Courses

Welcome to the UPCES Summer Program Course Catalog! Here you will find the full list of each Summer Program including a short description of each course, and a downloadable syllabus. UPCES Summer programs are designed to inspire, challenge, and motivate students to discover new topics and different perspectives.

UPCES students enroll in ONE Summer Program containing TWO courses for a total of 6 academic credits. Courses within each program are given and cannot be mixed with courses from different programs 

1. THE FIGHT FOR TRUTH
 

A. The Holocaust as a Mirror and Magnifying Glass of the Recent Planetary Crisis

Syllabus

Democracy – the rule of law – with its institutions and free speech can never conceive something as monstrous as the Holocaust. So we have thought. Democracy as the peak of modernity / civilization is here to stay to be taken for granted. So many have thought until recently. Democracy as the rule of people is the best protection from political violence. What happens when majority invokes other values than freedom, and the rule of law is turned into rule of fear? This course wants to use the Holocaust as a window to present and show us those aspects of modernity otherwise hidden to common sight. As it is getting dark, a window becomes a looking-glass and we see our own reflection in it – the Holocaust is our shadow, our contemporary that never totally leaves us.

B. Propaganda and Society

Syllabus

This course explores mass persuasion and propaganda in a developmental context with an emphasis on understanding approaches and techniques. It traces the emergence of strategic persuasive communication and propaganda from its origins to the present day. The basic principles, philosophy, and techniques of mass persuasion in different periods are considered, with an emphasis on contemporary contexts. Students will learn to identify different propaganda techniques, and will gain the tools to evaluate and debunk propaganda campaigns. A developmental approach is used in order to allow the opportunity to see aspects of continuity and change in approaches. A combination of classic and contemporary texts in the area of propaganda and disinformation will be studied. Various approaches to propaganda will examined across a variety of media, with an emphasis in the second half of the course on emerging computational and participatory propaganda.

 
2. PRAGUE AND CENTRAL EUROPE BETWEEN HISTORY AND FILM
 

A. Prague as a Living History

Syllabus

This course and accompanying excursions will introduce students to the history of the Czech Republic and its capital city, Prague, while also showing the development of its urban structures and main social functions. By using the city of Prague as a classroom, students will gain a deeper understanding of the particularities and intricacies of urban life as it evolved through centuries. Excursions to other urban sites in the Czech Republic will allow students to compare various types of cities and their development, typical of continental European culture.

B. Film as a Mirror of History Ideology and Idividual Freedom

Syllabus

This lively and original course is open to students who have an interest in studying the social and political transition in Central Europe through an understanding of its cinema. This is not a traditional film course: We will focus on the films’ social, political and historical contexts.

Films produced behind the Iron Curtain were not considered only commercial products. They were instruments of artistic expression and ideology, and also of protest and testimony. The stories of the postwar Czech, Slovak, Polish and Hungarian film industries – the fate and the moral dilemmas of their most talented artists and their specific and strong film language before and after the political changes in Europe of 1989 – will be a discovery for those seeing the films for the first time (as well as for those already familiar with them but who wish to enlarge their knowledge).

 
3. POLITICS AND ECONOMICS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
 

A. European Integration and Politics of Belonging in Europe

Syllabus

This course covers the main political, social, cultural, and economic factors which conditioned and accompanied post-war European integration. It invites students to critically rethink what the motivations were behind European integration at its emergence and how they have been changing up until the present. The course material includes historical texts, documents and audiovisual material.  In the first part of the course students get acquainted with the milestones of European integration and interests and positions of key players. The key reading on history is Tony Judt's Postwar – one of the few books covering both the Eastern and Western 'halves' of Europe in the period under scrutiny. The second part of the course focuses on the major driving force of European integration – the EU's outreach beyond its borders via enlargement and neighborhood policy. The final session addresses some of the major challenges facing Europe today: immigration, integration of minorities, and economic crises. After taking the course, students should have a strong knowledge of various competing interpretations of what the EU is and what it should be for its citizens and in the international system. The course consists of lectures, discussions, and simulations based on the required readings.

B. Comparative Economics and Economics of Transition

Syllabus

Many citizens of European countries do not quite understand the functioning of the European Union and often erroneously interpret the development of neighboring economies assuming that their economic and political systems function in a very similar way as their own country.
The European “unity in diversity” is even more confusing for many decision-makers from across the Atlantic; many US decisionmakers are confused by the development of European economies and functioning of European institutions; and they often face the danger of wandering into troublesome blunders.

This course attempts to provide both the background necessary for understanding the differences between the USA and Europe and of intra-European differences.  At the same time the course differs from similar courses offered at Western European universities by its emphasis on a particular dimension of intra-EU differences: the fact that only some European countries have experienced a set of huge economic experiments; at first the elimination of private property (and private business) and subsequent attempts to reintroduce market economies after the 40 year long experiment with central planning. Analysis of this experience provides an insight into factors which are weakening EU consensus on vital issues.ere goes the text.

 
 

NOTE: UPCES students may choose no more than one Summer Program.