The aim of the course is to introduce, debate and challenge the notion of the ‘postmodern’ both in its incarnation as ‘postmodernity’, denoting recent history’s general social, economic and political orders, and ‘postmodernism’, understood as a set of particularized artistic, philosophical and cultural modes adopted in the historical period of ‘postmodernity’. The students will be exposed to the complexity of ‘postmodernism’ and ‘postmodernity’ via a variety of texts, from philosophical and political writings to postmodernist fiction, music and cinema. These will be extensively discussed in the seminars. On completion of the course, which will take the form of an independent critical essay, the students will ideally have a confident grasp of the various philosophical, social, political and cultural practices to which the notion of the ‘postmodern’ has been put.     

The main idea of the course is based on the assumption that identities are not a primordial heritage, on the contrary, that they can be constructed actively. The nineteenth century as the „prehistory of today“ represents a turn in European History regarding the process of substituting pre-modern identities with modern ones. Some traditional identities are instrumentalized, but new ones have to be invented in order to offer the population a satisfying orientation in a rapidly changing world. The course aims at showing that modern identities have a different quality than pre-modern ones. The main focus is on state/national identities which were pivotal to nineteenth century Europe. Geographically, the course focuses on Central Europe, i.e. Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whose complicated ethnical, confessional and social structure provides a high number of examples of  the construction of modern identities.

The lectures will cover the topic of history and present state of languages in Central Europe. Individual presentations will be devoted to the historical, cultural and social aspects of Czech, Polish, Slovak and Sorbian languages as well as their current situation in European Union. Two lectures will deal with the history of German language in the Czechoslovak Republic up to 1946 as well as with the situation of Kashubian microlanguage.

Students become familiar with the history and present state of most important languages in Central Europe from earliest records to the 21st century