Czech & Slovak Studies

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From the early 1950's, the University of Michigan has been a leading center for the study of Czech and Slovak culture, history, language, and politics. Over the years, U-M broadened its reputation in Czech and Slovak studies by organizing a range of activities including issuance of Cross Currents, a yearbook of Central European civilization, history, literature, and politics, published by Michigan Slavic Publications and featuring the works of Václav Havel, Milan Kundera, Josef Skvorecky, and others.

Czech and Slovak studies at U-M emphasizes cross-disciplinary training in anthropology, art, economics, film, history, literature, linguistics, and sociology. In 2000, the Slavic Department inaugurated annual Czech studies workshops for junior scholars from across the U.S.; six have been held at U-M. CREES regularly features Czech and Slovak culture and history in its lectures and other programs.

Thanks to a generous five-year gift from Ronald Weiser, U.S. ambassador to Slovakia from 2001-04, and his wife, Eileen Lappin Weiser, interest in Slovak studies has grown significantly since 2004. From 2004-08, the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Awards for Student Research and Internships in Slovakia Program supported U-M student travel awards for summer or semester-long research projects or internships in Slovakia. During the same period, the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professional Development Award Program supported short-term travel awards to U-M and Slovak scholars and artists to stimulate sustained collaboration in research and teaching. Following a major gift from the Weisers in 2008 to fund European and Eurasian studies at U-M, these programs have been included in other CREES and Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia grant programs for U-M students, U-M faculty, and Slovak scholars and artists.

People

CREES faculty and research associates from a range of disciplines and professional fields pursue research and teaching on Czech and Slovak topics. For more information, see CREES People.

University of Michigan Faculty

Cheek, Timothy:  Music, Theatre & Dance
Eagle, Herbert J.:  Slavic Languages & Literatures, Residential College
Gitelman, Zvi Y.:  Political Science, Judaic Studies
Grzymala-Busse, Anna:  Political Science
Herscher, Andrew:  Architecture & Urban Planning, Slavic Languages & Literatures
Lemon, Alaina:  Anthropology
Mrazek, Rudolf:  History
Paloff, Benjamin:  Slavic Languages & Literatures, Comparative Literature
Pasek, Ewa:  Slavic Languages & Literatures
Porter-Szucs, Brian:  History
Poskovic, Endi:  Art & Design
Spector, Scott:  Germanic Languages & Literatures, History
Toman, Jindrich:  Slavic Languages & Literatures
Zirbes, Georgette:  Art & Design

CREES Research Associates

Berglund, Bruce R.:  History, Calvin College
Deegan-Krause, Kevin:  Political Science, Wayne State University
McConnell, Lauren:  Communications and Dramatic Arts, Central Michigan University

Academics

Students can specialize in Czech and/or Slovak studies within interdisciplinary undergraduate minor, bachelor's, master's, and graduate certificate programs in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. In the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, they may pursue an undergraduate minor in Czech language, literature, and culture and Czech-related master's and doctoral degrees. Students may also emphasize Czech and/or Slovak topics in bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in anthropology, business, comparative literature, economics, history, law, music, natural resources, political science, public policy, and sociology.

Courses

The University of Michigan offers a variety of courses on Czech and/or Slovak culture, film, history, language, literature, politics, and society (see below). For offerings in specific terms, see CREES courses.

Study Abroad: Through the Center for Global and Intercultural Study, U-M students can earn in-residence credit for semester- or academic-year study at Charles University's Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education (CERGE) in Prague.

  • First, Second, and Third Year Czech Language
  • Czech 315 - The Czech New Wave and its Legacy
  • Czech 480 - Supervised Czech Reading
  • Czech 484 - Modern Czech Literature
  • Economics 453 - The European Economy
  • History 318 - Europe in the Era of Total War: 1870-1945
  • History 319 - Europe Since 1945
  • History 652 - Studies in East European History
  • History 698 - Race/Ethnicity in Modern Europe
  • International Business 568 - Business Issues in Transitional Economies
  • Political Science 342 - Eastern Europe: Revolution, Reaction and Reform
  • REEES 396 - Survey of Central and Eastern Europe and the Enlarged European Union
  • REEES 397 - Communism and Capitalism in Eastern Europe
  • Slavic 151 - First Year Seminar (e.g., Prague: The Magic City)
  • Slavic 225 - Arts and Cultures of Central Europe
  • Slavic 290 - Studies in Eastern European Cultures
  • Slavic 312 - Central European Cinema
  • Slavic 490 - Issues of the Cultures of Eastern Europe (e.g., Czech Film; Dangerous Words and Songs: 20th Century Czech Songs of Resistance; Music
  • Literature and Politics: The Unbearable Lightness of Czech Arts & Politics)
  • Study Abroad 332 - CGIS: Undergraduate Program in Central European Studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
  • VoiceLit 504 - Slavic Song Literature

Funding

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Awards for Student Research and Internships in Slovakia and Professional Development Awards (2004-08)

In 2004, Ronald Weiser, U.S. ambassador to Slovakia from 2001-04, and his wife, Eileen Lapin Weiser, made a five-year pledge to fund The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Slovakia-University of Michigan Collaboration. Under the auspices of this generous gift, The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Awards for Student Research and Internships in Slovakia supported U-M student travel awards for summer or semester-long research projects or internships at institutions, businesses and other organizations in the Slovak Republic. The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professional Development Awards supported short-term travel awards designed to stimulate sustained collaboration in research and teaching; with travel grants made available to U-M and Slovak scholars and artists to explore projects in any field of research or teaching at the University of Michigan. 

Recipients of Weiser Awards for Student Research and Internships (now part of the CRIF Program)

2007
Laura Hilburn (History PhD)

2006
Brett Bielory (Organizational Studies undergraduate)
Anna Cichopek (History PhD)
Adam Courtman (REES MA)
Laura Hilburn (History PhD)
Justin Joque (History/Arts and Ideas undergraduate)
Bertrand Metton (REES MA)
Zachary Riback (Political Science undergraduate)
Derek Richardson (Medicine)
Amanda Simanek (Public Health MPH)

2005
Jonathan Gotfried (Organizational Studies undergraduate)
Ryan Vlcko (Classics undergraduate)

2004
Michael Bates (History undergraduate)
Anna Cichopek (History PhD)
Rebecca Eisen (Organizational Studies undergraduate)
Jonathan Larson (Anthropology PhD)
Jenny Lee (Law)
Deborah Michaels (REES Graduate Certificate/Education PhD)
Charles Sabatos (Comparative Literature PhD)

Recipients of Weiser Professional Development Awards (now WCEE Faculty Grants and Weiser Professional Development Awards)

2008
U-M Faculty Awardee:
Dan Lebovic, M.D. (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology)

Slovak Faculty Awardees:
Maria Chmelova (National Health Information Center)
Peter Krcho (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, University of Pavol Joseph Safarik, Kosice)
Maria Oriskova (Department of Art History and Theory, Academy of Fine Arts and Design)
Daniel Starek (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Slovak Technical University)
Ivica Vidrova (Department of Ceramics, Academy of Fine Arts and Design)
    Affinities/Podobnosti, an exhibition with Georgette Zirbes (Oct 31-Dec 5, 2008)

2007
U-M Faculty Awardees:
Matthew Biro (Department of History of Art)
Steven Donn, M.D. (Department of Pediatrics)
Jindrich Toman (Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures)
Georgette Zirbes (School of Art & Design)

Slovak Faculty Awardees:
Peter Blesak (Slovak University of Technology)
Dagmar Kopcanova (Research Institute for Child Psychology and Pathopsychology)
Gabriel Piricky (Slovak Academy of Sciences)

2006
U-M Faculty Awardees:
Frank Filisko (Department of Materials Sciences and Engineering)
Lawrence Perlman (Department of Psychiatry)
Jennifer Zhao (Department of Mathematics, U-M Dearborn)

Slovak Faculty Awardees:
Jana Flochova (Institute of Computer Systems and Networks, Slovak University of Technology)
Viera Rybarova (Language Department, Academy of Music and Performing Arts)
Hana Smitkova (Department of Psychology, Comenius University)

2005
U-M Faculty Awardees:
Steven Donn, M.D. (Department of Pediatrics)
Jeffrey Freeman, M.D. (Department of Emergency Medicine)

Slovak Faculty Awardees:
David Carsky (Academy of Fine Arts and Design)
Erich Mistrik (Faculty of Education, Comenius University)
Daniela Ostatnikova (Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University)

More information on Weiser Professional Development Awardees: U-M Faculty, Slovak Faculty Awardees

Events

For complete information about Czech and Slovak studies events, please visit the CREES Events Calendar. You may also sign up for our email or U.S. mail notifications.

Selected Major Czech Events

Supporting Czech and Slovak Studies at the University of Michigan

Gifts to the CREES Endowment will support Czech and Slovak-focused seminars, symposia, travel for scholars, special courses, as well as student awards for research and internships in the region. Please review the various options for making a gift.

For more information, contact Marysia Ostafin by email (mostafin@umich.edu) or phone (734.647.2237).