Ideological Orientation and Political Views of Czech Underground Culture

February 4, 2010 - 17:30 - 19:00
Nador u. 11
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Martin Machovec: Ideological Orientation and Political Views and Standpoints of Representatives of Czech Underground Culture, 1969-1989 (Underground and Dissent – Allies or Enemies?)

The paper deals about a variety of political ideas that existed in Czech underground community, and about the relation of the community to the movement of Charter 77. First, the sources of ideological inspiration for I. M. Jirous's “underground man...ifesto” Report on the Third Czech Musical Revival (1975) are discussed (J. Nuttal, R. M. Rygulla, M. Duchamp, the whole of “alternative culture” of the West on the 1960s).

The principal importance of Jirous's “manifesto” is then compared with the extreme leftist views of the best known Czech underground poet, philosopher and essayist Egon Bondy as they found its counterweight in Christianity that was surprisingly influential in Czech underground. Jiří Němec's essay New Chances for Freedom (1979) is quoted, and the outstanding position of Czech underground community within Charter 77 is discussed. Finally the influence of the two initiatives of Czech underground - The Letter of Forty Charter 77 Signatories to Charter Spokesmen (1987) and Petr Placáks Manifesto of Bohemian Children (1988) upon Charter 77 is dealt about.

Martin Machovec is a well-known literary critic, translator, editor and expert on the Czech underground scene.
The Counter-Culture seminar itself, combined with a guest lecture series, offers an introduction into the major trends in the theory of sub-culture and an overview of the main developments in East-Central Europe from the 1960s to the post-communist transition. It is focusing on the alternative musical scene in the sense of a Gesamtkunstwerk, i.e. analyzing its complex linkages to other art branches, alternative theatre, performance art, film, literature. The course intends to place these movements into their respective socio-cultural settings.