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Department of Germanic Studies

Major Research Areas

The academic interests of the Department of Germanic Studies include linguistic, literary, and cultural studies related to the following languages: German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Old Norse, and Finnish.

Linguistic research at the German Section deals especially with German grammar, corpus lexicology and lexicography, contrastive description of German and Czech, and sociolinguistics (standard varieties and language policy). Diachronic research is focused on Early New High German in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia.

The German Literary Studies Section pays attention mainly to the history of German literature and culture in the Czech lands and the modern literature in German speaking countries, with special interest in theoretical issues of interculturalism, cultural memory, and cultural translation studies.

Research in Scandinavian Studies focuses especially on text linguistics, literary modernism, and Old Norse literature.

The Dutch Section deals mainly with syntax, contemporary Dutch and Flemish literature, reception of Dutch literature in Czech translations, and interdisciplinary research (relationship between literature and visual arts).

The Finnish Section focuses on corpus linguistics, translation studies, and Finnish as a foreign language, as well as on Finnish literature and culture (Finland-Swedish literature, Kalevala studies, and reception of Finnish literature in the Czech Republic).

Profiling Projects

In 2011-2012, the project Contemporary Situation of German in the Czech Republic: Qualitative Research at Schools was carried out. Since 2011, the Sociolinguistic Section has been taking part in the project Language Management in Language Situations. It focuses on the EU language law. In 2000, our Lexicography Section launched the project for a large German-Czech Lexical Database.

In May 2015, the Kurt Krolop Centre for German-Bohemian Literature was established as part of the department. Its members and guest scholars implement several projects including the bibliographic database “BDBL” and the international project Prag als Knotenpunkt der europäischen Modernen.

Several members of the department (both from the German and the Scandinavian Sections) contribute to the grant project Attempting the Renaissance of the West: The Literary and Cultural Climate at the Turn of the 20th Century funded by the Czech Science Foundation.

Members of the Dutch Section are engaged in the international project Het is niet onopgemerkt gebleven. An International Network Studying the Circulation of Dutch Literature.

The Finnish Section works on a project named The History of Finland-Swedish Literature through the Perspective of Bourdieusian Sociology funded by Czech Science Foundation (2014-2016). The Finnish Section is also involved in building a Czech-Finnish parallel corpus (project InterCorp, Institute of the Czech National Corpus) and International Corpus of Learner Finnish (University in Oulu).

Major Publication Projects

The section of German literary studies participates in the Dictionary of German Writers, a joint work of German Studies departments from all over the Czech Republic. With partner institutions in Germany and the Czech Republic, the members of the Kurt Krolop Centre participate in the Handbook of the German Literature in the Czech Lands (to be published by Metzler, 2016). Our members serve in the editorial boards of the journal Zeitschrift für interkulturelle Germanistik and the annual publication Brücken. Germanistisches Jahrbuch Tschechien – Slowakei.

Some of the most significant contributions in Scandinavian studies include a comprehensive monograph on the history of modern Scandinavian literatures 1870-2000 (2nd rev. ed. 2013) and a monograph on Old Norse laws and law books (2013).

The Dutch Section regularly publishes articles of significant international scholars in the series Praagse Perspectieven.

Members of the Finnish Section contribute to both international and domestic periodicals in linguistics, literary scholarship, and Finnish studies.

National and International Partner Institutions

Our department maintains cooperation with the Institute for the German Language in Mannheim. The German Linguistics Section also maintains a DAAD-Partnership with the University in Regensburg, focused mostly on sociolinguistics and lexicography. A project dealing with multilingualism and German as a lingua franca is being prepared in cooperation with the University in Munich. In cooperation with the University of Cologne, we have prepared an international double degree programme in German Studies. Concerning literary and translation studies, we cooperate closely with German and Slavic departments of the universities in Constance, Tübingen and Hamburg on various research projects and shared seminars.

The Scandinavian Section has developed a major partnership with the University of Tromsø, especially concerning research on Knut Hamsun, and with the University of Oslo, especially in relation to research on Henrik Ibsen.

The Dutch Section closely cooperates with partners in Olomouc, Brno and Bratislava (in the framework of ONETS). Other major partners include the University of Leiden and the University of Wroclaw.

The Finnish Section co-operates with Centre of International Mobility and universities in Finland (e.g. Jyväskylä, Tampere, Oulu); it also enjoys a special bond with University in Turku thanks to the joint projects with doc. Viola Parente-Čapková. Its main domestic partner is Masaryk University in Brno.

Major Conferences and Events

The German Linguistics Section organized a plenary conference of the Union of German Scholars of the Czech Republic in September 2010. Another conference with international participation, devoted to the research on standard varieties, was held in November 2012. Several workshops on lexicography and corpus linguistics have taken place recently. Major international conferences concerning Czech-German cultural relations were co-organized by our department in 2013 (on the work of Otokar Fischer) and 2014 (on Max Brod). In cooperation with the University in Ústí nad Labem, we are currently preparing the major annual conference of the worldwide Gesellschaft für interkulturelle Germanistik (October 2016).

During the last decade, the Scandinavian Section organized conferences on both linguistic and literary topics, notably Sprognormering og sproglig tolerance i Norden (2006), Privat eller engageret? Tendenser i ny nordisk litteratur (2008), and Er de nordiske sprog i fare? Nordisk konferense om sprogbrug, sprogholdninger og sprogpolitik (2010).

The Dutch Section organized the international conference Praagse Perspectieven, with both linguistic and literary topics, held ten times in the period 2002-2014. It also organized the Comenius Central European Congress of Dutch Studies (2007).

Two conferences inspired by Kalevala and Finnish folk poetry were organized in 2013 and 2015, respectively.