CZ

Revealing Histories: Polish Cinema

Explores the films of four famous Polish directors – Andrzej Wajda, Andrzej Munk, Krzysztof Kieœlowski, and Agnieszka Holland – whose artistic approaches and ethical/political themes greatly influenced Polish and European cinema as well as Polish politics. Through viewing their movies and consulting biographical, historical, and critical materials, we’ll examine how these directors use film to reconstruct history, challenge politically or religiously orthodox myths, and suggest new ways of valuing the complexity and spiritual capacities of the individual. All texts in English translation.

Trauma and Nostalgia: East European Film in the 21st Century

Examines the major thematic focus of East European filmmakers in the 21st century: their efforts to reconstruct and reassess the experience of the Cold War (1945-1989) and the Yugoslav wars (1991-1995). These films from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Croatia, and Serbia include ironic/sentimental tales of Cold War childhood, thrillers about sleeping with the enemy (political informers), and psychological dramas centering on political trauma, resistance, and compromise. All films shown with English subtitles. No prerequisites. One course.

Borderland and Battleground: A Journey Through Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe

Explores through history, film, fiction, and memoirs the “extreme” political experience, hybrid ethnic identities, and stunning art and testimony of twentieth-century Central and Eastern European cultures, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Traces the emergence of new nation states in the region at the end of World War I, the rise of Nazism and Stalinism, the devastating experience of World War II, and the absurdist mix of politics and daily life in Eastern Europe from 1945 until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

City Stops Between Europe and Asia: From Prague to Kabul

Explores the multi-layered histories and identities of cities positioned on imperial routes extending from Europe's eastern borders into Central Asia – Prague, Warsaw, Kazan, Istanbul, Bukhara/Tashkent, Kabul. Examines how these urban spaces bear the political, religious, cultural, and linguistic imprints of overlapping empires – Mongol, Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian, and Soviet. No prerequisites. All readings in English translation and films screened with English subtitles. Open to all students; also serves as capstone for SES majors. One course.

Borderland and Battleground: A Journey Through Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe

Explores through history, film, fiction, and memoirs the “extreme” political experience, hybrid ethnic identities, and stunning art and testimony of twentieth-century Central and Eastern European cultures, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, and Yugoslavia. Traces the emergence of new nation states in the region at the end of World War I, the rise of Nazism and Stalinism, the devastating experience of World War II, and the absurdist mix of politics and daily life in Eastern Europe from 1945 until the fall of the Berlin Wall. All course texts in translation. One course.

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