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 Central European History:
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)

Central European Economic Transformation - The Road To Capitalism:
This course looks at the profound economic transformation that Central European nations have undergone since the fall of Eastern Block communism in the late 1980’s.  Students become familiar with the dramatic changes from a largely planned economy to a market-oriented economy that have made this part of the world the first to experience such a shift.  The introduction of market mechanisms, such as private property, stock and capital exchanges, market-pricing strategies, and privatization, have dramatically changed the way individuals, businesses, and the government operate.  The course utilizes several expert guest speakers to discuss the various perspectives of the huge private and governmental undertakings involved in trying to completely restructure formerly state-directed economies.  (3 credits)

European Integration - Past, Present, and Future of the EU:
This course introduces to the students the process of European integration since the establishment of the European Community in 1954 and follows the social, political, and economic integration that led to the establishment of the European Union in 1987.  The course also analyzes the most recent enlargement of the EU and its continued efforts to accept several Central European countries. A great deal of emphasis is given to discussing the difficult issues of the EU’s eastward expansion and if this further expansion will further unite Europe or will add to the existing tensions of East and West that still divide Europe.  This course also utilizes several expert guest speakers who will share their insights and theories with Dartmore students. (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)

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)

6-week Elective Courses:

Post Cold War Politics of Central Europe - A Move To The West:
This course analyzes the political shift that Central European nations have made since the fall of communism in the late 1980’s.  Now free of Soviet domination, these nations have sought to foster and strengthen their political affiliations with Western organizations such as NATO and the EU.  Their progress towards the West, and the challenges that this move creates for other European nations, is examined critically from a post September 11th perspective.  Questions such as how has Sept. 11th affected the relationship between East and West and how will NATO, the countries of Central Europe who are in NATO, and Russia fight the War on Terrorism are approached from a uniquely Central European perspective. The course also examines current threats to the newly established democratic institutions, such as the resurgence of national communist parties and the rise of neo-fascism. (2 credits)

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)

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, Schulz, 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 will seek 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)

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)

3-week Elective Courses:

Central European Jewish History - Modern Period:
This course is designed to survey the important contributions Jewish culture made in the development of a European identity throughout the last century.  The lives of leading Jewish artists, politicians, and philosophers are examined and discussed in order to create the backdrop upon which the cultural and social dynamics of Europe played out in cities, such as Prague, Vienna, and Krakow. This course is supplemented by field trips to the old Jewish neighborhoods of these three cities.  Prominent Jewish scholars are guest lecturers and add a truly personal touch to the course.  Furthermore, there are weekly field trips to important historical sites in the CR outside of Prague.  (1 credit)

Popular Culture, Mass Media, & Globalization - Their Effects on Central European Societies:
This course deals with the increasing power that the media and globalization have on the popular cultures of Central European nations.  This course evaluates the positive and negative effects of the rapid and sometimes confusing changes caused by the Internet, television, and a consumer culture imported from the West.  Other topics for discussion include the diverse opposition to globalization from human rights activists, small businesses, environmentalists, and unions, and the immediate and quick access to information and technology, with its resulting influence on individual rights and freedoms.  (1 credit)

Women and Nation: Central and Eastern Europe in a Comparative Perspective:
This course opens with reflections on different approaches to the study of gender and nationalism in general, and in Central and Eastern Europe in particular. Concentrating on the early, constitutive period of nationalism in Russia, the Czech Lands, Slovakia and Hungary, the course introduces nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe from a gender perspective. The focus is on the long nineteenth century, knowledge of which is essential for understanding later developments in the region. The role of gender aspects in the construction of national identity will be discussed, particularly the ways in which women became involved in public and national life and how they addressed national issues.  The concluding reflections address the similarities and differences in the relationship between women and nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in comparison with other regions. Discussion will be modified according to the research interests of the students. (1 credit)

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)

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