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Empire Speaks Out

Languages of Rationalization and Self-Description in the Russian Empire

Series:

Ilya Gerasimov, Jan Kusber and Alexander Semyonov

Historians habitually write about empires that expand, wage wars, and collapse, as if empires were self-evident and self-conscious entities with a distinct and clear sense of purpose. The stories of empires are told in the language of modern nation-centred social sciences: multi-cultural and heterogeneous empires of the past appear either as huge “nations” with a common language, culture, and territory, or as amalgamations of would-be nations striving to gain independence. Empire Speaks Out reconstructs the historical encounter of the Russian Empire of the seventeenth through the early twentieth centuries with the complex challenge of modernity. It does so by taking the self-awareness of empire seriously, and by looking into how bureaucrats, ideologues, politicians, scholars, and modern professionals described the ethnic, cultural, and social diversity of the empire. “Empire” then reveals itself not through deliberate and well-conceived actions of some mysterious political body, but as a series of “imperial situations” that different people encounter and perceive in common categories. The rationalization of previously intuitive social practices as imperial languages is the central theme of the collection.



This book is published with support from Volkswagen Foundation, within the collective research project “Languages of Self Description and Representation in the Russian Empire”

Franz Liszt

A Story of Central European Subjectivity

Series:

Erika Quinn

This biography of the musician Franz Liszt contributes to our understanding of national identity formation and its interaction with cosmopolitanism. Liszt exemplified the nineteenth-century quest for subjective definition and fulfillment. Seeking to gain agency, authority, and community, Liszt experimented with various subject positions from which to forward his goals. The stances he selected, anchored in ideas about nation, religion, and art, allowed him to retain his cosmopolitan sensibility while making specific aesthetic and creative claims. Quinn’s analysis of Liszt’s correspondence and musical criticism, as well as of contemporary reviews of his performances, compositions, and essays, demonstrates the lack of a nationalist exclusivity in Liszt’s life was a historical phenomenon rather than a personal quirk as previous scholarship has often claimed.

The Fall of Great Moravia

Who Was Buried in Grave H153 at Pohansko near Břeclav?

Series:

Edited by Jiri Machacek and Martin Wihoda

The excavated foundations of a ninth-century sacral building in the northeastern suburb of Pohansko, an important centre of Great Moravia, and especially the find of the nobleman’s grave H 153, has focused scholarly attention onto the nature of the Mojmirid state and the reasons behind its sudden disintegration. In this volume, a group of archaeologists, historians and a natural scientist aim to incorporate this remarkable discovery into the wider frameworks of Moravian power, society, and culture, and thereby arrive at some surprising conclusions.

Contributors: are Stefan Eichert, David Kalhous, Pavel Kouřil, Jiří Macháček, Vladimír Sládek, Ivo Štefan, Martin Wihoda, Roman Zehetmayer.