History Department
History Department

History professor to lead Maymester Study Abroad to Prague, Czech Republic

Mon, October 10, 2011
History professor to lead Maymester Study Abroad to Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic

Of the many programs that make the University of Texas at Austin so special, some of the most valuable are seminars that get students away from their home campus, out of the classroom, and into a foreign culture through studying abroad. This coming May, the History Department will be joining the Study Abroad Office to offer a Maymester course in Prague called “Uncovering Jewish Prague, Past and Present,” which will be taught by our own specialist in the field, Dr. Tatjana Lichtenstein.

University of Texas students will have the unique opportunity to move beyond the typical tourist experience and explore the city’s Jewish past.  By studying the history of Prague’s Jews, students will gain a deeper understanding of the place of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe and the role of minorities in shaping European society more broadly.  Prague is uniquely rich in Jewish sites giving students an opportunity to experience the city as a place of Jewish life, past and present. 

Students will share intensive and close interaction with their professor.  Together Dr. Lichtenstein and students will tour the city from the crooked medieval lanes of the Lesser Side to the imposing boulevards built on top of the razed old Jewish quarter.  They will travel to destinations outside of Prague to study what Jewish life was like and how it is being remembered in small towns in the Czech Republic.  When studying the history of the Holocaust, students will visit Terezín, a former ghetto established by the German occupation authorities, and Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous WWII killing center and slave labor camp not far from Prague. 

Part of the task for students will be to contemplate the relationship between history and memory.  They will do so by examining the ways in which activists, experts, politicians, tour guides and others seek to shape the memory of the past. In conversation with local guest lecturers, students will explore the ways in which Prague’s Jewish past plays into current debates about cultural diversity in the Czech Republic.

Designed for students with or without prior knowledge of Judaism and Jewish customs, the readings, lectures, and excursions will give students a solid command of Jewish culture and of Prague’s Jewish history. Students will demonstrate and share their knowledge and experiences through daily blogs and participation in group projects that link place, history, and memory in a unique learning environment.

Undergraduate and graduate students from all colleges and schools can join Dr. Lichtenstein and other students in this enriching upper-division course.  Interested students need to register for HIS 362G “Uncovering Jewish Prague, Past and Present” during the spring registration period. The course counts for a letter grade for three credit hours, which will be figured into the student's GPA. Attendance at one biweekly, pre-departure International Learning Seminar during the spring term is required.

The Maymester program runs from May 28 to June 27.  Students will be housed in shared apartments in central Prague during the entire course.  Students who are history majors are eligible to apply for a $1000 scholarship to help cover the cost of the course by going to the College of Liberal Arts scholarship website.  The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies will offer $1000 scholarships to up to four students who participate in this program; contact Galit Pedahzur for more information. 

For further details on participating in  "Uncovering Jewish Prague, Past and Present," please check the Study Abroad website, or attend an information session on October 11 from 5-6 PM in Garrison 2.112 or on October 19 from 5-6 PM in Garrison 0.120. 

Bookmark and Share