Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

A photo of Jaroslav Hasek.



The World of Jaroslav Hašek
Reserve Your Seat Register for Zoom Webinar (Day One) Register for Zoom Webinar (Day Two)

Location Note

1219 International Affairs Building
420 W 118th St, 12th Floor

This is a hybrid (in-person/virtual) event. Registration required for attendance. Please note that all attendees must follow Columbia’s COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines. Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community. To that end, all visiting alumni and guests must meet the University requirement of full vaccination status in order to attend in-person events. Vaccination cards may be checked upon entry to all venues. All other attendees may participate virtually on Zoom or YouTube.

Please join the East Central European Center, the Department of Slavic Languages, Czech Center New York, the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Harriman Institute for The World of Jaroslav Hašek, a conference at Columbia University.

This conference will draw together leading scholars from various disciplines to reflect on the life, work, and ongoing relevance of the great Czech author, Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923). Best known for the unfinished long comic narrative, The Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk in the Great War (Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války, 1921-1923), Hašek was many things at many moments: dilettante, humorist, satirist, journalist, hoaxer, bohemian, anarchist politician, Bolshevik commandant, and turncoat. His legacy remains unclear. While a household name in the Czech Republic, a key influence on later international fiction (especially on war novels such as Catch 22), and a crucial voice for articulating the role of stupidity in the modern world, for most scholars Hašek appears as a marginal figure on the world stage. He does not fit into familiar currents. Taking place on the 100th anniversary of the publication of the final part of Švejk, as well as of the author’s death, the conference will venture new answers to persistent questions about Hašek’s legacy: How has Hašek been received differently across the world? What was his relation to global modernism? What does Hašek have to offer to literary theory or philosophy? To what extent does the world we live in today resemble the one to which Hašek gave such a devastating representation?


Day One

Friday, April 21, 2023

Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room

1219 International Affairs Building

420 W 118th St, New York, NY 10027


9:35 am | Welcome & Introduction

  • Christopher Harwood, Columbia University

9:45 am – 12:00 pm | Session I: Narrative Structure of Švejk

  • Bohumil Fořt (Institute for Czech Literature, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic), Strategy and Effect: Narrative and Semantic Techniques in Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk
  • Peter Steiner (University of Pennsylvania), Josef Švejk: The Man of Many Turns
  • Daniel Pratt (McGill University), Against History: Hašek and the Problem of Historiography


1:30 – 3:00 pm | Session II: Biographical and Local Context

  • Jomar Hønsi, Researching Jaroslav Hašek and His Writings in Archives and Libraries
  • Richard Změlík (Univerzita Palackého), Prague Topography in The Good Soldier Švejk from the Point of View of Literary Cartography


3:30 – 5:00 pm | Session III: Versions of Švejk to the East

  • Mark Lipovetsky (Columbia University), Švejk Among Soviet Tricksters
  • Charles Sabatos (Yeditepe University), The Destinies of Aslan Asker Şvayk in Turkish Translation


5:30 – 7:00 pm | Keynote Speech and Discussion

  • Jean-Michel Rabaté (University of Pennsylvania), The “Stupid Joke” from Anthropology to Satire: Kant, Freud, Hašek, Badiou


Day Two

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room

1219 International Affairs Building

420 W 118th St, New York, NY 10027


10:30 am – 12:00 pm | Session IV: Hašek, Švejk as Seen by Authors of Prose Fiction

  • Sergey SoloukhNothing Will Happen to AnyoneThe Romance/Novel of Jaroslav Hašek and Jarmila Mayerová
  • Anna Förster (Universität Erfurt), Beyond Philology: Literary Contributions to Hašek Studies


1:30 – 3:00 pm | Session V: Hašek, Švejk and Animals

  • Jindřich Toman (University of Michigan), Photomontage as Visual Mystification: Jaroslav Hašek and The World of Animals
  • Václav Paris (The City University of New York), Hašek’s Hybrids


3:30 – 5:00 pm | Session VI: Unexpected Parallels

  • Erica Weitzman (Northwestern University), Švejk/Antigone
  • František A. Podhajský, Realism in a Modernist Key: Švejk and Company


Event Video (Day One)

Event Video (Day Two)