Vienna, Prague, Budapest: Politics, Culture and Identity in Central Europe


The term Central Europe evokes the names of Freud and Mahler; Kafka and Kundera; Herzl, Lukács, and Konrád. In politics, it evokes images of revolution and counter-revolution, ethnic nationalism, fascism, and communism. Both culture and politics, in fact, were deeply embedded in the structures of empire (in our case, the Habsburg Monarchy)--structures which both balanced and exacerbated ethnic, religious, and social struggles--in modern state formation, and in the emergence of creative and dynamic urban centers, of which Vienna, Budapest, and Prague were the most visible. This course seeks to put all of these elements into play--empire, nation, urban space, religion, and ethnicity--in order to illustrate what it has meant to be modern, creative, European, nationalist, or cosmopolitan since the 19th century. It engages current debates on nationalism and national identity; the viability of empires as supra-national constructs; urbanism and modern culture; the place of Jews in the social and cultural fabric of Central Europe; migration; and authoritarian and violent responses to modernity.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; AS SD I; FA HUM; AR HUM; AS SC