Blog: Dartmore Summer Courses

Below is more course information about our summer programs at the Dartmore Institute!

Identities, Cultures, and Texts in East-Central Europe (Prague & Krakow)

Two cities with complicated histories, rich cultures, and promising futures will become case studies for this unique opportunity in global education. Among the theoretical foundations of this course will be the ever-shifting paradigm of center and periphery in relation to the European political and cultural power. The Czech Republic and Poland, although tracing their roots to ancient kingdoms, are the products of a series of dramatic changes that occurred in less than a century: heirs of republics created after the collapse of the multiethnic Habsburg Empire in World War I, occupied or annexed by Nazi Germany, and then subjugated by the communist Soviet Union. Today, both are members of NATO as well as the European Union. Prague and Kraków, though less famed in the west than Paris, London, or Berlin, were unique and powerful hubs of European culture and history: the homes of the two oldest universities in Central Europe; the seats of ancient monarchies; cultural centers that were home to or attracted figures as diverse as Petrarch, Copernicus, Mozart, and Kafka. The multiethnic character of these cities contributed both to their cultural dynamism and to periodic social tensions. Both cities were home to Slavs and Germans, and to thriving Jewish communities from the Middle Ages until the Holocaust. Both cities, renowned for the beauty of their setting and architecture, survived World War II physically almost unscathed, and are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The overarching framework of our program will be the dynamic of authority and resistance, particularly in the modern and contemporary era: How and why do given groups attempt to assert their authority? Why, when, and by what means do others resist? This theme is particularly germane to territories whose historical experience has been characterized by dependency.

Topics or readings will include: * Cultural resistance and the absurd: from Hašek to Havel

* Intellectuals in politics: the public voice

* From the trials of dependency to the challenge of independence: ethnicity and state character

* New identities, voices of emancipation: Víte(zslav Nezval and avant garde group of artists Deve(tsil Jindr(ich Štyrský, Jaroslav Seifert, Karel Teige, and Toyen (Marie Cerminova) * Spiritual and physical resistance: Prague, Terezín, Kraków, Auschwitz

* Crisis moments: Munich, the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

* Resistance and retaliation: the Heydrich Assassination and Lidice

* The War and the Holocaust in the literary imagination

* Reform from within: Charter 77 and Solidarity

* Destruction, preservation, restoration: catastrophe and the built environment

* Monuments and memory

Authors include: Jaroslav Hašek, Josef Skvorecký, Arnošt Lustig, Ladislav, Fuks, Václav Cerný, Bruno Schulz, Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal, Ivan Klíma, Václav Havel, Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert, Czeslaw Milosz

Czech Republic and Poland: Economy and Policy


The course is designed for students who are interested in socio-economic and political issues of the Czech Republic and Poland. Students will receive 3 credits for this course.

Hosting institution: Dartmore Institute, Dukelskych hrdinu 47, Prague 7

Class meets at 9:30 am at Dartmore Institute, Conference Room (unless otherwise is indicated in the syllabus)

Course Objectives

This course introduces undergraduate students to the history, economy, and policy of the Czech Republic and Poland. Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Analyze  political and economic developments in Eastern Europe since the WWII
  • Compare socio-economic situation in the Czech Republic and Poland
  • Evaluate the impact of the European Union on these two countries
  • Understand the key industries in each country
  • Know about labor markets in the Czech Republic and Poland
  • Compare international trade and international monetary regimes in two countries
  • Analyze banking, debt, investments and risk
  • Understand how service sector, health care, education, and tourism operate in each country
  • Explain the impact of financial crises in Eastern European economies

At the end of the course, students should be able to analyze current political and economic issues in Czech Republic and Poland, and critically evaluate the policy options.


  • Some background in Economics (i.e., high-school Economics course), with working understanding of basic micro and macroeconomic terminology

Prior to attending the trip, students are encouraged (but not required) to take any of the following courses:

  • Introduction to Economics
  • Macroeconomic Principles
  • Microeconomic Principles

Text and Reference Material

The Economics of Centralism and Local Autonomy: Fiscal Decentralization in the Czech and Slovak Republics by Phillip J. Bryson. Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (September 2010) ISBN: 978-0230104297.
Reinventing Poland: Economic and Political Transformation and Evolving National Identity. BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies. Editors: Martin Myant and Terry Cox. Publishers: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0415451758
International Monetary Fund. Czech Republic: Staff Report for the 2010 Article IV Consultation. March 2010
International Monetary Fund.  Republic of Poland: 2010 Article IV Consultation. May 14, 2010.

Class rules

Your presence in the classroom is required. You must arrive and be at your seat before the class starts. If you face an emergency, notify me as soon as possible by phone or e-mail.

While in class, I will not allow students to make noise or otherwise distract their classmates. If you want to ask a question, raise your hand and I will call on you. The use of cellular phones, pagers, and other similar devices is prohibited.


Attendance is required and will be taken every class. Your course grade is computed with the following weights:

  • On-line assignments                                  50  percent
  • Take-home exam                                         50 percent

I compute student’s course grade by incorporating scores earned on the final project, and homework assignments weighted as indicated above. A student fails the class if a so determined course score is below 60%. The rest are graded based on the following scale:

90-100            A range

80-89             B range

70-79              C range

60-69              D range

Course Calendar

Wed, May 4 Morning: Arrive Prague. Accommodation in Hotel Olga, Prague 7, Janovskeho 50Afternoon: Meeting David, orientation in the neighborhood

Evening: Orientation reception at the restaurant

Thurs, May 5 Lecture: Introduction to Czech Economy (1.5h)Out-of-classroom experience: After discussing the history and developments of the Czech economy in class, we will visit the Prague Castle – a place where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The tour is part of the academic program. It will give students a historic perspective on how the country was governed through the centuries. Tour will last approximately 3 hours. We will contextualize what we have seen in our visit next morning.
Fri, May 6 Lecture: History of Czech Republic (Guest lecturer- Dr. Maleckova) (1.5h)Out-of-classroom experience: After learning about the history of Bohemia and Czechoslovakia, we will explore the capital city Prague, its architecture, and historic sites. The tour is part of the academic program. It will last 3 hours. We will discuss what we have seen at the lecture next morning

Readings: handout

Sat, May 7 Lecture: Political Economy and Economic Transition of Czech Republic. EU Integration (Guest lecturer- Dr. Lubomir Lizal) (1.5h)Reading: The Economics of Centralism and Local Autonomy: Fiscal Decentralization in the Czech and Slovak Republics

Out-of-classroom experience: Prague walk  and visiting museums (cont., learning objectives – above) (3h)

Sun, May 8 Free dayOptional activities: Tour of Vysehrad

Evening: packing

Mon, May 9 Travel to Krakow: train leaves 10:10am,  arrives 5:45pmAccommodation in Hotel Oberza

Evening: Dinner at Kazimierz

Tue, May 10 Lecture: General Overview of Poland: History, Economy, Politics(Guest lecturer – Dr. J. Basista) (1.5)

Readings: The IMF Country Report: Poland  (2010)

Out-of-classroom experience: After learning about the history of Poland, we will explore the leading center of Polish economic, academic, cultural, and artistic life – Krakow. This excursion is part of the academic program and will introduce students to life and culture in the Polish city. Tour will last approximately 3 hours. We will discuss what we have seen during the lecture next morning.

Wed, May 11 Lecture: Labor Market in Poland. Women in Poland at Massolit (Guest lecturer- Dr. Zielinska) (1.5h)Out-of-classroom experience: Krakow walks (Nova Huta) and visiting museum (cont., 3h) (learning objectives- above)
Thur, May 12 Impact of the WWII on Poland. Excursion to Auschwitz (6h)Leaving: 8:30am

This excursion is part of the academic program. Learning objectives: we will reflect upon the profound tragedy and lessons of the WWII

3:00pm – free hour

4:00pm – Galician museum and the post-excursion debrief (1h)

Fri, May 13 Lecture: Manufacturing and Service Sector in Poland.  International Trade. (1.5h)Readings: Reinventing Poland (chapter on regional development in Poland)

Out-of-classroom experience: after discussing the key manufacturing industries in Poland and its international trade, we will visit a business/factory in Krakow. This visit is part of the academic program. It will give students an idea how business in Poland is transacted, and the challenges managers face in the Eastern Europe. Tour will last approximately 3h. We will summarize the challenges of manufacturing and service sector in Poland during the lecture next morning.

Afternoon: optional cultural activities (Wawel Hill)

Sat, May 14 Lecture: Poland and the EU (Guest lecturer – Dr. Gora) (1.5h)Reading: Reinventing Poland (chapter on the implications of the EU accession)

Afternoon: Krakow walks (University city, or industrialized district  of Nova Huta) (optional)

7:30 pm – Dinner and concert at Klezmer House

Evening: free (packing)

Sun, May 15 Travel back to Prague: trains leaves 9:45 am, arrives Prague 5:50 pmEvening: free
Mon, May 16 Morning: free3:00 pm Labor Market and Demographics in Czech Republic (1.5h)

5:00: screening a Czech movie (2h)

Evening: free

Tue, May 17 Manufacturing, Agriculture, and Tourism Sector. Doing Business in Czech Republic (0.3h)Visit of Skoda factory in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic (5h) or

This visit is part of the academic program. It will give students an idea how production of cars in Czech republic has started based on steelworks factory headed by Emil Skoda, and developed over the century into the well-known auto plant in the Eastern Europe. While touring the modern facilities, we will meet with staff and discuss the challenges factory faces. Trip will last approximately 5h. We will summarize the challenges of manufacturing and service sector in Czech Republic and compare them with Poland during the lecture next morning


Visit to Karlovy Vary (day trip)

This visit is part of the academic program. It will give students an idea how a popular tourist destination and a spa city with historically famous hot springs developed through centuries. We will visit the Grandhotel Pupp and find out how through 2 centuries the Pupp family acquired neighboring properties and incorporated them into the grand hotel complex in the neo-Baroque style. Every year, the hotel hosts Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. It was a major location for 2006 movies Last Holiday and Casino Royal. On the way back, we will visit popular Czech liqueur factory Karlovarska Becherovka to discuss the challenges the factory faces, its privatization process, and current international linkages.  We will summarize the challenges of manufacturing and service sector in Czech Republic and compare them with Poland during the lecture next morning

Wed, May 18 Lecture: Education/ Health Care in Czech Republic (topic is choice of a guest lecturer – Dr. Sokol?) (1h)Out-of-classroom experience: tour of an educational institution or hospital  in Prague

This visit is part of the academic program. Trip will last approximately 2h Learning objectives: to see how local infrastructure provides education/health care services in Prague. We will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the service sector in Czech Republic later in the evening.

Evening: cultural activities (concert) (optional)

Thurs, May 19 Lecture: Banking and Financial Sector (Guest lecturer –Tomas Sedlacek) (1h)Out-of-classroom experience:  tour to a bank or an insurance company in Prague. This visit is part of the academic program. Trip will last approximately 2h. Learning objectives: to see how banking and insurance services are provided in the Czech Republic; compare these services with the US. We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this sector in Czech Republic later in the evening.

Reading: IMF Country Report. Czech Republic

Evening: cultural activities (optional)

Fri, May 20 Lecture: International Trade of Czech Republic (1.5h)Afternoon: free (packing)

Evening: Good-bye dinner

Sat, May 21 Departure from Prague
Mon, June 20 Homework assignments due 5:00 pm ESTFinal project due 5:00 pm EST
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