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A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe


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Table of Contents

Introduction I. The Discovery of Modernity: Enlightened Statecraft, Discourses of Reform, and Civilizational Narratives 1: The Politics of Improvement: European Models and Local Traditions 2: National Projects and Civilizational Hierarchies 3: The Repercussions of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars II. Spiritualizing Modernity: The Romantic Framework of Political Ideas 4:

About the Author

Balazs Trencsenyi is Associate Professor at the Department of History, Central European University Budapest. His research focuses on the comparative history of political thought in East Central Europe and the history of historiography. He is Co-Director of Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies at CEU and Editor of the periodical East Central Europe (Brill). He is the author of The Politics of 'National Character': A Study in Interwar East European Thought (Routledge, 2012), and co-editor of Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe (1775-1945), vols. I-II, and IV (CEU Press, 2006-7, 2014), Narratives Unbound: Historical Studies in Post-Communist Eastern Europe (CEU Press, 2007), Whose Love of Which Country?: Composite States, National Histories and Patriotic Discourses in Early Modern East Central Europe (Brill, 2010), and Hungary and Romania beyond National Narratives: Comparisons and Entanglements (Peter Lang, 2013). Maciej Janowski works at the Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, and is a Visiting Professor at the Central European University Budapest. His main fields of interest are social and intellectual history of Central Europe and the history of liberalism. He is Editor of the periodical East Central Europe (Brill) and Deputy-Editor of Kwartalnik Historyczny. He authored Inteligencja Wobec Wyzwan Nowoczesnosci: Dylematy Ideowe Polskiej Liberalnej Demokracji w Galicji 1889-1914 [The Intelligentsia and the Challenges of Modernity: Ideological Dilemmas of Polish Liberal Democracy in Galicia, 1889-1914], (Instytut Historii PAN, 1996), Polish Liberal Thought before 1918 (CEU Press, 2004), Narodziny Inteligencji 1750-1831[The Birth of the Intelligentsia] (Instytut Historii PAN-Neriton, 2008, published in English with Peter Lang). Monika Baar is Associate Professor at the University of Leiden. Her research focuses on modern historiography, cultural history, and political thought, with special attention to the problem of marginality. She was the recipient of the ERC Consolidator Grant in 2015, and is Associate Editor of Nationalities Papers. She is the author of Historians and the Nationalism: East-Central Europe in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford UP, 2010), and other publications include 'Wishful Thinking. Academic Competitions in National History', in I. Porciani and J. Tollebeek (eds.) Setting the Standards. Institutions, Networks and Communities of National History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Maria Falina is currently a Lecturer and IRC Postdoctoral Fellow at University College Dublin. Her main focus is the relationship of politics and religion in Southeastern Europe. Michal Kopecek is Head of the Post-1989 Democratic Transition History Department at the Institute of Contemporary History in Prague. He also teaches at the Institute of Czech History, Charles University. He is the author of Quest for the Revolution's Lost Meaning: Origins of the Marxist Revisionism in Central Europe, 1953-1960 (forthcoming Brill, 2016),Editor of Past in the Making: Historical Revisionism in Central Europe after 1989 (CEU Press, 2008); as well as Co-Editor of Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe 1770-1945: Texts and Commentaries. Vol. I-II. (CEU Press, 2006-07), and Thinking Trough Transition: Liberal Democracy, Authoritarian Pasts, and Intellectual History in East Central Europe afer 1989 (CEU Press, 2015).


This authoritative revision succeeds brilliantly thanks to the innovative and sophisticated approaches developed by its authors. Challenging traditional and recent conventions of intellectual history writing, they situate Eastern European political thought of the nineteenth century simultaneously in its local, regional, and transnational contexts. Rejecting tired nationalist teleologies, claims of an Eastern European Sonderweg, or binary structures that categorized political ideas as either local in origin or imported from an imagined West, the authors frame Eastern European political thought in fundamentally European terms, even as they elucidate its comparative local and regional dimensions. Pieter M. Judson, European University Institute This volume is the first comparative and transnational history of nineteenth-century political thought ever written about the broadly and challengingly defined region of East Central Europe that includes also relevant parts of the Balkans. Given the ethnic, cultural, and linguistic variety of the region, such work could only be accomplished as a team undertaking, which in this case has successfully overcome the usual sorting of national pigeon-holes next to each other. The book thus combines well-grounded local knowledge, paying due attention to the multilayered and multidirectional cultural transfers, while also being sensitive to the European social and political context. Miroslav Hroch, Charles University, Prague This impressive comparatist surveytwo centuries of political thought traced across a terrain of daunting political and linguistic complexitywill not only serve as a benchmark for future scholarship, but also as an inspiration. A shining example of what talented scholars can achieve through dedicated international cooperation, it restores a very important part of Europe to our understanding of European history. Joep Leerssen, University of Amsterdam

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