Poslední úprava: David Lee Robbins, Ph.D. (14.01.2018)
The course is composed of a lecture (45 minutes) and a seminar (practicals) that lasts 90 minutes. Lecture begins at 12:30, followed by 45 minute break and a 90 minute seminar.
Lecture: 12:30 - 13:15, Jinonice, classroom
Seminar: 14:00 - 15:30, Jinonice, classroom
Students can attend 5 optional trips related to course subjects and led by the course‘ instructors. For the description of trips and schedule, see the bottom of this text.
GOALS OF THE COURSE
European students may have an impression that they went over the period of 17th – 20th centuries in Central Europe in great detail.
However, the purpose of the course is to provide novel interpretations of Central Europe and its dynamics.
The study of Central Europe has been misleadingly neglected in both Western Europe and the U.S. Prior to 1945, the cultural and geo-political construct of "Central Europe" comprised Germany, the (former) Hapsburg Empire (Austria, the Czech lands, Hungary, Slovenia), and Poland. After 1945, the Cold War displaced this "Central Europe" concept by redividing the continent into Communist "Eastern Europe" and non-Communist "Western Europe," Even now, decades after the end of the Cold War in 1989, the older conceptual formation of "Central Europe" has not quite been recovered as a geographic, cultural, and analytic category. Instead, we often hear about "East Central Europe" or "East Europe and the Balkans."
Yet Central Europe, through its multiculturalism, resistance to political consolidation, and other characteristic regional dynamics, has foundationally influenced the shape of 21st-century Europe.
There, in "Enlightenment" ideas were institutionalized in state structures and practices. There, ethnic nationalism arose and prospered, and from there spread continent- and world-wide. There, the practices of the paternalistic welfare state were initiated and tested. There, Marxism and Communism first provided a popular alternative to economic, political, and diplomatic exploitation by "capitalists" who through unrepresentative institutions maintained control over their states and some even over entire empires.
The history of Central Europe from the 19th century onward is a history of painful interactions between various ethnic groups - so-called "nations" in the European terminology (as opposed to states that are political entities.)
hese ethnic nations did not exist from time immemorial. In fact, up to the 19th century people defined themselves by their religion and homeland. The early 19th century brought an enormous change. Under the influence of the Romantic movement, people began to view themselves as members of groups connected by an indissoluble bond of language and unique culture. Patriotism came under attack by nationalism.
Nationalism was especially strong in multinational states where one ethnic group, not necessarily the most numerous, dominated other ethnic groups politically, economically, and culturally. Such was the case of the Austrian Empire, the largest political entity in Central Europe, the home of approximately nine ethnic groups. Under the influence of nationalism, the groups that historically had less influence started to rally around the idea of the uniqueness of each nation and of its right to exfolliate its potential free of imposition by another nation. They cultivated their language and culture vigorously, and aspired to greater self-government in the territory they inhabited. One must admit that nationalism had many positive results - even though these days we tend to interpret it in negative terms.
The Austrian Empire was not only threatened internally - it was also threatened from the outside by the longing of Germans to unite all the 35 independent states in which they lived into one great German Empire. This longing appeared for the first time in 1848, and it shook the very foundations of the Austrian Empire.It was then that the majority of Austrian Germans, the ruling class in the Austrian Empire, were so attracted by the idea of a liberal German state that they were willing to break up the Austrian Empire and to take that part of the Austrian Empire they inhabited "into Germany."
This danger was averted in 1848 but the German nation would not remain scattered for long. The so-called Second Empire was established in 1871 and it assumed the hegemony in Central Europe once enjoyed by the Austrian Empire.
How did the Czechs fare in this tumult? Did they extricate themselves from domination by Austrian Germans? What happened after the Austrian Empire fell apart in 1918? How did the Czechs fare then - prior to and during World War II? And why is it that half of Central Europe embarked on the Communist experiment after the war? Did this development have anything to do with the old ideology of nationalism?
We will try to address these questions by looking at interactions between the various peoples at all levels. For it was the conflicting interests of dominant (imperial) nations which ruled over subject nations in the Austrian Empire (i.e. Germans vs Czechs) that shaped the politics and culture of Central Europe.
Not all nations could attain their goals - at least not at the same time as all the others. That is the nature of the Central European experience - the notion that one cannot always get what one wants, that one must accept the circumstances and arrange oneself accordingly; the sense of the tragic, of things that must be and are beyond our control.
TRIPS and their schedule
March 2 concentration camp Terezín (day trip)
March 16 imperial castle Karlštejn and a hike in the vicinity (trip to Great America and Mexico limestone quarries)
March 23 hiking trip to Bohemian Paradise (Rock town of Hruboskalsko)
April 13 medieval silver-mining town Kutna hora and a Bone chapel (Ossuary) in Sedlec
April 20-22 two/three-day trip to Southern Bohemia: medieval town of Cesky Krumlov, Cistercian monastery Golden Crown and a nice hike through the countryside
plus optional one day in Salzburg
May 4-May 7 4-day trip to Vienna, capital of Austria
Poslední úprava: David Lee Robbins, Ph.D. (15.02.2017)
Hugh LeCaine Agnew, The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2004).
Isaiah Berlin, The Roots of Romanticism (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999).
Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical Atlas of Central Europe (University of Washington Press; Rev Exp edition, 2002).
Vaclav Havel, "The Power of the Powerless"
Essays supplied by the instructor from the following publications:
Mikuláš Teich, Bohemia in History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)
Jürgen Tampke, Czech-German Relations and the Politics of Central Europe, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
Jiří Musil, The End of Czechoslovakia, (Budapest: Central European University Press, 1995)
Eric Roman, Austria-Hungary and the Successor States: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present (New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2003).
Especially useful sections:
a) HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A-Z, pp. 383-582
b) Chronologies of the history of 5 successor countries, pp. 582-634
c) Rulers and Statesmen of 5 successor countries, pp. 637-650
Poslední úprava: David Lee Robbins, Ph.D. (15.02.2017)
Imperial Nations and Subject Peoples: Czechs in the Austrian Empire and After (17th - 21st ct)
Course supervisor: David L. Robbins, PhD
Instructors: Mgr. Marcela Janíčková, prof. David L. Robbins, PhD, Blanka Maderová, PhD
Recommended number of ECTS credits: 6
- midterm: 40% of the final grade
- final exam: 40% of the final grade
- presentation: 20% of the final grade
- make-up exams are possible
Two absences are permitted. If you are absent more times, you will be asked to write a paper to make up for the class(es) missed.
Session 1 Introduction
Session 2 Lecture: Enlightenment in theory
Session 3 Enlightenment in practice: reforms under Maria Teresa and Joseph II
Session 4 Romanticism as a backlash against Enlightenment
Session 5 Birth of Nationalism; its growth during the Napoleonic wars
Session 6 Czech national revival and its phases: development of language, synthesis of the Czech cultural tradition including the history of the Czechs,
creation of works that institutionalized Czech culture and formed Czech identity.
Weaknesses of the Czech national revival and gradual self-critique
Session 7 Springtime of Nations in the German Confederation – consequences of German unification movement on the relations between Bohemian Czechs and Bohemian Germans.
Plans for revamping of Austria
Session 8 Aftermath of the revolution of 1848 – Francis Joseph’s and Bach’s absolutism and its erosion
From constitutional monarchy to Austria-Hungary; beginning of the (Czech) political life in the Austrian Empire
Session 9 Czech politics and culture in Austria-Hungary from Ausgleich to 1910’s
Encounter of the "national culture" with cosmopolitan modernism
Session 10 Jews in Austria-Hungary (18th and 19th ct)
Session 11 WWI and Czech striving for independent Czechoslovakia
Session 12 Midterm exam
Session 13 First Czechoslovak Republic: experiment in building a pluralist society
State Right argument vs. right to national determination; Idea of the Czechoslovak nation state with minorities;
geography, demographics, political system, economic situation.
Session 14 Continuation: First Czechoslovak Republic: experiment in building a pluralist society
Session 15 Attitudes of Slovaks to Czechoslovakia and Czechs: from establishment of the republic to the Munich agreement of 1938
Session 16 Attitudes of Bohemian Germans to Czechoslovakia and Czechs in the 1920's: from refusal to acceptance, from negativism to activism.
Bohemian Germans in the 1930's: from autonomist goals to destruction of the First Czechoslovak Republic.
Session 17 WWII in the Czech lands: the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Session 18 Post-war changes in Central Europe and Czechoslovakia – crafting a welfare state:
changes of the political system, expulsion and resettlement of populations, coping with the past (retribution decrees and amnesty law), first nationalizations in the economy.
Session 19 Communist seizure of power in February 1948, Construction of the Communist Utopia
Attractions and realities of life in the communist society in the 1950's
Session 20 Causes and the program of the Prague Spring reform movement
Session 21 Czechoslovak experience under Normalization
Session 22 Velvet Revolution of 1989; political transformation
Session 23 Break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1993, establishment of the Czech Republic
Economic transformation and its crisis
Session 24 European Integration