UC San Diego SearchMenu

In Search of Kafka in Prague

Prague, Czech Republic


Professors Babak Rahimi
Dates Departure from U.S.: Sat., June 30, 2018
Arrival: Sun., July 1, 2018
Mandatory Orientation: Mon., July 2, 2018
First Day of Class: Tues., July 3, 2018
Last Day of Class: Fri., August 3, 2018
Departure for the U.S.
(or personal travel):
Sat., August 4, 2018

Flight Information

  • All approved applicants will be notified by e-mail when the program reaches minimum enrollment. Do not purchase plane tickets until the program is confirmed.
  • We strongly encourage you to take a flight that arrives at Vaclav Havel Airport (PRG) during daylight hours, in order to take advantage of airport pick up between the hours of 9am-noon, with a possibility of a second early afternoon pickup. Students who arrive later than this time will receive instructions on how to make their way to your program housing independently.
  • Contact STA Travel if you would like to book flights with other students on this program or take advantage of the airfare deposit program.
Info Sessions
  • Tuesday, January 30, 5:00 - 6:30 pm
    Study Abroad Dance Hall, University Center 409
  • Thursday, February 15,  5:00 - 6:30 pm
    Study Abroad Conference Room, University Center 409

Why you should go

Imagine walking on the Charles Bridge, over the Vltava River, as the baroque statues, depicting various saints stationed on the balustrade, evoke a gothic sense of romance amid a Bohemian city. The cathedrals, church domes, winding cobblestone streets, walled courtyards and countless restaurants and coffee shops are reminder of a city that never sleeps. From the Golden Lane to the Old Town Square, Prague is a never-ending city, vibrant, energetic, always on the move. Here, history is in full public view. Looking over the bridge is the famed 9th-century Prague Castle, where powerful kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia have resided. The Wenceslas Square and the National Museum at night is a sea of light for the delight of tourists and residents alike. The “nostalgic tram” no. 91 runs through this ancient city that has seen the domination of Soviet communism until the early 1990s. Milunić and Gehry's Dancing House, a postmodern building designed by the Croatian-Czech architect, Valdo Milunićis, is representative of a new era of democratic culture and politics. The Dancing House twists and turns to a (post) modern city known for its cultural art and as one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations.

But there are also hidden histories, secrets that served as a source of inspiration for Franz Kafka’s tales of totalitarian bureaucracy and modern alienation. “Prague,” Kafka once wrote, “never lets you go…this dear little mother has sharp claws.” The Jewish expulsion of the Jews in 1745, based on allegation of collaboration with the Prussian army, is one among many haunting tales that Kafka was familiar as he wrote his masterpieces about modern loss and human alienation. The theme of Global Seminar 2018, “In Search of Kafka in Prague,” is to venture a city through the literary works of Prague’s most famous writer; it is to get lost in a world that the famed German composer, Richard Wagner, once described as “a city beyond compare.” The two Global Seminar courses will examine complex cultural, political and literary histories of Prague in the broader world history. Study of Kafka’s novels and short stories will provide a dramatic, gloomy and at times humorous background to what Kafka once described as a city that “never lets you go.”

Who should go

  • “MMW 15: Twentieth Century” is a required course for ERC students and could fulfill general electives and GE requirements for other colleges and departments.
  • “LTWL 172: Special Topics in Literature: Kafka, Prague, and Modernism” is an upper division in literature and fulfills requirement for Thurgood Marshall College, since it includes a number of writing assignments. LTWL 172 could also fulfill requirements as well electives for majors in Communication, History, and Visual Arts, and also serves as an elective for non-humanities majors.
  • Students in majors and minors in humanities can enrich their perspective through European literature tied with urban cultural history and intellectual currents of the twentieth century. Imagine how a Global Seminar in Prague would look like on your resume or graduate school application. Imagine how your educational experience in Prague can impact your career choices, and how such choices may impact others. Who should go? Those who want to see the world from a different perspective so to change themselves and accordingly the world. The real voyage, as Marcel Proust writes, is the discovery not in “seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”


Meet the professor

Prof. Babak Rahimi

Babak Rahimi is Associate Professor of Communication, Culture and Religion at the Department of Literature and the director of the Third World Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He earned his PhD from the European University Institute, Florence, Italy, in October 2004. Rahimi has also studied at the University of Nottingham, where he obtained an M.A. in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (1997), and the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, 2000-2001.

Rahimi’s research examines the relationship between culture, religion and politics. His book, Theater-State and Formation of the Early Modern Public Sphere in Iran: Studies on Safavid Muharram Rituals, 1590-1641 C.E. (Brill 2011), studies the relationship between ritual, public space and state power in early modern Iranian history. Rahimi has been an expert guest on various media programs like The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, BBC and CNN, in addition to NPR and On the Media. Also, he has been a visiting scholar at the Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Freie Universität Berlin, and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His current research project is on the relationship between digital culture, politics and religion.

Get in touch with UCSD Global Seminars

Study Abroad UC San Diego
University Center 409
9500 Gilman Drive #0095
La Jolla, California 92093-0095
Phone: (858) 534-1123
Email: globalseminar@ucsd.edu
VAC: http://vac.ucsd.edu

Find us on Social Media


Global Seminars Facebook page Global Seminars Instagram Global Seminars Twitter Global Seminars Pinterest