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Unit information: Czech Language and Society in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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

Students will be used to reading texts drawn from the Czech media; they will have a passive vocabulary adequate to the task of presenting or summarising information contained in such texts in English and will be developing an active vocabulary adequate for producing short written texts in Czech. Students will have broad knowledge of key issues affecting contemporary Czech society and will be able to make arguments on the basis of this knowledge.

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

Essay 30%, Exam 70%.

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