Magazine created by students of the Department of English and American Studies at Masaryk University.

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Czech-Moravian Heritage in Texas

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By Clinton Machann

Before retiring as a professor of English at Texas A&M University in 2017, my principal academic interest was in the field of nineteenth-century British literature and culture, but my interest in the history of Czech – primarily Moravian – immigration to Texas and the Czech-Moravian community there is longstanding. It goes back to the days of my professional training in English literary studies. In fact, I had just completed my PhD in English at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1970s when I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to visit what was then Communist Czechoslovakia. Although unimpressed with Communist ideology and institutions in my journeys to the “old country” in 1976 and 1977, I did become fascinated by the possibility of studying the origins of the Czech-Moravian heritage of Texas, and I organized a symposium that was held in Temple, Texas in 1976. Temple is, among other things, the home of the Texas Czech fraternal organization SPJST (Slovanská podporující jednota státu Texas). Included in the symposium papers that were collected and published in 1979 was Robert Janak’s groundbreaking “Tombstone Inscriptions as a Source of Geographic Origins,” (1) which led to his own expanded work on that topic and which serves as one of the sources for Eva Eckert’s Stones on the Prairie: Acculturation in America (2). Also included were other essays which are related to the study of Czech-Moravian heritage in Texas: Rev. Alois J. Morkovsky, “The Church and the Czechs in Texas,” and Richard Michalek, “The Ambivalence of Ethnoreligion.” Another symposium relevant to the preservation of Czech-Moravian culture in Texas was entitled “Czech Music in Texas: A Sesquicentennial Symposium” (1986) and once again there was a published collection of papers, including one by Josef Škvorecký (3).

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Brexit Talks and Scotland’s Braveheart

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by Natália Poláková

In past issues, Re:Views has shed light on the UK’s recent referendum history. Indeed, the very first issue of our magazine reported on the Scottish independence referendum while successive ones have closely watched post-Brexit referendum machinations. The debate over the Brexit deal is still a tangled affair, far from a concluding phase, with a new row over the devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales sparking another series of brain-racking political agitation. Whether the Brexit talks can lead to a win-win outcome for both the UK and EU is yet to be seen.

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Alma Mater: University Experiences in the USA and Czech Republic

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By Colleen Kiefer Maher

When traveling or comparing cultures, it is the big differences that always get the attention. You might see pictures of the Charles Bridge or Prague Castle or practice nailing those tricky Czech letters. Of course, those are part of experiencing of the Czech Republic, but they are not all of it. For me, the most interesting part of traveling is the million little things that you only notice after living in and with another culture. It is the fashion you observe in stores and on the streets. It is opening up a regular laptop only to find the keyboard is completely unfamiliar. It is having to pay for ketchup in McDonald’s, while in America it is always free. It is that stick shift cars are more prevalent than ones with automatic transmission. Every one of these tiny differences is informed by, and informs, the culture you are in.

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Contextualizing the Czech-American Relationship in the Light of NATO and Military Partnership: Creation, Evolution, and Cooperation

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By Markéta Šonková

A shared appreciation of democratic ideals and human rights stood for one of the cornerstones of the foreign policies of the former Czechoslovakia and the U.S. as well as an ideological link between the two countries. At least this is what we learn when tracing the steps of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Woodrow Wilson that lead to the creation of the First Czechoslovak Republic. Those very ideals were brought back to the forefront after the Velvet Revolution when Václav Havel took the helm of the once again free Czechoslovak state. By the early 1990s, the geopolitical situation had, however, changed and it was necessary for the young post-Soviet state to become part of larger Western structures, such as NATO. Being part of NATO is still one of the cornerstones of Czech defense and foreign policy, even though under the first term of Miloš Zeman’s presidency, presidential diplomacy tried to move us more towards the East, and the U.S. under Donald Trump has turned more isolationist in its foreign policy approach. When re-examining the centenary of the Czech-American relationship, it is important to discuss the post-1989 era in which the Czech Republic, at least politically, entered in the West and forged an alliance that has changed its security outlook.

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The Cinematic American Dream: The Life and Films of Miloš Forman

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by Michaela Medveďová

Every time the United States attempts to make a rank of their best motion picture in the history of the silver screen, apart from classics such as Casablanca (1942), The Godfather (1972), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), or Forrest Gump (1994), there is another movie they always consider for one of the top positions – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). The groundbreaking film was not directed by an American, but by a Czech who fully represented the notion of the American dream. His name was Miloš Forman and even though last month, he passed away at the age of 86, his impressive, decades-long presence in the American cinematographic world deservedly earned him the status of a legend. Keep Reading

T.G Masaryk and the United States 1878-1918

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by Anna Herran

“I cherished the hope that in America, and with President Wilson particularly, good fortune would attend me. My personal and family ties with America were close. I had been there repeatedly, from 1878 onwards; and American democracy and the development of American civilization had aroused my lively interest from the beginning of my scientific and political career.”

-Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1)

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The Heavier the Borscht, the Lighter the Burden: Inaccuracies in Czech Representation on American Screens

in Reviews

By Tereza Walsbergerová

The United States is above all a country of immigrants, which is why it is desirable for American producers and filmmakers to include immigrant and foreign narratives in their stories. While the representation of the larger foreign-born populations in the US (e.g. Mexican, Chinese or Indian) has been constantly improving due to pressure from these communities, the misrepresentation of smaller populations (e.g. Polish or Czech) has not been considered such an issue. However, due to globalization and services such as Netflix bringing American films and TV shows to the rest of the world, producers may soon find themselves under pressure from even these smaller groups. When it comes to the representation of Czech characters and narratives on American screens, it is apparent that producers often do little research, if any, which results in depictions that are often stereotypical or inaccurate. This article offers an overview of inaccuracies in Czech representations on American television with special focus on Jane the Virgin (2014–) and its depiction of the character of Petra Solano.

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The Visiting Presidents

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by Patrícia Iliašová

Since 1918 until today, many presidents of Czechoslovakia (and subsequently Czech Republic) travelled to the United States or received the American presidents in Prague. This article brings an overview of the most significant visits and bonds established between the presidents of these two countries over the one hundred years of the existence of Czech-American relations. Keep Reading

A Complete Guide to Your Next Adventure

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Empire State Building. Photo credit: Barbora Sládková.

by Barbora Sládková

The Work & Travel program allows you to come to the USA and experience the culture up close through temporary work and travel opportunities. You have probably studied this country and its culture for countless hours anyway so why not see it for yourself?

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American and Czech Relations – Beyond Politics

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By Nika Göthová

Why do Americans come and study in the Czech Republic? How do they get here and what happens once they are here? How long does it take to get a visa and how do they feel about the people of central Europe? What reactions do inhabitants of Brno have about the Americans? What do the relations of these two groups look like in everyday life and everyday perceptions outside of the scope of embassies, politics and media? Keep Reading

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