Programs in Slovak Studies in North America

Slovak Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is the only university in the United States where students can take Slovak language and culture classes and opt to receive a Minor in Slovak Studies <http://www.pitt.edu/~votruba/mss/mss.html>. People from other colleges in the region can and do cross-register each year, the Slovak Studies Program has welcomed students, professors, and employees from half a dozen of them. Students sometimes come from universities around the country for a semester or two on a FLAS scholarship. People who meet the OLLI criteria are welcome to audit (almost all have chosen to participate fully) all the SSP classes and do so every year.

The practical language courses offered each semester by the Slovak Studies Program are Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Slovak. The department also teaches intensive Slovak language courses in the summer.

Parallel with the Slovak language classes, the Slovak Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh, also offers culture and history courses each semester, including Slovak Transatlantic Cultures; A Cultural History of Slovakia; Slovak, Czech, and Central European Cinema; The Year Communism Crumbled; A Survey of Slovak Literature and Culture. The SSP holds the largest collection of Slovak films outside of Central Europe <http://www.pitt.edu/~votruba/sstopics/slovakfilmsinhillmandecades.html>.

The Slovak Studies Program maintains a webpage with information about its current course offerings, events, the Slovak film collection, and pages with answers to cultural and historical queries of broader interest that the SSP has received.

Slovak Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh: http://www.pitt.edu/~votruba
Program description provided by Dr. Martin Votruba


John Carroll University-Slovak Studies

Slovak studies began at John Carroll University in Spring 1982 with a culture/civilization course on Czecho-Slovakia, somewhat more than half of which concerned the Slovak area. Such courses for credit which focused on the country proper and also on Slovaks in American history, culture, and society continued into the recent past. Indeed, one offering combined study of that country with Slovak history and heritage in the United States through modern times during John Carroll's centennial celebrations (1986) as part of a tribute to ethnic groups that have distinguished the Cleveland area.

Formal Slovak language study was first offered in Fall 1983 with the arrival from Slovakia of the first Fulbright Visiting Lecturer of Slovak Language and Culture under the auspices of the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES). For the next twelve years six such Slovak faculty taught language courses for academic credit during the day and in evenings once a week and for free for the Greater Cleveland area community. Various related cultural activities were also presented at John Carroll and in the Cleveland area during this period -- exhibits, films, and even a concert by the Slovak violinist Peter Michalica during John Carroll's centennial celebrations. The six Fulbright Lecturers from Slovakia were in order: Dr. Eva Odzganova, Dr. Alzbeta Moravcikova, Dr. Darina Urbankova, Dr. Tatiana Jarosova, Dr. Adela Bohmerova (all from Bratislava), and Dr. Daniela Slancova (from Presov).

Since the conclusion of the Fulbright program, Slovak language has continued to be offered as a part of the Slavic languages area of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Cultures for which Fr. Gerald J. Sabo, S.J. has been responsible since Fall 1981; for a few years, Dr. Tatiana Jarosova, as part-time faculty, also offered Slovak language courses. Since Fall 1996 Fr. Sabo has been offering every semester literature-in-translation courses, in which works of Slovak literature (along with others from Russian and Czech) are read in courses on short fiction of the nineteenth century and also since 1900. In Spring 1999 Fr. Sabo and a department colleague, Dr. Hélène Sanko, team-taught a course on Slovak and Ukrainian tales and stories in translation.

On April 30, 1999 the University dedicated the Slovak Heritage Room (http://www.jcu.edu/library/Slovak/shw2.htm) in Grasselli Library through the generosity of the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association. Two Cleveland-area-based, Slovak national fraternals -- the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association and the First Catholic Slovak Union -- and several individuals have contributed money for John Carroll's Slovak Educational Trust Fund, administered by Fr. Sabo. Slovak language and literature-in-translation courses for credit continue to be offered each semester by Fr. Sabo at John Carroll University.

Program description provided by Fr. Gerald J. Sabo, S.J. Information updated: 15 June 2001


University of Ottawa-Chair in Slovak History and Culture

The Chair was founded in 1990 as a result of contributions from Slovak communities in the Western Hemisphere. The fund-raising was done by Dr. Joseph M. Kirschbaum through the aegis of the Slovak World Congress. The purpose of the Chair is to teach the history of the Slovaks the world over in an unbiased fashion. When the fund-raising was begun in the 1980's, Slovakia was a part of Communist Czechoslovakia, and Slovak history was taught in this context.

The first (and current) holder of the chair is M. Mark Stolarik (Ph.D., Minnesota, 1974), formerly President and CEO of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia. He is a specialist on the history of Slovak immigration to North America. He teaches courses and seminars on Slovak history and on immigrant history at the University of Ottawa. He has also built up the library and archival collections of the University with several thousand books and periodicals about Slovakia and the Slovaks (largely in Slovak) and with the papers of the late politician and scholar Dr. Joseph Stasko, the writer Ludovit Kandra, the pioneer fraternalists Andrej Kucera, Jan Rondos and Andrej Potocky, as well as with the papers of the diplomat and scholar Dr. Joseph Mikus and the fraternalist and publicist Imrich Stolarik. The papers of Stasko and Mikus have been processed and are available for research at Morisset Library, Archives and Special Collections, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada K1N 6N5, 613-562-5910. The catalogue of Morriset Library is available on-line through the University of Ottawa's webpage: http://www.uottawa.ca.

Program description provided by Dr. M. Mark Stolárik

See also a description of programs in the 21-27 September 2009 Slovak Spectator