Events: Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Jan Mrázek

February 02, 2017

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University will host a lecture by Jan Mrázek titled “Czechs on Ships: Present and Past, Traveling and Writing 1867-2016,” on Feb. 14, 2017, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at Faura Hall AVR, Ateneo de Manila University. The lecture is open to the public.

Mrázek’s abstract reads: “The lecture juxtaposes voyages of Czechs to Southeast Asia in colonial times and the lecturer’s recent voyage on a container ship, the Titan, from Rotterdam to Singapore. The Titan belongs to a French company, the officers were Croatians, and the crew Filipino. More a poetics of ship travel than its history, the lecture explores the movement between, and the interpenetration of, past and present, imagination and physical actuality, writing and traveling, all at once. With a Czech accent it reflects on size (especially the titanic and the miniature), speed, time, fairy tales, and modernity; on containers, classes, nations, and empires. How can our own journeys help us grasp more intensely the experiences of past travelers, as well as our relationship with them, our nearness and our distance? How can old travelogues today enrich our perception of ships, the sea, the world, our travels? How is the past present, how is it gone? The lecture does not aim to theorize but to perform these questions. It is really just about ships.”

Jan Mrázek is Associate Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He has published widely on Indonesian and Thai performing and visual arts, including the book Phenomenology of a Puppet Theatre: Contemplations on the Art of Javanese Wayang Kulit. His more recent research concerns his fellow Czechs who traveled to the Malay Archipelago in the late colonial period and their writings, from travelogues to fiction and poetry. The project involves reading of texts and archival materials as well as traveling in the footsteps of the writers. Related publications include “Czech Tropics” (Archipel, 2013) and “Returns to the Wide World: Errant Bohemian Images of Race and Colonialism,” to appear in Studies in Travel Writing. 

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Thomson Reuters (ISI), Scopus, EBSCO, and the Directory of Open Access Journals. For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit or email

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