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ENG 223: Contemporary World Literature I – Protest, Dissent, and Change

Instructor: Blanka Maderová
Credits: 3
GEP: Global Knowledge, Humanities

Course Description

Twentieth-century literature of Eastern European culture. The course will explore relationships between literature, culture and political power in Central Europe between 1950s and 2000s. We will look at the dynamics of political repression, including dissent, protest, and alternative subcultures. The focus of the course will be on literary works questioning and co-creating Central European identity. Apart from fiction, we will see that music lyrics and political writings of the period became an important literary force as well. Such force is performative, i.e. it „does something” significant both to Czech identity, and to the readers. The course will give students an opportunity to expand their knowledge of Central European culture and to foot their interpretations in relevant social and political contexts.

Learning Outcomes

The students shall:

  • gain an understanding of Czech and European cultural history and its main themes
  • gain basic knowledge of modern movements and ideologies
  • be able to place Czech literary and musical works within the broader European tradition
  • be able to apply close reading and critical thinking in order to develop an interpretation
  • develop the ability to structure an argument within a larger discussion