The Department of East European Studies of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague (DEES) deals with research of the area of Eastern Europe with special focus on Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic States, which are studied both separately and in regional and international contexts.
Linguistic research in the Russian Studies Seminar focuses primarily on sociolinguistics, synchronic linguistics and corpus linguistics. In the area of Russian history and culture, our research focuses on philosophical and political thought with special emphasis on the period of the Moscow Russia and Russia after Peter the Great. Studies of Russian religious life, contemporary religious situation, history and culture of the 20th century are developing intensively. The traditional issue of relationship between Baltic and Slavic, including both the diachronic linguistics view with links to Balto-Slavic ethnogenesis and the later scientific and cultural, especially literary, relationships, is the main research focus of the Baltic Studies Seminar.
Research in the Ukrainian and Slavic Studies Seminar focuses on the 19th and 20th century Ukrainian literature and also on the Czech-Ukrainian relationships associated with the activities of the large Ukrainian emigré community in the interwar Czechoslovakia.
Last but not least, members of the Department have been translating extensively from Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Latvian.
The Department of East European Studies has participated in numerous research and grant projects within the FA. In the field of Russian studies, we currently focus especially on typological issues of Russian culture. In recent years, for instance, the project of the Czech Science Foundation “Cultural, spiritual and ethnic roots of Russia” has been successfully implemented. In this project, basic elements of Russian culture have been studied in a broader interdisciplinary perspective.
The above-mentioned theme has been thoroughly examined within the project of the Czech Science Foundation “Spiritual and historical tradition in Russian culture: continuity and discontinuity”, which aimed to create overview monographs and studies devoted to social and political thought of the Moscow Russia and to the religious life of contemporary Russia.
The most significant research achievement of the Ukrainian and Slavic Studies Seminar was a successful completion of the grant project Constitution of postmodern discourse in Ukrainian literature, which sought to examine different aspects of fiction written by representatives of the so-called Stanislav phenomenon.
In the past few years, many Department members have become involved in the internal research programmes PRVOUK – P10 Linguistics and PRVOUK – P12 – History in interdisciplinary perspective.
Since 2004, the Department of East European Studies of the FACU has been publishing the internal editorial series Acta Slavica et Baltica, which has released for example titles:
- Tribute to Čelakovský (2004)
- Czech perception of Ukraine (2005)
- Óndra Łysohorský: Poručénstwo / Legacy (2005)
- S. R. Gustavsson: South Slavic Ruthenians, their culture and language (2006)
- Donum Ucrainicum (2006)
- Social aspects of Slavic literary languages (2006)
- Balto-Slavicum Pragense (2007), which contains contributions in fourteen Slavic and Baltic languages, whose authors were mostly doctoral candidates of the Department
Under the aegis of members and associates of the DEES, a series of three collective publications presenting cultural aspects of Russian life and institutions under the common name Cultural, spiritual and ethnic roots of Russia was released: Traditions and alternatives (2005), Influences and contexts (2006) and Portraits (2009).
Members of the Department were also editors of a series of reviewed collections of studies published from the regularly held international Conference of young Slavists. In this series, the volumes have been published to date:
- Contemporary Slavic studies: influences and contexts (2008)
- Slavic studies in the modern world (2008)
- Slavic languages and literature: the search for identity (2009)
- Slavic area and Europe (2010)
- Ethnicity of Slavic area (2011)
- Intermingling Slavonic environments (2012)
- Slavonic world: known or unknown? (2013)
- Slavs between tradition and modernity (2014)
This year two monographs written by members of the Department were published – a monograph by Hanuš Nykl entitled Religion in Russian Culture (2013), dealing with the problems of religion and demonstrations of particular Orthodox elements in contemporary Russian culture, and Latvian Culture and the Moravian Church (2013) by Pavel Štoll, examining Latvian cultural traditions and their Czech contexts, especially based on specific Latvian texts and their meaning. Since 2014 the Department participate decisively in publication of the new reviewed scientific journal Oriens Aliter (Journal for Culture and History of the Central and Eastern Europe), which aims to provide the platform for presentation of results of the most topical culturological and historic research about the Central and Eastern Europe for scientific public and wider reader’s community and for confrontation of them in international scale.
Since 2005, the Conference of young Slavists has become a key long-term conference project of the Department of East European Studies. This meeting, that has been held regularly since 2005 (3-4 May 2005, 11-12 October 2006, 24-25 October 2007, 22-23 October 2008, 4-5 November 2009, 4-5 November 2010, 3–4 November 2011, 1–2 November 2012, 24–25 October 2013, 6–7 November 2014) with strong international participation, aims to give young generation of researchers (under the age of 35) the opportunity to present the results of their research work and exchange views across individual disciplines of Slavic studies and different Slavic studies institutions. The conference negotiations should contribute to the search for a new identity of Prague’s Slavic studies and their integration into the international scientific context. The conference outcomes are collections of studies reviewed by leading domestic and foreign experts.
Many domestic and international responses bear witness to the success of this event. In 2014 the international conference Precolonialism, colonialism and postcolonialism. Empires and the others in the Eastern and South-Eastern Europe was organized by the members of the Department in co-operation with the Department of South Slavonic and Balkan Studies.
The Ukrainian and Slavic Studies Seminar organizes lectures, seminars and conversaziones where the translations of the Ukrainian fiction literature and actual Ukrainias topics are regularly presented.
The Department of East European Studies has established various contacts, especially with partner university departments, with whom it has entered into contracts for educational and research co-operation. Among foreign universities, the Department engages in the most intensive cooperation with the Moscow State University (Philological Faculty), the Russian State University for the Humanities, Saint Petersburg State University, Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi National University. With all universities the regular bilateral exchanges of students and teachers are carried out and guest lectures of renowned experts are organized.
The Baltic Studies Seminar cooperates in particular with the Institute of Lithuanian Language in Vilnius and with the University of Latvia in Riga. Its research focuses specifically on the history of Czech Slavic studies and the Baltic studies, Ruthenian literature, literature of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy and Ochranov (Herrnhut) literature in Livonia.
Among the Czech scientific institutions, the DEES most closely cooperates with the Slavic Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. (scientific and research institution), especially in the area of educational cooperation and participation of members and students of the Department in specific research projects focused primarily on literary studies and Paleo-Slavic studies.