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Nationalism & Discourses of Objectivity:
The Humanities in Central Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century

Volume 5 Issue 2

Bálint Varga
Special Editor of the Thematic Issue

Contents

Articles

Gábor Almási    

Faking the National Spirit: Spurious Historical Documents in the Service of the Hungarian National Movement in the Early Nineteenth Century

Abstract

Abstract

In 1828, two Latin historical documents were published in the German-language Viennese journal Archiv für Geschichte, Statistik, Literatur und Kunst. Both concerned the age of Prince Gabriel Bethlen. One was a supportive letter written by James I King of England addressed to Bethlen with references to the deep affinity between Hungary and Transylvania, promising financial help for Bethlen’s war against the Habsburgs. The other was a report on the meeting of the Viennese secret council, during which the decision was reached to resolve “the Hungarian-Transylvanian question” by killing the Hungarian-speaking adult population. My goal in this essay is to prove the spurious nature of these documents through a historical analysis and point out anachronistic elements that throw into question their authenticity. As is often the case with forged texts, these documents reveal more about their own age and the political-ideological agenda of the national movement of the early nineteenth century than of early seventeenth-century Transylvania. By examining how these documents ended up in the Austrian journal of Baron Joseph Hormayr, I offer an opportunity to reflect not only on the ways in which history was used for nationalist agendas, but also on the paradoxes of contemporary Austrian patriotism.
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Miloš Řezník

The Institutionalization of the Historical Science betwixt Identity Politics and the New Orientation of Academic Studies: Wácslaw Wladiwoj Tomek and the Introduction of History Seminars in Austria

Abstract

Abstract

In this essay I examine the conceptual foundations of history seminars in Austria as they were developed by the Czech historian Wácslaw Wladiwoj Tomek at the beginning of the 1850s at the behest of the Viennese Ministry for Culture and Education. These conceptual premises were developed before the foundation of the Austrian Institute of Historical Research, so I discuss the indirect influence of Tomek’s ideas on the Institute when it was founded. I also touch on interconnections between politics and educational and university reform, the concept of a supra-national Austrian patriotism, and the situation within the Monarchy after 1849. I consider in particular the link between Tomek’s political loyalty to the Austrian state and his attachment to the Czech national movement, as well as the Czech and Bohemian political backdrop. From Tomek’s perspective and the perspective of the Ministry, this link seemed to involve an ambivalent tension between federalism and centralism. I examine Tomek’s engagement with the issue of instruction in history in the Austrian grammar schools and his “synchronic” method against this backdrop.
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Ádám Bollók

Excavating Early Medieval Material Culture and Writing History in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Hungarian Archaeology

Abstract

Abstract

In this essay, I examine the initial stages in the nineteenth century of the study of material finds from the Middle Ages in the Carpathian Basin. I offer a brief overview of the history of the scientific work that led to the identification of archaeological findings from the Avar era and the era of the Hungarian Conquest, and I also shed light on some of the reasons underlying the failure to identify properly findings from the Hun era (i.e. the fifth century) and the late Avar era (i.e. the eighth century). I examine the principal considerations that shaped the research endeavors of historians and archaeologists in the nineteenth century, and I present the primary methodological approaches according to which historians drew on archaeological findings in support of their conclusions. I focus in particular on the works of Miklós Jankovich, Flóris Rómer, Ferenc Pulszky, Géza Nagy, József Hampel, Géza Supka, and Zoltán Felvinczi Takács, though I also consider the writings of less influential representatives of scholarly life.
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Filip Tomić

The Institutionalization of Expert Systems in the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia: The Founding of the University of Zagreb as the Keystone of Historiographic Professionalization, 1867–1918

Abstract

Abstract

In this paper, I analyze the founding of the University of Zagreb as the “top of the pyramid” in an attempt to create a modern national educational system within the framework of the general process of building a modern social order in the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia in the second half of the nineteenth century. I focus in particular on the founding of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb and its history chairs. The establishment of these chairs was crucial for the legitimate scientific grounding of Croatian national historiography. Through its sanctioned expert systems, these chairs then had the potential to exert a decisive influence on narratives of “Croatian” history and the creation and reproduction of discourse on the Croatian nation.
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Michael Antolović

Modern Serbian Historiography between Nation-Building and Critical Scholarship: The Case of Ilarion Ruvarac (1832–1905)

Abstract

Abstract

In the process of the construction of the Serbian nation, the discipline of history had a prominent role, as was true in the case of other European nations. Especially reinforced after recognition of the independent Principality of Serbia at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, this process led gradually to the building of a Serbian bourgeois society with all its modern institutions. A year later, an important controversy began, which was not limited to the academic circles, but strongly influenced all of Serbian culture over the course of the next 15 years. The controversy was marked by the dispute between supporters of a Romantic view of history and the supporters of the modern historical scholarship embodied in the work of Leopold von Ranke and his successors. The Romantics were ardent nationalists who, though they lacked an adequate knowledge of the relevant methods, used the past for the legitimation of their own nationalistic ideologies and were trying to demonstrate the continuity of the Serbian nation from Antiquity to modern times. Ilarion Ruvarac (1832–1905) played the key role in the refutation of this nationalistic para-historical ideology. Ruvarac accepted Ranke’s methodology, and he insisted on the “scientific character” of historical knowledge and its objectivity. He therefore insisted that “historical science” had to be based on critical assessments of archival sources, which could lead historians to the “historical truth.” According to this principle of historical scholarship, he researched different topics concerning the history of the Serbian and Balkan peoples from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century. Emphasizing the methods of philological criticism, Ruvarac focused on resolving individual chronological and factual problems, which is why “contribution” and “article” were his favorite forms for the presentation of the results of his research. From this standpoint, he often engaged in polemics with the followers of the so-called “Romantic school” in Serbian historiography, demonstrating their “unscientific practice of history” and their lack of essential knowledge. After acrimonious debates with Pantelija-Panta Srećković and his supporters, which at the same time reflected the power distribution in the Serbian academic fields, by the end of the nineteenth century Ruvarac succeeded in establishing Serbian historiography on scientific grounds.
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Aleksandar Pavlović and Srđan Atanasovski

From Myth to Territory: and Vuk Karadžić, Kosovo Epics and the Role Srđan Atanasovski of Nineteenth-Century Intellectuals in Establishing National Narratives

Abstract

Abstract

In this article, we argue that the nineteenth-century Serbian scholars had a pivotal role in establishing Kosovo as the crucial subject of Serbian literature, culture, and politics. By revisiting the formation of the Kosovo epic in the collections of Vuk Karadžić, the founder of modern Serbian culture, we trace his role in making Kosovo the foundational myth of the whole Serbian nation from the nineteenth-century surge in Romantic nationalism onwards. In particular, we scrutinize Karadžić’s editorial procedures as parts of a process of cultural inscription representing a cultural transformation that made the Kosovo epic an instance of the invention of national tradition in Eric Hobsbawm’s terms.
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Featured Review

The Past as History: National Identity and Historical Consciousness in Modern Europe. By Stefan Berger, with Christoph Conrad. (Writing the Nation series)Reviewed by Gábor Gyáni

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Book Reviews

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Zsigmond király Sienában [King Sigismund in Siena]. By Péter E. Kovács. Reviewed by Emőke Rita Szilágyi

Imprinting Identities: Illustrated Latin-Language Histories of St. Stephen’s Kingdom (1488–1700). By Karolina Anna Mroziewicz. Reviewed by Zsuzsanna Bakonyi

Causa unionis, causa fidei, causa reformationis in capite et membris: Tanulmányok a konstanzi zsinat 600. évfordulója alkalmából [Causa unionis, causa fidei, causa reformationis in capite et membris: Essays on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the Council of Constance]. Edited by Attila Bárány and László Pósán.
Reviewed by  Péter Haraszti Szabó

Expulsion and Diaspora Formation: Religious and Ethnic Identities in Flux from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century. Edited by John Tolan. (Religion and Law in Medieval Christian and Muslim Societies 5) Reviewed by Julia Burkhardt

Városfejlődés a középkori Máramarosban [Urban Development in Medieval Maramureş]. By László Szabolcs Gulyás. (Erdélyi tudományos füzetek 280)
Reviewed by András Vadas

Augsburg – Wien – München – Innsbruck: Die früheste Darstellung der Stephanskrone und die Entstehung der Exemplare des Ehrenspiegels des Hauses Österreich. Gelehrten- und Künstlerbeziehungen in Mitteleuropa in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts. By Enikő Buzási and Géza Pálffy. Reviewed by Thomas Kuster

„Légy cseheknek pártfogója, magyaroknak szószóllója…:” Cseh–magyar jezsuita összefüggések a kezdetektől 1773-ig [“Be the patron of Czechs, and the advocate
of Hungarians…:” Relationships between the Hungarian and Czech Jesuits from the beginnings until 1773]. By Eszter Kovács. (Művelődéstörténeti műhely, Monográfiák 2) Reviewed by Gyöngyi Nagy

Vísperas de sucesión: Europa y la Monarquía de Carlos II [On the eve of succession: Europe and the Monarchy of Charles II]. Edited by Bernardo J.
García García and Antonio Álvarez-Ossorio Alvariño. Madrid: Reviewed by Evaristo C. Martínez and Radío Garrido

A Kalocsa-Bácsi Főegyházmegye 18. századi megújulása Patachich Gábor és Patachich Ádám érsekek idején (1733–1784) [The eighteenth-century revival of Kalocsa-Bács Archdiocese under Archbishops Gábor Patachich and Ádám Patachich]. By Tamás Tóth. Reviewed by Zoltán Gőzsy

Österreich und der Immerwährende Reichstag: Studien zur Klientelpolitik und Parteibildung (1745–1763) [Austria and the Perpetual Imperial Diet: Studies on Client Politics and Party Formation.]. By Michael Rohrschneider. (Schriftenreihe der Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 89.) Reviewed by Márta Vajnági

Exploring Transylvania: Geographies of Knowledge and Entangled Histories in a Multiethnic Province, 1790–1918. By Borbála Zsuzsanna Török.
Reviewed by Ágoston Berecz

The Politics of Cultural Retreat: Imperial Bureaucracy in Austrian Galicia, 1772–1867. By Iryna Vushko. Reviewed by Börries Kuzmany

Military Culture and Popular Patriotism in Late Imperial Austria. By Laurence Cole. Reviewed by Tamara Scheer

Apple of Discord: The “Hungarian Factor” in Austro–Serbian Relations, 1867–1881. By Ian D. Armour. Reviewed by Gábor Demeter

Whose Bosnia? Nationalism and Political Imagination in the Balkans, 1840–1914. By Edin Hajdarpašić. Reviewed by Dževada Šuško

Nationalizing Empires: Edited by Stefan Berger and Alexei Miller. (Historical Studies in Eastern Europe and Eurasia) Reviewed by Joachim von Puttkamer

Az első világháború következményei Magyarországon [The consequences of World War I in Hungary]. Edited by Béla Tomka. Reviewed by Béla Bodó

A holokauszt Magyarországon hetven év múltán: Történelem és emlékezet [The Holocaust in Hungary seventy years later: History and memory]. Edited by Randolph L. Braham and András Kovács. Reviewed by Tamás Kende

Mindszenty József (1892–1975) [József Mindszenty (1892–1975)]. By Margit Balogh. Reviewed by Géza Vörös

Student Politics in Communist Poland: Generations of Consent and Dissent. By Tom Junes. Reviewed by Piotr Osęka

 

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