National Histories, Imperial Memories: Representing the Past in Interwar Central Europe

In the successor states of the Habsburg Empire, official narratives of history tended to downplay the imperial context and highlight the continuous, distinct history of the nation. Nevertheless, while 1918 was undoubtedly a watershed moment, it did not suddenly obliterate the shared past. The built and artistic heritage of the Empire was still present and had to be dealt with, whether through appropriation, destruction, or reinterpretation. The nationalities of the former Empire were in constant interaction with each other, whether politically allied or opposed, and they still lived together in multiethnic territories such as Slovakia or Transylvania. Commemorations and representations of the national past were conceived with an eye on the ‘others’. Remembrance was polyphonic, with different groups forming their own narratives, even if these were not always officially recognised.

The seminar series National Histories, Imperial Memories will examine how visual culture in interwar central Europe engaged with the shared imperial past. It will feature papers on topics ranging from the postwar fate of pre-1918 public monuments and built heritage to  representations of the past in film, and from commemorations of war to idealised depictions of rural life.

The events will take place on Zoom, every fortnight starting on 21 September 2021 and concluding on 14 December 2021. The sessions will begin at 18.00 CET.

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Rampley, Prokopovych and Veszprémi, The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary

New book: The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary by Matthew Rampley, Markian Prokopovych and Nóra Veszprémi

The Museum Age in Austria-Hungary: Art and Empire in the Long Nineteenth Century, a new book by Matthew Rampley (CRAACE), Markian Prokopovych (Durham University) and Nóra Veszprémi (CRAACE), has just been published by Penn State University Press.

From the publisher:

‘This important critical study of the history of public art museums in Austria-Hungary explores their place in the wider history of European museums and collecting, their role as public institutions, and their involvement in the complex cultural politics of the Habsburg Empire.

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Book announcement: Liberalism, Nationalism and Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire by Matthew Rampley, Markian Prokopovych and Nóra Veszprémi

In the nineteenth century, museums of design, industry and the applied arts were intimately connected to ideas about economic, social and industrial progress. Hence, their position in the museum landscape of the time was markedly different from that of museums of fine art. Liberalism, Nationalism and Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire: Museums of Design, Industry and the Applied Arts, a new book by Matthew Rampley, Markian Prokopovych and Nóra Veszprémi explores the expectations these institutions faced in the first decades of their existence, as well as their impact. It is shaped by two broad concerns: the role of liberalism as a political, cultural and economic ideology motivating the museums’ foundation, and their engagement with the politics of imperial, national and regional identity of the late Habsburg Empire.

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