The basic task of this department is to undertake comprehensive research on the history of Czech literature and theatre from the end of the First World War to the present.
After department chair Pavel Janoušek won the Praemium Academiae in 2019, activities of the department were organised into three interrelated working groups:
1) one team, conducting research on 20th century literature within the auspices of interdisciplinary project Art–Gesture–Argument, focuses on the relationship between poetics and politics in interwar culture and art;
2) another team conducts research on contemporary (post-1989) literary history;
3) and a third team, which conducts research on modern Czech theatre, focuses mainly on the relationship between theatre and the dramatic text.
The aim of the department is to create individual and, above all, collective publications, which serve not only to lay out the essential facts and interpretive analysis of a particular issue, and map out its specific historical forms, but also to invite contemporary Czech and foreign thinkers to participate in an active discussion on literature and theatre. Department members are directly involved in co-creating the image of Czech culture, and in the formation of national memory, as well as taking part in its critical self-reflection.
The department under its current title was founded in May 2010, but in direct connection with previous research in its field. Its history thus dates back to 1990, when the Department of Contemporary Literature was newly established under the leadership of Pavel Janoušek, whose first task was to map post-war literature.