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Unit information: Czech Language and Society in 2020/21

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Unit name Czech Language and Society
Unit code RUSS10026
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Ms. Nahodilova
Open unit status Not open



Only available for joint honours Czech students

School/department Department of Russian
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This year-long unit, co-taught by native and non-native Czech teachers, aims (a) to develop students' abilities to read the contemporary Czech media for comprehension purposes, (b) to introduce students to some key aspects of Czech society since the fall of Communism from the perspective of both English- and Czech-language materials, and (c) to foster students' ability to find and synthesise information to produce a structured analysis of one of these aspects.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a broad understanding of the key issues affecting contemporary Czech society;
  2. advance and illustrate their reading skills in Czech, appropriate to level C/4;
  3. select and apply key analytical approaches to the primary material being studied;
  4. apply these skills to develop clear written arguments.

Teaching details

Two seminar hours weekly mixing language-based work – reading, translating, summarising – with teacher input, student presentations and class discussion. The first few weeks of the unit will be devoted mainly to texts in English to be read at home and discussed in class; Czech language work will focus on very short texts – headlines, statistical information, texts adapted for students – gradually building up to longer articles prepared at home for exploitation and discussion in class in the second teaching block.

Assessment Details

1 x 1000-word commentary (30%). Testing ILOs 1-4.

1 x 2000-word essay (70%). Testing ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

Holy, Ladislav, The Little Czech and the Great Czech Nation: National Identity and the Post-Communist Transformation of Society, 1996

Kraus, Michael and Allison Stanger (eds.), Irreconcilable Differences: Explaining Czechoslovakia’s Dissolution, 2000 Leff, Carol Skalnik, The Czech and Slovak Republics: Nation versus State, 1997

Pynsent, Robert B., Questions of Identity: Czech and Slovak Ideas of Nationality and Personality, 1994

Wolchik, Sharon L., Czechoslovakia in Transition: Politics, Economics, Society, 1991