Anyone who visited Kutná Hora in mid-April and mid-May could discover Serbian literature and history and attend interesting lectures delivered by Czech and Serbian experts. “I see the Belgrade Days as a very positive achievement. It is not only about lectures. Such meetings should also motivate our students to take active part in international exchange programmes,” says Dr. Ivo Říha of the Department of Literary Culture and Slavonic Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of the University of Pardubice.
This summer semester saw two Belgrade Days held in the Dačický House in Kutná Hora. These event are a result of long-term cooperation of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of the University of Pardubice and Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade.
The cooperation with the Serbian university has lasted for four years already. “Thanks to personal connections with our colleagues in Belgrade, we started to invite their students of Czech and Slovak Philology on short-term study stays to Pardubice,” says Říha to explain the beginning of the cooperation with the University of Belgrade. He adds: “We are happy to count on the long-term support of these international activities from the Faculty management.”
Serbian Students Visit Pardubice
Scholarships make it possible for Serbian students of Czech Language and Literature to take part in this international exchange programme and visit the Czech Republic. Over the past two years more than twenty Serbian students of Czech and Slovak Philology have done a stay at the University of Pardubice. Both students and academic staff of the Department of Literary Culture and Slavonic Studies and the Institute of History regularly visit the University of Belgrade.
“The cooperation between Pardubice and Belgrade thus continues to develop on a number of levels, and we hope it will continue in the following three years,” says Dr. Říha to emphasize the importance of the project.
Czech Philology at the Heart of the April Event
The first in the series of the Belgrade Days took place last autumn in the Dačický House and was followed by two events this spring. Topic related to Czech Philology were at the heart of the April event. Prof. Jaromír Linda talked about the current linguistic situation the Czech minority in Serbia; doc. Snežana Popović discussed collocations in Czech and Serbian linguistics, doc. Zuzana Čížiková focused on the myth of moving from home in Slovakian Vojvodina literature, prof. Aleksandra Korda-Petrović talked about the reception of Czech dissident writers in Serbia and doc. Ivana Kočevski explained the narratology in novels by Michal Ajvaz.
The talk by doc. Ivana Kočevsky was probably most interesting for students; she discussed the narrative in the novels by Michal Ajvaz and made numerous references to Lubomír Doležel, a Czech literary science scholar. Professor Jaromír Linda described how quickly the knowledge of Czech in Czech villages in Serbia is deteriorating. Professor Aleksandra Korda-Petrović’s talk was interesting for the audience by discussing Milan Kundera, Václav Havel, Bohumil Hrabal and Josef Škvorecký. She noted an interesting fact that Milan Kundera is the only Czech novelist and Václav Havel the only Czech playwright whose selected works have been published in Serbia.
Students from Belgrade arriving in Kutná Hora
In addition to the first-year students of History and Literary Studies, twelve students from the University of Belgrade doing a one-semester stay at the University of Pardubice attended the first Belgrade Day to listen to their teachers. A visit of Croatian Studies students from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague supervised by Dr. Karel Jirásek came as lovely surprise.
Teachers from the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade presented their work at the Czech-Serbian meeting in May. The speakers included doc. Dalibor Sokolović who talked about the current linguistic situation of Slovaks in the region of Vojvodina. The next paper was delivered by Stefana Paunović, M. A. who tackled gender issues, namely women issues in Slovak and Serbian linguistic picture. Ms. Juliana Beňová talked about theatrical activities of Jozef Miloslav Hurban, and Tanja Gaev introduced the Prague School of Ukrainian poets.
Lecture for Students of Polish and Hungarian
The topics of the presentations are chosen by the teachers from Pardubice together with their Serbian colleagues so that they are in line with the curriculum of the respective year of the Czech Studies programme at the University of Belgrade, but also the curricula of Polish and Hungarian Studies. They are helped by Dr. Gabriela Gańczarczyk and Dr. Marta Pató of the Department of Literary Culture and Slavonic Studies. “The feedback we are getting from our Serbian colleagues and students is indeed very positive. It is very important for them to have a chance to listen to Czech literary historians, scientists, creative writing teachers, translators and poets speaking in Czech about Czech literature,” says Ivo Říha.
In the 2015/2016 academic year we managed to get support for long-term student stays from the Erasmus+ programme. The programme also includes one-week stays for academic staff. Over this period, all members of the Department of Literary Culture and Slavonic Studies and some members of the Institute of History of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of the University of Pardubice had a chance to visit Belgrade. They talked to Serbian students of Czech Studies about Czech literary science. Lectures delivered by the teachers from Belgrade who visit the University of Pardubice are included as part of the Belgrade Days in Kutná Hora.
Bc. Věra Přibylová
Promotion and External Affairs Unit
BA Students of History and Literary Studies
at the Department of Literary Culture and Slavonic Studies