The 4-credit Humanities II course is a required course for Geneseo students and satisfies the Western Civilization general education requirement of SUNY. The course will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, one of Europe's great cultural centers and home to some of history's greatest art and literature. The program runs in May and June--dates vary from year to year. Students in Humanities study western literature, history, culture and institutions primarily through great works of Western European thought from 1600 - present. In Prague, a greater emphasis is placed on Central European contributions to western civilization. Students will also explore Vienna, home to great composers, literary figures and the major seat of power of the Hapsburg Monarchy.
Virtually untouched by the ravages of World Wars I and II, Prague looks remarkably as it did 600 years ago. Getting around the city is easy. Czech public transport is punctual, fast, and very reasonably priced. there are many 'crown jewels' of Prague, such as the Jewish Quarter of Josefov, the Prague Castle or Hradcany, which stands on the hill overlooking the city, and the beautiful Charles Bridge with its blackened religious sculptures frozen in time.
In Prague we will visit sites of scholarly and intellectual significance, such as the Klementinum Library, where scientists created not only precise time pieces, but also perfected weather forecasting. We will also visit memorials to those murdered by the occupying Nazi forces during WWII, the first protestant church, and the Municipal House of Prague, which houses some of Alfons Mucha's previously unseen work. Outside of Prague, we will visit the silver mining town to Kutná hora, and the Terezín concentration camp and museum. Kutná hora is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage city.
From Prague, we will got to Budapest, where we will tour the large Budapest Jewish Quarter, ride the funicular up to the Budapest Castle grounds and take a tour of the city on foot. We will also visit the House of Terror, which is a museum dedicated to the suffering of the Hungarian people under Nazism and Communism. There will be time to sample the famous Hungarian goulash and visit the elegant Budapest cafes, which still look as they did at the beginning of the 20th century. From Budapest, we move on via hydrofoil to Vienna, a city which is home to the world's finest music, food and culture. We will visit the St. Stephen's Church catacombs, Sigmund Freud's former apartment and clinic, and the Schönbrunn Palace, home to the Hapsburg Monarchy. The Hundertwasser House and numerous museums are also possibilities for students to explore. In both Budapest and Vienna, students will receive city transport passes so that they may explore the city on their own.
During our stay in Europe, students will take a day trip by train to Dresden, Germany, which was virtually destroyed by Allied bombing in February 1945. The city came under Soviet control after the war and remained so until 1989.