Society and Culture of East-Central and South Eastern Europe 16th – 20th Century

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Type of course

Lectures combined with discussions based on reading of obligatory texts.


The course was designed for the Master programme TEMA for MA students of History and Social Sciences. It is open to all ERASMUS and ECES students at the MA level. If space is still available, it will be opened to BA students.


1st seminar

a) 23. 2. – Introduction to the course – Explanation of the seminar format

Notion of the region, geographical, historical and cultural definitions

b) 26.2.- Notion of the region, geographical, historical and cultural definitions,

-question of modernity and backwardness

- historiography, concepts, maps,

2nd seminar

a) 2.3. Central Europe – birthplace of the Reform

Hussite movement and its followers : Unity of Brethren and neo-utraquists in Czech lands, German Reformation and its extension and impact in Austria, Hungaria, Bohemia and Poland, the reform tradition in Central Europe as a factor of the intellectual modernity??

Mandatory :

EVANS R.J.W., The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1550-1700, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1979.

- selected chapters

GAMINSKY, Howard A History of the Hussite Revolution, University of California Press, Berkley, 1967.

POLISENSKÝ J. V., “The Thirty Years War”, in Past and Present.1954; 6, pp. 31-43.

b) 5.3. Central Europe –Reformation and Counter Reformation,

- debate: Between toleration and Resistance
KRIZOVA M., „Herrnhut: City Upon a Hill in Turbulent Times“, in: Urbanistyka 5, 2000, special edition Peripheries or Crossroads of Cultures? (Towns of East-Central and South-Eastern Europe), the Fifth International Conference on Urban History, ed. Slawomir Gzell, Luďa Klusáková, Warszawa 2000, pp. 59-64.
KOWALSKA E., “Heretics and Proselytes: The Formation and Perception of Confessional Identity among Czech Protestants after 1781”, in “Meeting the Other. Studies in Comparative History. Acta Universitatis Carolinae – Philosophica et historica” 2-2003. Studia historica LVI. Praha: Karolinum Press 2003, pp.71-83.
KALIVODOVÁ Eva: “Attempts to transgress the confessional border, a possible way to the religious tolerance in the Bohemian and French kingdoms?” in HÁLFDANARSON Gudmundur, (ed.): Frontiers and Identities. Discrimination and Tolerance in Historical Perspective, Edizioni Plus, Pisa University Press, Pisa 2008.

3rd seminar

a) 09. 3. Baroque society and Culture in CEE and its impact on the European civilization

“baroque absolutism” and the struggle against the enemies of Christianity, baroque culture: art, piety, architecture, literature, role of the saints and their cults, popular culture, baroque versus classicism=>lead in the Enlightened absolutism


AGNEW Hugh, The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Hoover Institution Press, Stanford, Los Angeles, 2004. (part II : Golden Ages and Times of darkness)

SCOTT, H.M., Enlightened Absolutism, Reform and Reformers in Later Eighteenth-Century Europe, The University of Michigan Press, 1993.

selected chapters

Optional :

BIRELEY, Robert: Religion and Politics in the Age of Counterreformation. Emperor Ferdinand II, William Lamormaini S. J. and the formation of the Imperial policy, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1981.

TAPIE, V.-L., L’Europe de Marie-Thérèse : du Baroque aux Lumières, Paris, Fayard, 1973.
b) 12.3. Baroque society and Culture in CEE

- debate : central European exceptionality-comparative view on the early modern European courts and monarchies

4th seminar

a) 16. 3. Bourgeois society in Central Europe

-the heritage of the Enlightened absolutism, the question of the Citizenship in Central Europe -neither the English model, neither the French model, prolongation of the Ancien Regime in Central Europe until second half of the 19th century, |Metternich and Bach – reactionary absolutism, importance of  the national building process in the CEE and SEE history

BRAUDEL F., Civilization and Capitalism, vol. III: The Perspective of the World (1984, originally published in French, 1979.)


BARMEYER Heide, „Bismarck and the Origins of the Modern Welfare State“, in: Jensen Henrik (ed.): The Welfare State, Past, Present, Future, Clioh´s Workshop II/, Edizioni Plus, Universita di Pisa, 2002, p.87-111.

CHIROT Daniel, The Origins of Backwardness in Eastern Europe, Economics and Politics from the Middle Ages until the Early Twentieth Century, University of California Press, London, 1989.
b) 19. 3. Bourgeois society in Central Europe

- discussion of the reading questions

LOTTES G., „From Non-Observance to Consent: A Neglected Aspect of Early Modern Law Formation“ in: Günther Lottes, Eero Medijainen, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson (ed.): Making, Using and Resisting the Law. Edizioni Plus, Pisa University Press, Pisa 2008,pp. 145-157-
BRUBAKER, Rogers: “Citizenship as Social Closure”, in: Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany, Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 21-34. (reader text)
MACKINDER Halford J.: „The Freedom of Nations”, in: Democratic Ideals and Reality Ed. by Anthony J. Pearce, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1962, p. 148-181.- (reader text)
5th seminar

a) 23. 3. Inventing "National Cultures" in the CEE and SEE

The national cultures in the CEE and SEE are results of the “national renewal” in the 19th century. Old traditions were restored, created or reinvented in order to legitimize the “historical” claims of these small nations.
Mandatory :

E. J. HOBSBAWM, T. RANGER (eds.), The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge 1983.

Optional :

N. WINGFIELD (ed.), Creating the Other: Ethnic Conflict and Nationalism in Habsburg Central Europe, New York 2003.

b) 26.3. Nationalism, patriotism and the new society of the public sphere

-discussion of the reading questions ( to be speciefied)

6th seminar

a) 30. 3. Austro-hungarian society at the turn of the century

-multi-ethnic society and its conflicts : the Czech-German problem, The Czech-Hungarian antagonism, Jews and anti-Semitism, regional particularism or political centralism?, political scene- position in delay between conservatism and progress, cultural elites and politics, rise of socialism and the birth of the proletarian class in the CEE
Mandatory reading will be selected from:

COHEN Gary B., „Nationalist Politics and the Dynamics of State and Civil Society in the Habsburg monarchy, 1867-1914“, in: Central European History, 40, 2007, p. 241-278.


MOLL Martin, „A Vulnerable Empire: The Habsburg Monarchy in the European Power system, 1815-1918“, in: Ellis Steven (ed.): Empires and States in European Perspective, Clioh´s Workshop II/6, Edizioni Plus, Universita di Pisa, 2002, p. 177-197.

ZAHRADNIKOVA Marie, „ Czech Jewishness as a problem of mixed Identity“, in : "We" and "the Others": European Societies in Search of Identity, Studies in Comparative History, Studia historica LIII, AUC, Philosophica et Historica 1–2000, Luďa Klusáková (ed.), Karolinum, Prague 2004, p. 167-193.
b) 2.4. Austro-hungarian society at the turn of the century – urban culture; literature as a source (Sandor Marai, Elias Canetti, Stephan Zweig and others)

- discussion of the sources and literature

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