Ernő Jeges, Becko, detail

Nóra Veszprémi wins Rath Prize for article in Austrian History Yearbook

CRAACE research fellow Nóra Veszprémi has been awarded the R. John Rath Prize of the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota for her article  ‘Whose Landscape Is It? Remapping Memory and History in Interwar Central Europe,’ published in Volume 51 of the Austrian History Yearbook.

The R. John Rath Prize, a cash award, is given annually for the best article published in the Austrian History Yearbook. It is funded by the estate of the longtime Habsburg scholar and founding editor of the AHY, R. John Rath (1910–2001), and by contributions in his memory.

According to the Laudatio: ‘The committee applauded the article’s creative use of sources. Veszprémi examined sources such as maps, postcards, and coffee table books, which are ubiquitous but often overlooked by scholars, as well as more formal painting, and from them she built an innovative argument concerning the fluidity of cultural sites for different nationalist discourses. The article also represented for the committee interdisciplinarity “done right” – a genuine blending of techniques and sources from disciplines that are traditionally separate endeavors. Written in an accessible style, the article is an insightful and engaging exploration of how cultural memory, landscape, and national identity intersected in Central Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.’

The article is open access. Read it here.

 

Artwork of the Month, September 2021: The Industrial Exhibition Hall in Hiroshima by Jan Letzel (1915)

In the summer of 2021, the Jaroslav Fragner Gallery in Prague staged an exhibition celebrating the centenary of the setting up of diplomatic relations between Japan and Czechoslovakia. Bearing the title 1920–2020 Prague–Tokyo / Exchanges, Parallels, Common Visions, the exhibition had been delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 restrictions.[1] Its focus was on architecture, and it was testimony to the rich exchange of ideas and practices between Japan and Czechoslovakia (and, subsequently, the Czech Republic). The best-known architects in this story are Antonin Raymond (1888–1976) and Bedřich Feuerstein (1892–1936), who has already been discussed in another post on this site as the architect of the crematorium in Nymburk. Raymond and Feuerstein have benefitted from a ‘rediscovery’ due to new research in the past few years.[2] However, the subject of the Artwork of the Month essay for September is an earlier, less familiar, figure: Jan Letzel (1880–1925) who was in many respects their forerunner. Unknown to many, he was the architect of one of the most famous buildings in Japan: the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Exhibition Hall (1915). Since 1996 it has been a designated UNESCO world heritage site, and has been named the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (or Gebaku Dome), for it is one of the very few structures to have withstood the detonation of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the 6th August 1945. The building of the Hall falls outside the strict chronological boundaries of the CRAACE project, but it serves as a powerful symbol of the engagement of Czechs and Slovaks with Japan, which began in the late nineteenth century and gained momentum into the mid-twentieth. Consideration of the building also prompts us to reflect on the way that Czech and Czechoslovaks interacted with Japanese culture and the light that casts on Czech and Czechoslovak culture and self-perceptions.

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