About the Department
The Department of German and Austrian Studies is part of the Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague.
From the territorial point of view, the department focuses on German-speaking countries and Central Europe, and Europe as a context for the development and activities of German-speaking countries.
From the disciplinary point of view, research and teaching are multidisciplinary with an emphasis on political science and on historical-cultural approaches, completed with legal and economic perspectives.
From the thematic point of view, research and teaching are concentrated into three main units. First is the question of international relations and foreign policy (including the history of foreign policy), second the current issues in the studied territory and its development from the revolutions of 1989 to the present, and third the comparative history of Central Europe with emphasis on the Czech lands in the 20th century.
The department offers a Bachelor's degree programmes Czech-German Studies (a double degree with the University of Regensburg) and the Master's degree programmes German and Austrian Studies, and most recently also German and Central European Studies (a double degree with the Pedagogical University in Cracow). Faculty from the department also participate in teaching within the Bachelor's programmes Area Studies and the distance study fields of Area Studies and Contemporary History.
Teaching takes place in the Czech, German and English languages. The members of the department publish in domestic and foreign professional journals and publishing houses, regularly participate in international conferences and act as guest lecturers at many German and Austrian universities.
The bonus students get at the department is an extensive range of courses from teachers coming regularly from Germany and Austria. There is also a German tutor at the department, and since 2014 also a permanent visiting DAAD associate professor. We regularly organize excursions to Germany and Austria for our students. They have the opportunity to apply for DAAD scholarships at the University of Düsseldorf (in addition to Erasmus and many of the other scholarships accessible to all students of the Institute of International Studies or Charles University).
HISTORY OF OUR DEPARTMENT
After 1989, the deficits that existed in former Czechoslovakia in the field of social sciences and teaching about German-speaking countries became apparent. They mainly concerned the neglected interdisciplinary area between traditional German studies and historical sciences, i.e. political science, economics, and sociological reflections on the development of German-speaking countries.
Members of the joint Czechoslovak-German Commission of Historians, which was established in the early 1990s through the initiative of the then Foreign Ministers Jiří Dienstbier and H.-D. Genscher rightly pointed out the need to fill these gaps. Their efforts were subsequently supported by leading representatives of public life (including former President Václav Havel and Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec).
In modest conditions, the Centre for German and Austrian Studies was first established three years after the creation of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, in 1993, within the Institute of Political Studies. In 1994, the Centre was transformed into a department. Another year later, the Department of German and Austrian Studies became part of the newly established Institute of International Studies.
In the following years, the activities of the department were stabilized and broad cooperation was established with foreign partners, especially in Germany and Austria (universities in Düsseldorf, Regensburg, and Vienna). Its research activities were developed within the research framework of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. Since 2008, the department has coordinated a Bachelor's double degree in Czech-German Studies (together with the University of Regensburg). In its time, it was the first binational Bachelor's degree in social sciences at Charles University. From 2015, the department began to offer German and Central European Studies, a Master's double degree programme coordinated with the Pedagogical University in Cracow.
Minutes from Department meetings
Here you can find current minutes from Department meetings.
Department meeting March 3, 2020 (in Czech only)