This is the tentative cirruculum for History 290: Selected Topics: From the Neolithic to the New Republic. This course is recommended for students with a general interest in the history of the region and those who are principally interested in exploring the culture and society of the Czech Republic.
Instructor: Dr. John P. Staeck, Associate Professor of Anthropology, College of DuPage.
Selected Topics in History: From the Neolithic to the New Republic: A Survey of Czech History and Culture
(5 credit hours)
A survey of the development of societies in central Europe with a special focus on the area of the Moravian Gate. This major transportation corridor links societies founded on Baltic coast resources and conditions with those founded on the resources and conditions of the northern Adriatic. The connecting territories have traditionally been cross-roads for economic, political, social, and military change as demonstrated by archaeological and historical sources. At the center of the Moravian Gate lies what today is known as the Czech Republic, once known as Czechoslovakia, and previously known as Moravia and Bohemia. This course pieces together the long histories of change that have shaped the modern world we see today. (2 lecture hours, 1 discussion hour, 3+ field hours)
Students will explore course issues through lecture, field visits to cultural centers, and discussions with Czech scholars and students. They will also see the development of social groups and societies firsthand through participation in the joint Czech-American archaeological explorations at Rmiz near Laskov, a site containing substantial archaeological and historical material from the past 6,000 years. This methodology will be supported by a collection of readings specially selected for the purposes of this course by American and Czech scholars (all readings will be in English). Evaluation will be based on participation in course activities including discussions and question-answer sessions, maintenance of a journal recording personal as well as cultural experiences and a preparation of a final critical essay.
Course Objectives Include:
To introduce students to the general, often repetitive, trends associated with controlling access to this strategic location
To familiarize students with major historic figures and events associated with the study area.
To illustrate the changing nature of cultural, political, social, and economic change in the study area brought about by the fall of the Soviet Block
To inculcate students with Czech cultural ideals and views of their world
Course Topics Include:
The rise and spread of domestication in the region
The advent of the Iron Age and spread of Celtic and Indo-European culture in the region
The transition to Christianity and the founding of early Medieval polities
The inclusion of Moravia in the Holy Roman Empire and its significance
The rise of early Modern states
The Napoleonic era and the rise of Prague as a European central place
The World Wars in Central Europe
Life with the Soviet Sphere
New Horizons and the New Republic
Students completing this course should have:
developed competency with the general geographic and material issues related to the study area
developed competency in the general cultural evolution and historic sequences associated with the study area
familiarity with and basic competency in Czech, especially Moravian, perspectives on the world and society
competence in distinguishing between and working with document-oriented, interview-based, and material-based historical approaches to the past
Increased personal confidence and self-reliance as a function of their international and cross-cultural experiences.