Offered by Rutgers’ Program in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies in collaboration with the Dartmore Institute (http://www.dartmore.cz/), the program is divided equally between Prague (Czech Republic) and Kraków (Poland), whose historic urban centers are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Aimed primarily at advanced undergraduates and graduate students but in principle open to any serious student--or professional--the course should appeal to those with interests in fields such as historic preservation, cultural history, architecture, Jewish and Holocaust studies, memory studies, urban/cities studies, and planning.
“PRESERVING THE PAST FOR THE FUTURE” explores the conservation of cultural heritage within the context of modern urban development and contemporary attitudes. Using Prague and Krakow as our laboratories, we will examine the impact of this rich architectural and artistic heritage on urban planning and the evolution of the modern Central European city. How have modern theories and practices in heritage preservation shaped strategies of urban development? How have Prague’s and Krakow’s material remains from diverse cultures and various periods been integrated or displaced within the modern fabric of the city? How are international, national, European, and local preservation forces shaping the cities and their perception and presentation of the past?
Topics of study range from conservation and restoration work on medieval monuments such as the Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague to the challenges of interpretation and historic preservation posed by "difficult" sites of history and memory such as the former Jewish quarters of both cities and the Schindler Factory complex in Kraków and the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camp. And although both cities are best known for the cultural legacy of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque, they were in fact centers of aesthetic innovation in the late 19th and 20th centuries. We will thus likewise explore Art Nouveau, Cubist, and Modernist public and private buildings in Prague, and the Stalinist "ideal" industrial-residential quarter of Nowa Huta, in Kraków. Finally, the transition from communism to post-communism has brought dramatic change in the form of both challenges and opportunities for preservation, planning, and historic (re)interpretation, which we will examine, as well.
Led by a resident professor and experts in the fields of heritage preservation, art, and history, the program emphasizes interaction with heritage practitioners, theorists, and cultural institutions in both cities, and provides hands-on involvement in the practice of heritage conservation, a fast-growing interdisciplinary field that offers an increasing number of career opportunities.
Resident Faculty Coordinator
International Service Learning Coordinator
Rutgers Study Abroad
102 College Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
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