Dartmore Institue - Spend a semester study abroad in Prague, the heart of Central Europe
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Course Descriptions

Core courses:

Religion, Culture, and Politics of Central Europe:
The aim of the course is to provide an inter-disciplinary academic discussion of the role of religion, spirituality, and family dynasties in the culture and politics of Central Europe from the 15th to 18th century. It analyses the political and socio-cultural changes in individual countries throughout the region and highlights the pressures of competing religions, the emergence of new religious movements, and the role that the Holy Roman Empire and the Hapsburg Dynasty played in creating and recreating the national identities of the region. The course begins by examining the Hussite religious uprisings in Bohemia in 1419. Then it explores the effects of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on the institutional and political structure of Christianity and the emergence of a Protestant movement. It then moves to the ramifications of the 30 Years War (1618 – 1648), as Protestant and Catholic states vied for control of Germany and Bohemia and sought to control the religious and political institutions of Central Europe. It ends with the defeat of Austria in Seven Year War in 1763 and the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 at the hands of Napoleon and his army.
(3 credits)

19th & 20th Century History of Central Europe:
This course builds on the foundation laid in the course: Religion, Culture, and Politics of Central Europe. Throughout the 19th & 20th centuries, the political and territorial borders of the region have changed a multitude of times as the area has been subject to pressure exerted upon it by Germans and Russians. This course offers an analysis of the time period from the revolutions of 1848 through to the revolutions of 1989 and speculates freely as to the meaning of the most recent historical period covering the break up of Czechoslovakia, the unification of Germany and the shifting political landscapes of Austria, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia. The class seeks to understand the role of ideas in history and the social milieu that gave birth to them by pairing historical texts with artistic works. Attention is paid to fostering an understanding and appreciation of the multi cultural and ethnically diverse people that live at Europe's Center and to attain a feeling for what unites Austria, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary and what differentiates them. Sources include literary works and film. (3 credits)

The Central European City as a Work of Art:
This course examines Central European culture, art and architecture through the magnificent history of Prague and other cities that the students visit during the semester. The course has theoretical, historic and contemporary elements. Students visit several permanent and temporary exhibitions in various museums and galleries throughout the course. An in-depth examination of architecture is a focal point of this course. The majority of the course is spent experiencing Prague’s incredible architectural wealth and historical treasures, which are a museum in their own right. The narrow, winding streets of Europe’s most beautiful capital is, for the most part, the students’ classroom. (3 credits)

History of Baroque Art & Architecture:
This course reviews the Baroque period, an era in the history of the Western arts roughly coinciding with the 17th century and chronologically following the Renaissance period. The main focus is on manifestations of this art period that emerged in Central Europe, especially in Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and Berlin. Great attention is also give to the role of the Catholic church in the development and sponsorship of art during this period. Some of the qualities most frequently associated with the Baroque are grandeur, sensuous richness, drama, vitality, movement, tension, emotional exuberance, and a tendency to blur distinctions between the various arts. All of these qualities are made clear to the students through a series of lectures, visits to museums and galleries, and walking tours of Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and other trips throughout the region. Through these trips, students also become more familiar with artists and architects indicative of the Baroque period. (3 credits)

History of Central European Art – 1800 to 1950:
The purpose of this course is to present the students with the main concepts and developments of art in Central Europe from 1800 to 1950. This course provides a chronological and thematic approach to the art of this period and the region. The goal is to develop students’ visual analytical skills, historical knowledge and understanding of how visual culture functions in different historical periods through a series of lectures, seminars, gallery visits and discussion classes. The debate between Classicism and Romanticism will be considered as a conflict between different audience expectations as to the nature and function of art. This was the moment when competing artistic ideologies or 'movements' took an explicit political and social dimension. Then the focus of the course moves to the emergence of Realism and Impressionism and the birth of new methods of representing the world in terms of the changes that were taking place in society in the mid-late 19th century. Finally, the course examines how Modern art became an explosive force against the oppression of artistic and social assumptions often blindly accepted until then. Great attention is placed on Modern art movements, their conceptual nature and how they were purposeful, directed and programmed from the very start. (3 credits)

A Central European Journal - Experiences, Thoughts, and Feelings:
The goal of this course is to engage the students’ Central European experience through a wide range of cultural and social activities, readings and lectures on a variety of topics and issues. At the beginning of the course, students are given a schedule of events, readings and lectures to guide them in their discovery process. Different instructors, guest lecturers and artists lead field trips inside and outside of the Czech Republic. Students, in consort with their peers and the course instructor, create a subject journal to describe, analyze, and critique their experiences as preparation for a final paper. By keeping written responses to lectures, various cultural and social events, background readings, students are engaged actively in searching for the main ideas contained in them. The 10 – 12 page final paper expresses the student’s ideas about three related topics as informed by class lectures, readings, field trips, and personal experience. Students are expected to demonstrate both a clear understanding of the concepts and information presented in the readings, lectures and discussions on each topic. Students are also expected to reflect on their own personal situation, their beliefs and their values in forming their responses to the issues presented. (3 credits)

Art & Architecture Art, Architecture and Ideology - Rises and Falls of Visual Culture under the Totalitarian Regime:
In the late 1940’s the governments of Central European states such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary came under the sphere of Soviet influence. The communist ideals and values these states espoused impacted greatly the artistic expression of its peoples. The first half of the course explores the inter-dependency of communist ideology and art disciplines and architectural developments from the 1940’s to 1989. The second half surveys the immense changes the fall of communism has brought in art and architecture, including the rise of mass media and the Internet as vehicles of change. The course is supplemented by field trips to galleries, museums, and other landmarks, including those now somewhat forgotten from the communist era. (3 credits)

6-week Elective Courses:

Visual Culture of Central Europe:
This course explores the pictorial content/subject matter of still and moving images for mass consumption, and how both the construction and presentation of this content influences audience response to and interepretation of contemporary issues.  This course provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to analyze and interepret media images within the framework and context of the agenda set by the image makers and commisioning agents. Special attention is given to how these images are presented in the context of a post-communist Central Europe and how the agenda set by image makers and commisioning agents is similar and different to the perceived agenda of their home culture.  This course is in a lecture/seminar format in which students are given practical as well as theorectical assignments.There are slide presentations and video presentations to support the cotent of the lectures.  The course also includes several field trips in Prague, and other class assignments while students are outside of Prague participating in other program filed trips. (2 credits)

Masterpieces of Central European Classical Music:
This introductory course instills in students a basic appreciation and comprehension of the many forms of Western classical music. It also helps them understand the variety of Western musical idioms expressed throughout Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including the Modern period. The chronological analysis enables students to better understand the various debates about the character and purposes of classical music that have occupied composers and musical thinkers since ancient times. The course involves students actively in the process of critical listening, both in the classroom and in concerts that the students attend and write about. The incredible variety and richness of musical life in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, are therefore integral parts of the course. Students are introduced to the masterpieces of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Dvorak, and Wagner, among others. (2 credits)

Contemporary Short Stories and Short Novels of Central Europe:
It can easily be argued that to understand a culture properly, one must read with sympathy the literature of that culture. The literary tradition of Central Europe is a rich and powerful tapestry. Students are introduced to this glorious literary tradition of Central Europe and will explore the world of Kafka, Hrabal, Musil, Schiltz, Milosz and other literary stars. Students have the unique opportunity to view the constellation of these great thinkers in the context in which they created their seminal works. This course seeks to make understandable to all the preconditions for literary invention and to promote both interaction with, and a close reading of, important works of art. (2 credits)

3-week Elective Courses:

Modern Central European Film – A Visual Journey Around Central Europe:
It can be argued that the medium of film is the most important vehicle for the dissemination of ideas in the 21st century. Weekly class discussions and film screenings focus primarily on films created in the Czech Republic and Poland, but are also oriented towards the ways in which the film-making tradition in Europe is distinct. Students explore the works of such famous directors as Mencel, Hrebejk and Sverak, Vajda and Klieskowski, as well as the collaborative efforts of certain authors and their film counterparts. One film is screened each week, and students meet both actors and directors, and also attend the cinema as a class. (1 credit)

Special Topics in Art History:
This course uses a tutorial model to give students the opportunity to specialize and personalize their study. Students, along with guidance from the Dartmore student advisor, choose from topics covered in the Arts & Architecture program or topics not covered in the course offerings. Students match their personal and academic interests to a specialized field of expertise and develop their ideas under the sponsorship of an institute professor. Possible courses include: Contemporary Czech Art, Philosophy of Art, Media Studies, Curatorial Studies, the Business of Art, and Art Criticism. (1 credit)

Special Topic in Humanities:
This course uses a tutorial model to give students the opportunity to specialize and personalize their study. Students, along with guidance from the Dartmore student advisor, choose from topics covered in the Arts & Architecture program or topics not covered in the course offerings. Students match their personal and academic interests to a specialized field of expertise and develop their ideas under the sponsorship of an institute professor. Possible courses include: Survey of Czech Films, Survey of Contemporary Central European Literature, Modern Czech Aesthetics, Central European Jewish History: Modern Period. (1 credit)

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