The course combines an introduction to the major methodological developments in the history of political ideas with a thematic overview of the history of modern political thought in our region. It uses the excerpts, previously unavailable in English, provided by the collective project Regional Identity Discourses in Central and Southeast Europe (1775-1945). The collection of these texts makes it possible to analyze and compare ‘in depth’ various ideological traditions that were formative of the national discourses of Central and Southeast Europe. Exploring the input of the interpretative offers of modern ‘intellectual history’ in analyzing this material, the course hopes to problematize some of the key tenets of the ‘national’ historiographies about the uniqueness and incomparability of the respective cultures, at the same time pointing out the considerable situational and discursive cleavages among different projects of nation-building.
The course also aims at critically reconsidering the explanatory models of Nationalism Studies seeking to grasp the structure of the modern nationalist ideologies. Bringing together the more encompassing models of interpretation with a more context-sensitive approach of situating the texts in their cultural-political setting, the participants will develop their skills of doing comparative research in the East-Central European setting.