Recent books

This is a selection of publications of scholars affiliated with ECERF.

9783879694440: Grenzen des Sozialismus zu Land und zu Wasser ...

Jasmin Nithammer, Grenzen des Sozialismus zu Land und zu Wasser: Die tschechoslowakische Landgrenze und die polnische Seegrenze im Vergleich (1948-1968). Marburg: Verlag des Herder Instituts, 2019, 244 pp.

This book examines the external borders of Cold-War Poland and Czechoslovakia – the so-called Iron Curtain. By comparing the Polish sea border (at the Baltic Sea) and the Czechoslovak land border (with Germany and Austria), the study focuses on the development of the state borders of East Central Europe into the socialist system’s external borders in the period of 1948 to 1968. Connections and mutual dynamics between state, border guards and the civilian population are analysed to provide new insights into the construction of images of the border within various sections of state and society and into the significance of state borders for these states’ political and military systems.

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Modernity, History, and Politics in Czech Art  book cover

Marta Filipová, Modernity, History, and Politics in Czech Art. London: Routlede, 2019, 214 pp.

This book traces the influence of the changing political environment on Czech art, criticism, history, and theory between 1895 and 1939, looking beyond the avant-garde to the peripheries of modern art. The period is marked by radical political changes, the formation of national and regional identities, and the rise of modernism in Central Europe – specifically, the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the creation of the new democratic state of Czechoslovakia. Marta Filipová studies the way in which narratives of modern art were formed in a constant negotiation and dialogue between an effort to be international and a desire to remain authentically local.

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Liberalism, Nationalism and Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire ...

Matthew Rampley, Markian Prokopovych, Nóra Veszprémi, Liberalism, Nationalism and Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire: Museums of Design, Industry and the Applied Arts. London: Routledge, 2020, 208 pp.

Liberalism, Nationalism and Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire is a study of museums of design and applied arts in Austria-Hungary from 1864 to 1914. The Museum for Art and Industry (now the Museum of Applied Arts) as well as its design school occupies a prominent place in the study.

The book also gives equal attention to museums of design and applied arts in cities elsewhere in the Empire, such as Budapest Prague, Cracow, Brno and Zagreb. The book 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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Klaus Richter, Fragmentation in East Central Europe: Poland and the Baltics, 1915-1929. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020, 368 pp.

The First World War led to a radical reshaping of Europe’s political borders. Nowhere was this transformation more profound than in East Central Europe, where the collapse of imperial rule led to the emergence of a series of new states. New borders intersected centuries-old networks of commercial, cultural, and social exchange. The new states had to face the challenges posed by territorial fragmentation and at the same time establish durable state structures within an international order that viewed them as, at best, weak, and at worst, as merely provisional entities that would sooner or later be reintegrated into their larger neighbours’ territory.

Fragmentation in East Central Europe challenges the traditional view that the emergence of these states was the product of a radical rupture that naturally led from defunct empires to nation states. Using the example of Poland and the Baltic States, it retraces the roots of the interwar states of East Central Europe, of their policies, economic developments, and of their conflicts back to the First World War. At the same time, it shows that these states learned to harness the dynamics caused by territorial fragmentation, thus forever changing our understanding of what modern states can do.

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