’ individual work. The syllabi of the courses are intentionally designed broadly; they are modified every year to meet the interests of the students, and to correspond with the teaching possibilities of the faculty from the Department, from other Czech academic institutes, and from abroad.

The themes of the Czech Literature In and Out programme cover a range of issues of modernism (Czech, German and Jewish writing of the turn of the 19th and of the first half of the 20th centuries), of the Avant-garde art and literature, of culture and literature under political and ideological constraints and, last but not least, of contemporary writing represented both by well-known personalities and by less known trends and achievements. In literary theory and criticism, the courses elaborate upon the legacy of Prague Structuralism, but some of them also draw upon different streams of theoretical thought such as feminist theory and gender studies. Course work focused on writing is accompanied by lectures and seminars on film which view literary themes and artistic streams of the 20th century from another attractive perspective.

Czech Literature In and Out has acquired a solid form, and it attracts quite a large attendance. To the teachers and Czech students, it offers possibilities of desirable comparison with foreign students’ different points of view and standards of academic work. In 2003–2004, the programme has offered 15 courses, which is relatively many given the number of faculty in the Department of Czech Literature and Literary Theory.

Translation by Eva Kalivodová