CFP: Czech and European Music between Political Agitation and Autonomy 1938–1968

Student workshop at the Czech Academy of Sciences, 22–24 September 2022

All European societies had to respond to the major political upheavals, wars and crises of the 20th century, with some parallels and differences coming to light. In changing political systems – during the Nazi terror as well as under state socialism – musicians, composers and audiences either sought to maintain their autonomy or opened up to political agitation. The workshop aims to explore how aspects of autonomy and agitation are reflected in the practice of composition and music making. To this end, a comparative approach is taken by examining different repertoire from before, during and after World War II.

Possible fields of research include but are not limited to:

  • Popular music including musical theater and film music
  • Counterculture and resistance, possibilities and limitations of cultural transfer
  • Persecuted musicians during and after the Holocaust
  • Cultural memory and forgetting, the myth of Zero Hour (Stunde null)
  • The Iron Curtain as a problem and a challenge in Europe: divided Germany, Yugoslavia between the blocs, Soviet and American influences
  • The works of individual personalities such as Bohuslav Martinů or Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Music history “from below”: everyday culture and media in transformation
  • Youth cultures from swing youth to the emerging hippie movement
  • The politics of folk music movements

The workshop is aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students including doctoral candidates at the early stages of their research. Applications should include an “Expression of interest” in one of the proposed fields (1 page) and information on the applicant’s university status (study program and current semester). The working language is English; proficiency of English at least at level B2 is required.


  • Submissions are accepted until 15 April 2022 [extended] to
  • The results of the selection will be announced by 30 April 2022.
  • Preparatory kick-off meeting in early summer 2022 online.
  • Workshop in Prague, 22–24 September 2022: gives the opportunity to discuss student presentations with peers as well as with experienced researchers.
  • Online publication of the workshop results as open access in early 2023. The format can be agreed on individually, it ranges from a traditional academic paper to a video or performative contribution.

Travel and accommodation costs can be partially covered. Students of Charles University can obtain ECTS credits. Students of other universities may also obtain credit points, however, this is subject to agreement between each student’s home university and Charles University. To learn more about this option, please contact us individually (contact person at Charles University: Vojtěch Frank,

Keynote speaker: Wolfgang Rathert, University of Munich (LMU)

Workshop leaders: Tereza Havelková, Charles University; Jelka Vukobratović, Zagreb Academy of Music;

This event is funded by the Czech Academy of Sciences funding scheme Strategy AV21: “Anatomy of European Society” and is organized by David Vondráček (Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History) in collaboration with Charles University Prague, Faculty of Arts, with the University of Munich (LMU), and the University of Zagreb, Academy of Music.

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