Faculty & Department

Faculty of Arts, Charles University

The Faculty of Arts at Charles University is currently one of the largest and most important research and educational institutions in the arts and humanities in Central Europe. The Faculty was founded in 1348 by the Czech king and later Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV who established it as one of the four faculties of the Prague university, later named after him Charles University – the oldest university in Central Europe east of France and north of the Alps. Ever since, it has been the intellectual centre of the Czech lands: alumni of the Faculty, their deeds and ideas, have been shaping the Czech society and culture and at the crucial moments of Czech history, the Faculty of Arts has always been at the very heart of the events.

With close to 1,000 staff members, over 9,000 students and a growing international student population of almost 1,000 students from all over the world, the Faculty of Arts is a vibrant and diverse academic environment. Thanks to the flexible system of more than 700 possible double-subject degree combinations, the BA and MA degrees allows the students to focus on two subjects to the same extent, which increases their adaptability and provides them with more opportunities for their future career. The acceptance level is only 27%, which is a prerequisite for a more individual approach, necessary if the humanities are to be taught and studied seriously.

The research output of the Faculty, measured in the number of monographs and articles, is larger than that of any other institution in the humanities in the Czech Republic – which reflects both the quality of research and the level of tutoring. Every year, the Faculty hosts a number of international conferences and events of general cultural significance – exhibitions, concerts, lectures, public debates. In the last few years, the Faculty of Arts publishing house has earned prestigious awards and is now competing with the largest academic publishers in the country.

The Department of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures

English and American literature is among the oldest disciplines at the Faculty of Arts. Its origins can be traced back to the 1880s. International recognition came in the 1920s with the development of the Prague School of Structuralism. Today the Department combines this heritage and traditional literary historiography with contemporary theoretical approaches utilised in an interdisciplinary context. English and American Studies is characterised by courses covering eras from the English Medieval period to the present and a remarkably wide range of research projects and activities. Members of the Department specialise in fields as diverse as Shakespeare studies and translation, Romanticism, contemporary poetics, critical and cultural theory, performance studies, and Irish studies. As a Department we pride ourselves not only on the range of courses offered, but also on the diversity of approaches employed.

In recent years the Department has hosted various major conferences including the European Association for American Studies conference (2004), the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures conference (2005), the Prague School and Theories of Structure conference (2007), the International James Joyce Symposium (2010) and the World Shakespeare Congress (2011).

We have been pleased to host talks and readings by writers from around the world such as Joseph Heller, Seamus Heaney, Muriel Spark, John Tranter, Derek Mahon, Janet Turner-Hospital, David Lodge, Michael Longley, Gail Jones and Tom McCarthy. We have also received a wide variety of guest lecturers including Wolfgang Iser, J. Hillis Miller, Sacvan Bercovitch, Derek Attridge, Robert J.C. Young, Carlo Ginzburg, Roy Foster, Luke Gibbons, Jerome McGann, Christoph Bode, Aleks Sierz, Murray Pittock, Christopher Innes, Bonnie Kime Scott, Christina Ljungberg, Elisabeth Archibald, Edna Longley, Joep Leerssen, Margaret Kelleher, Patricia Coughlan, Claire Connolly, Michael Cronin, Keith Hopper, David Cowart, Margery Palmer McCulloch, Hugh J. Silverman, Matthew Roudané, Declan Kiberd.