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MACIEJ JANOWSKI, CONSTANTIN IORDACHI and BALÁZS TRENCSÉNYI

Abstract: The article analyzes the ways in which the concept of Central Europe and related regional classifications were instrumentalized in historical research in Hungary, Poland and Romania. While Hungarian and Polish historians employed the discourse of Central Europe as a central means to contextualize and often relativize established national historical narratives, their geographical frameworks of comparison were nevertheless fairly divergent, the Hungarian one relating to the former Habsburg and Austro-Hungarian lands while the Polish one revolving around the tradition of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. Romanian historians approached the issue from the perspective of local history, debating two alternative regional frameworks: the Old Kingdom, treated as part of the Byzantine and Ottoman legacies, and Transylvania, Bukovina and the Banat that were shaped by the Habsburg project of modernity. In the Romanian context the debate on Central Europe reached its peak at a time when it lost relevance in the Polish and Hungarian contexts. While conceding to recent critiques on the constructed and often exclusivist nature of symbolic geographical categories, the authors maintain the heuristic value of regional frameworks of interpretation as models of historical explanation transcending the nation-state at sub-national or trans-national level.

Maciej Janowski, Constantin Iordachi and Balázs Trencsényi

The article analyzes the ways in which the concept of Central Europe and related regional classifications were instrumentalized in historical research in Hungary, Poland and Romania. While Hungarian and Polish historians employed the discourse of Central Europe as a central means to contextualize and often relativize established national historical narratives, their geographical frameworks of comparison were nevertheless fairly divergent. the Hungarian one relating to the former Habsburg and Austro-Hungarian lands while the Polish one revolving around the tradition of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. Romanian historians approached the issue from the perspective of local history, debating two alternative regional frameworks: the Old Kingdom, treated as part ofthe Byzantine and Ottoman legacies, and Transylvania, Bukovina and the Banat that were shaped by the Habsburg project of modemity. In the Romanian context the debate on Central Europe reached its peak at a time when it lost re1evance in the Polish and Hungarian contexts. While conceding to recent critiques on the constructed and often exclusivist nature of symbolic geographical catcgories, the authors maintain the heuristic valuc of regional frameworks of interpretation as models of historical explanation transcending the nation-state at sub-national or trans-national level.

Central and Eastern Europe

Regional Perspectives in Global Context

Edited by Constantin Iordachi, Balazs Trencsenyi and Maciej Janowski

Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research on all aspects of Central and Eastern Europe: history, society, politics, economy, religion, culture, literature, languages and gender, with a focus on the region between the Baltic and the Adriatic in local and global context.

Editor-in-Chief Constantin Iordachi, Markian Prokopovych, Balazs Trencsenyi and Maciej Janowski

East Central Europe is a peer-reviewed journal of social sciences and humanities with a focus on the region between the Baltic and the Adriatic, published in cooperation with the Central European University. The journal seeks to maintain the heuristic value of regional frameworks of interpretation as models of historical explanation, transcending the nation-state at sub-national or trans-national level, and to link them to global academic debates. East Central Europe has an interdisciplinary orientation, combining area studies with history and social sciences, most importantly political science, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies. It aims to stimulate the dialogue and exchange between scholarship produced in and on East-Central Europe and other area study traditions, in a global context. East Central Europe is made in close cooperation with Pasts, Inc. in Central European University ( www.ceu.hu/pasts).

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