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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Contemporary Politics in Central Europe - OBZO08
Title: Contemporary Politics in Central Europe
Guaranteed by: Děkanát (41-DEKAN)
Faculty: Faculty of Education
Actual: from 2011
Semester: both
E-Credits: 4
Hours per week, examination: 2/2, Ex [HT]
Capacity: winter:unknown / unknown (unknown)
summer:unknown / unknown (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: not taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
you can enroll for the course in winter and in summer semester
Guarantor: doc. RNDr. Miroslava Černochová, CSc.
Class: Volitelné předměty pro PS
This course is meant for students with different academic backgrounds but strong interest in Central European developments during and after the democratic revolutions 1989. To understand Central European developments since 1989 it is necessary - according to our many years´ teaching experience - to get acquainted with main turning points of political history of respective countries of Central European geopolitical space on one hand and to undertake some comparative research into similarities and differences of such developments on the other hand. The central part of the course will focus on the political developments after 1918 in both Czechoslovakia and neighbouring Central European countries (Versailles conference, 1920s and 1930s, WWII, the divided Europe, the character of the Communist regimes). Lectures and discussions will especially focus on the democratic revolutions 1989, the institutional and international framework of the transition process and specific problems of democratization in Central Europe. Continuous attention will be dedicated to political elections in Central European countries.( European elections in June 2009, upcoming general elections in the Czech republic, presidential elections in Poland etc.).
Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)

The students will be offered regularly both selected pages from different books (see bibliography) and English-speaking articles on fresh developments in the countries under review (EU information, newspapers, academic journals).

Ash, Timothy Garton: The Magic Lantern. New York, Random House, 1990

Čornej, Petr-Pokorný, Jiří: A brief History of the Czech Lands. Praha, 2003

Michnik, Adam: Letters from Freedom.University of California Press, 1998

Stein, Eric: Czecho/Slovakia. Uni. of Michigan Press, 1997

Tismaneanu, Vladimir: The revolutions of 1989. London/N.Y., Routledge, 1999

Wasserstein Bernard: Barbarism and Civilization. Oxford Uni. Press, 2007

Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)
Requirements to the exam


General interest in European politics and in integration studies is expected. The course is based on active participation. The teacher will help the students choose and work on their final paper paying respect to their major and minor studies. Advice will be offered concerning individual travel plans in Central Europe.

Class attendance is mandatory.

The midterm test (app. 30 minutes) will be written in the classroom in the middle of the semester. It will test basic acquaintance with the issues discussed in the first five weeks.

The final written exam in the classroom (app. 30 minutes) will test basic acquaintance with the issues discussed in the second half of the course.

The final paper ( 8-10 pages ) will be handed over for evaluation in the last week of the semester. The selection of the topic will start by the end of March, the teacher will help with respective sources or interview persons.


The grading will be based on attendance and participation in the discussions, midterm test, final written exam and final paper.

Class attendance and active participation: 20%

Midterm essay: 20 %

Final written test: 20 %

Final Paper: 40%

Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)

Weekly structure of the course:

1st week

The introduction to the course is very much about terminological problems. From book to book and from article to article any student of the above-mentioned topics is confronted with inconsistent usage of geographic, political and ideological terms and concepts: e.g. East and Central Europe, European integration, Czech and Bohemian, totalitarian, communist or socialist, Austrian, German or German-speaking etc. Each term has one or more connotations and should be used adequately.

Different definitions of Central European space. This course will deal with major turning points in the modern political history (XX. century) of five Central European states: Czech republic, Slovak republic, Poland, Austria, Hungary.

Reading: Čornej,P.-Pokorný,J.: A brief History of the Czech Lands. Praha, 2003

2nd week

Basic data (political maps, demography, religions, nations and nationalities, languages, etc.) of Central European countries.

Reading: Statistics prepared by the lecturer.

3rd week

Central European countries in the process of European integration in XX. century.

Reading: Documents prepared by the lecturer.

4th week

The World War I and the collapse of Empires. The new states in Central Europe.

The political history of Czechoslovakia 1918 - 1945.

Reading: Krejčí, Jaroslav

"Czechoslovakia at the Crossroads of European History" London, 1990 (selected pages)

5th week

The political history of Czechoslovakia 1945 - 2010.

Reading: Krejčí, Jaroslav

"Czechoslovakia at the Crossroads of European History" London, N.Y., 1990 pp. 172 - 202

6th week

The political history of Poland.

Midterm test

Reading: Ash, Timothy Garton, "History of the Present", The Penguin Press, GB, 1999 (selected pages)

7th week

The political history of Austria and Hungary.

Evaluation of the midterm test. Selection of the final topic.

Reading: The selected texts will be prepared by the lecturer

8th week

Convergent and divergent developments in Central European space after 1918.

General discussion.

Reading: Wandycz, Piotr S. "The Price of Freedom" London, N.Y., 1993 (selected pages)

9th week

The democratic revolutions 1989 in Central Europe. Constitutional, political, economic and cultural changes. The economic transformation in former communist countries.

Reading: Wheaton, Bernard - Kavan, Zdeněk "The Velvet Revolution" Boulder, San Francisco, Oxford, 1992 (selected pages)

10th week

The constitution as an expression of political philosophy of the respective country: the constitutions of the Czech and Slovak republics. Poland, Austria and Hungary.

Reading: The Czech Constitution. The Slovak Constitution.

The Polish Constitution. The Austrian Constitution. The Hungarian Constitution.

(The abbreviated texts will be prepared by the professor ).

11th week

Five years of the membership of Central European states in the European Union. The developments from May 2004 till spring 2010.

Final written exam.

12th week

Presentation of the final papers.

Evaluation of the course.

Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)
Registration requirements

Tento předmět vyučují odborníci z ÚJOP.

Bližší informace včetně rozvrhu a kontaktů na vyučující najdete na〈=en.

V případě, že máte zájem o zápis do předmětu, kontaktujte vyučujícího předmětu (Jiří Holub email: a požádejte ho o zařazení do předmětu.

Last update: CERNOCHO/PEDF.CUNI.CZ (11.02.2011)
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