The history of the Department of Civics goes back to 1946, when the Faculty of Education of MU was founded. At that time, the Seminar of Philosophy was established, which was led by the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka. However, two years later, after the coup d'état of 1948, he was forced to leave Masaryk University (and, later, the official Czech academic milieu). Over time, the seminar was gradually transformed and, in 1990, it was renamed the Department of Civics.
Today, the department offers undergraduate programmes in Civics and Basics of Social Studies for teachers and teaching assistants of elementary and secondary schools. The knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired during the undergraduate (bachelor’s) and graduate (master’s) programmes constitute the foundation of competencies for elementary school civics teachers. This is matched by the diverse focus of the programmes, which provide students with the basics of philosophy and ethics, political science and government, economics, and sociology. In elective courses, students can develop their knowledge of media literacy, municipal politics, financial literacy, and other subjects.
The department also regularly offers courses in the English language, such as Ethical Issues of the Holocaust and Genocide and Politics of Representation: Remembering and Forgetting in Contemporary Europe.
Students have the opportunity to study abroad thanks to Erasmus partnerships with several European universities. (For more information, see the web page of the MU Centre for International Cooperation.
The staff of the department and its broad disciplinary focus mean that the research is very interdisciplinary. Individual members are engaged in research and publication activities in their own specific subject fields (ethics, sociology, philosophy, didactics). At the same time, the department strives to support the application of its research in several ways. For example:
- Štěrba is involved in work on the revision of Czech curricular documents. He was a member of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports working group for revising the curriculum.
- Štěrba and Dr. Lesňák are active in producing teaching materials, schoolbooks, and methodologies for civic education in elementary schools in the Czech Republic and also Slovakia.
The department also has common research themes and contexts which all its members are involved in within their individual and joint interdisciplinary activities. These are:
- The ethical dimension of teaching work.
- The role of the teacher of civic education in times of crisis (environmental, political, economic and social).
- Roles and forms of (active) citizenship in contemporary society.
Head of Department