In the past century, Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland have been transformed from provinces of a multiethnic empire into a series of small successor states whose experience went from independence to Nazi occupation and communist dictatorship and back again. Today, they are members of NATO and the European Union. These three regions, with their dynamic and at times unstable population mixture of Germans, Slavs, Magyars, and Jews, embodied the tension between nationalism and cosmopolitanism, tolerance and intolerance, the persistence of tradition and the exuberance of modernity. Our course will treat the histories of the countries and cultures, the people who lived those histories and the literature, music, and art that gave voice to those tensions. In addition, we will consider the appropriation and transformation of history through memory and memorialization in the present. The course is strongly recommended for participants in a summer 2009 program in Prague and Kraków, but is open to all students.
- Teacher: James Wald