Univerzita Karlova (Charles University – CUNI)

Charles University in Prague (CUNI) is the oldest university in Central Europe. Founded in 1348, Charles University now consists of 17 faculties and is home to over 51.000 students and employs 4653 academics.

It ranks among the best 150 universities world-wide. Regarding the territorial focus of the KNOTS project, CUNI has two institutes which specialise in Southeast Asian Studies: the Department of the East Asian Studies and the Department of South and Central Asia, both part of the Faculty of Arts. This faculty is arguably the most important and established institution in Czechia in the field of Asian and Oriental Studies - the Institute of the Middle Eastern Studies also belongs there. All these three departments "cover" territorially all important civilizations of Asia, and as such they are of high importance. In their studies these institutes place a strong focus on the languages, literatures, histories and other humanities´ aspects. The two entities, which include the study of Southeast Asia, i.e. : the Department of the East Asian Studies and the Department of South and Central Asia, do not overlap but rather aptly complement one another.

As there is no Department of Southeast Asian Studies at Charles University per se, Vietnamese Studies is traditionally affiliated with the Department of East Asian Studies (in Czech it is actually called the Institute of the Far East), for Vietnam is traditionally perceived as part of the Far East and the Confucian sphere / Sinosphere, while Indonesian Studies has always been regarded as part of Greater India in the Czech academic setting. Thus it started to be linked to Indology many decades and, as a result, today represents part of the Institute of South and Central Asia. However, there is a new, emerging platform for Southeast Asian Studies at the Faculty of Arts, where an increased need for a similar area foundation is being reflected. Recently, both institutes display a more pronounced tendency towards social anthropological (and political) issues in both fields to address the problems of the modern world, in addition to the traditional humanities´ approach.


Tomáš Petrů

TOMAS PETRU is primarily affiliated as Research Fellow with the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (since March 2014). Previously, he worked as Head of the Department of Asian Studies at Metropolitan University Prague (2009-2014). Currently, Tomáš´s secondary affiliation is with the Institute of South and Central Asia at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, where he works a part-time assistant professor of Indonesian Studies, teaching courses on Indonesian history and politics. He has also been recently named the guarantor of the program´s entrance process.

In his research, he focuses on the interaction of politics, society and religion in Indonesia and the Malay world, studying mainly the socio-political implications of the rise of political Islam and radical Islamism in the public arena in Indonesia and Malaysia. His second research track includes ethno-historical issues, such as cultural syncretism and hybridization in Maritime Southeast Asia.

Barbora Jirková

BARBORA JIRKOVÁ is a doctoral student and researcher within the PhD program in History and Cultures of Africa and Asia at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. Her research on traditional Vietnamese religious beliefs focuses on mountain and water deities in pre-colonial Vietnam, and their position in the state approved pantheon. In the course of her studies she has conducted several research trips to Hanoi, Vietnam. Having background in cultural and social anthropology, she is also interested in current issues concerning the Vietnamese diaspora in Czechia. At present she teaches courses on Vietnamese history and literature at the Department of East Asian Studies, Charles University in Prague.

Marta Lopatková

Marta Lopatková is a doctoral candidate and lecturer at the Institute of East Asian Studies at Charles University in Prague, Czechia. In her research she focuses on history, colonialism, intellectual and social life in French Indochina with an emphasis on gender studies and modernity. She also studies modern Vietnamese society and gender and equality issues. In 2009 she graduated in Vietnamese studies at Charles University and continued her Master´s program in Ethnology at the same university. She received her Master´s degree in 2012. During her the course of Bachelor´s, Master´s and Ph.D. programs she repeatedly received extended scholarships at Vietnam National University in Hanoi. She regularly presents at international conferences including the 8th EuroSEAS Conference in Vienna in 2015.