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 Austria1
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.
Keywords: historiography, nationalism, patriotism, politics of history