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

Breaking Through Into the Light: Junot Díaz and His Way to the Minds of the Masses

in Views

By Anna Rybníčková

The urge to be heard is an old struggle, especially for minorities. With the rise of the importance of cinema, contemporary TV and producers such as Netflix or HBO, a necessary space has been provided for people of various ethnicities to be heard and seen. And yet, how many classic Hollywood movies can you name which portray Black, Hispanic, Asian or a gay person as the main character? Black Panther is a notable exception. But why is that the case, when 12.4% of the US population is black (that is 39 million people) and the Hispanic community is even larger – 17.6%, (over 55 million people)? This article focuses on those 55 million and tries to explore the impact one of its literary representatives – Junot Díaz, has had on the Latino community and on the US population in general. Keep Reading

Aggie for a Year: Yet Another Letter from Texas

in Other

By Tereza Walsbergerová

Me and my CEFT guardian angel Lynette in front of the Kyle Field football stadium before my very first Aggie football game.

 

Dear reader,

I thought that since this is supposed to be a letter, I would treat it as one and address y’all properly. I have only been in College Station for a couple of months and it feels like I have been here for years. Yet – even though I have been burned by the Texan sun, soaked through by the Texan rain, licked by Texan dogs, fed Texan kolaches, and learned Texan slang… I do not believe I will ever stop feeling strange about being on a different continent, almost 9.000 kilometers away from Brno. Let me start from the beginning, though; who am I and what am I doing in Texas? My name is Tereza and I am currently in the PhD program (Literatures in English) at the Department of English and American Studies, MUNI. I have been given the opportunity to relocate to Texas for a year and attend the MA in English program at Texas A&M through the William J. Hlavinka Fellowship at Texas A&M University in order to experience American culture and interact with the local Czech Texan community.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Between the Book and the Movie

in Reviews

By Patricija Fašalek

If you try and search Milan Kundera in relation to America in Google, the same paragraph repeats itself in different articles. What originates in writings of New York Times and seems to be widely agreed upon: “In the 1980’s, Milan Kundera has done for his native Czechoslovakia what Gabriel Garcia Marquez did for Latin America in the 1960’s and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn did for Russia in the 1970’s. He has brought Eastern Europe to the attention of the Western reading public, and he has done so with insights that are universal in their appeal.” Most American newspapers praise the author’s writing and are deeply intrigued by his approach to story-telling in his novels. However, since his book The Unbearable Lightness of Being was published in English, his appeal to US readers led to what could be described as a natural consequence of consecutive events: they decided to adapt his book into a movie.

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Czech-Moravian Heritage in Texas

in Views

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

in Views

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

in Views

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

in Views

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

in Views

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

in Views

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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