Students will live and study in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which brought an end to 44 years of communism, Prague has been at the forefront of the sweeping social, cultural, and economic transformations of Central Europe. To help experience the culture and history of the region firsthand, students will participate in discussions, cultural events, and walking tours, as well as excursions to historic sites and towns both within and outside the Czech Republic.
The program’s academic focus will be on how social, cultural, and political forces shape human experience broadly and mental illness in particular. Through assigned readings, classroom discussions, and visits to psychiatric institutions in Prague, the group will explore, among many other topics, the political abuse of psychiatry under communism, the rise of eating disorders in post-communist Eastern Europe, and the radical means of treating sex offenders in the Czech Republic. Along the way, students will be asked to reflect on their pre-existing culturally-based assumptions regarding mental illness.