Woodsworth College

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Woodsworth College

  1. 1. Woodsworth College University of Toronto HIS395Y0 The City in Central Europe – Budapest, Vienna, Wroclaw, Prague Summer 2009Course descriptionThe cities of Central Europe, and most notably those of the Habsburg Empire, were at the forefront ofEuropes cultural, artistic and intellectual development until the outbreak of the Second World War.Moreover, these cities remain living monuments to the achievements of European culture to thepresent day. These cities also represent some of the darker aspects of European history. The goal ofthis course is to familiarize students with the history of Central Europe, the complex historical role ofcentral European cities, their interaction with imperial and then national cultures, economies andsocieties, and their importance in creating modern nation states. The Czech Republics picturesquesecond city, Brno, will be the home base of the course, and provide the starting point for travel to thecourses focus cities. Students will visit the three great cities of the former Habsburg Empire, Vienna,Prague and Budapest, each with its own unique architectural legacy, churches, museums and castles.A visit will also be made to Wroclaw, which was once a Habsburg city, then a German city and then aPolish one.There are five modules – an introductory session which offers a sweeping introduction to the historyof Central Europe, followed by city-specific and period-specific studies of Vienna, Budapest, Wroclawand Prague. Each city module provides a broad historical overview along with a more detailed studyof a unique aspect of the city’s life. For Vienna, we look at the city at the height of its splendour asimperial capital around the turn of the twentieth century; for Budapest we turn to its development asa Hungarian city in the 19th Century and its “liberation” during the Second World War; for Wroclaw,we focus on the change from a German to a Polish city; for Prague, we examine the Jewish dimension.Students will travel to each city as part of the course, which provides a unique opportunity to visit thehistorical sites they will study and appreciate the enduring effect of distant events on contemporaryCentral Europe.Students are in class three days per week for three hour sessions. There are additional sessions thatstudents are encouraged to attend including regular film nights, a tour of Brno and other sites ofcentral importance along with visits to local museums. The total classroom instruction time is 45 hoursin addition to the field trips which are integral to the course. Students are expected to integrate theirfieldwork in written work, in-class participation and the final exam.Course Dates: 8 June – 16 JulyInstructorsRobert C. Austin, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, University of TorontoDon Sparling, Office for International Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech RepublicProgram outlineWeek OneArrival in Brno via Vienna – 8 JuneOrientation – 9 June
  2. 2. Trip to brewery and caves – 10 JuneIntroduction to Central Europe 11 – 13 JuneWeek TwoVienna study – 15 – 17 JuneTrip to Trebic – UNESCO Listed Site – 17 JuneVienna excursion – 18 – 20 JuneWeek ThreeBudapest study – 22 – 24 JuneBudapest excursion – 25 – 27 JuneWeek FourFree days – 28 June – 1 JulyWroclaw study – 2 July – 3 JulyWroclaw & Auschwitz excursion 4 – 6 JulyWeek FivePrague study – 7 – 9 JulyPrague excursion – 10 – 12 JulyFinal test – 14 JulyFinal dinner – 14 JulyDeparture – 16 JulyTests and course evaluationWhile a course reader will be prepared for the course, students are encouraged to purchase Lonnie RJohnson, Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends. Second Edition. Oxford: University Press,2002. Although this book does not deal with the history of Central European cities, it is an excellentintroduction into the history of the region.Short assignment 22 June 20% [on week one]Mid-term essay (6 – 8 pages) 7 July 25% [on the first four weeks – comparative topics involving more than one week’s material]Final test 14 July 40% [on week five, plus comparative topics]Participation 15% based on completion of readings prior to class and being actively engaged in discussions in class and on field trips]Late penalty 2% will be deducted per day for late workDeadline to withdraw without 29 June academic penaltyWeek One – Module 1: The Historical Context: Central Europe to 1945The introductory week of the course begins with an examination of the broad outlines of CentralEuropean History, the role of religion, absolutism, the Enlightenment, the growth of Habsburg powerand the changing role of cities. Of particular importance will be the role of the Ottoman Empire inEurope and the impact the conflict with the Ottoman Empire had on Central Europe, especiallyVienna and Budapest. The growth of modern nationalism will also be discussed.The second session seeks to familiarize students more generally with the trends between 1848 and1918. The legacy of the Versailles Settlement on Central Europe and the resultant changes in the mapof Europe are principle concerns.
  3. 3. The final introductory session addresses the interwar period and the Second World War. The selectedreadings pay particular attention to urban/rural dynamics and economic underdevelopment as causesfor the new states descent into dictatorship and dependence on Nazi Germany. Finally, the selectionsfrom Mazowers work provide an essential narrative of Europes development from the outbreak ofthe Second World War, and the legacy it engendered in Europes political culture through to the endof Communism in Eastern Europe. The excerpt from Judt’s work best explains the catastrophicsituation that Europe found itself in at the end of the Second World War.As background, students should read the following:Johnson, Lonnie R. Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends. The “Introduction” along withChapters 4 – 8.Session 1: Understanding Central Europe – The Historical Background to 1848Magosci, Paul Robert. “Eastern, East-Central, or Central Europe: Where is it and What is it?” Calendar-Almanac National Slovak Society of the USA, Vol. 113, pp. 128 – 140.Session 2: 1848 – 1918Margaret McMillan’s Paris 1919 – Six Months That Changed the World. Read Chapters 17-20.Lonnie Johnson, Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends – Chapter 9Session 3: Interwar and Postwar Central EuropeMazower, Mark. Dark Continent, pp 138-326, 361-416.Judt, Tony. Postwar – A History of Europe since 1945, Chapter 1 – pp 13 - 40. Students are encouraged to read other relevant sections of this excellent, recently published book.NOTE: Students are advised to begin readings for Module 1 before leaving for Brno.Week Two – Module 2: ViennaThe Vienna module focuses on the city in the period of its greatest intellectual, cultural and urbanisticachievement, which ironically followed a series of diplomatic, military and political failures for theHabsburg Empire. The readings conclude with a chapter on the city in the First World War and itsendurance as a European cultural centre even after it ceased to be a political and military one.Session 1: The Birth of an Imperial CapitalJelavich, B. Modern Austria – Empire and Republic, Introduction and Chapter 1 – pp 3-77.Session 2: The Great half-century of Habsburg ViennaSpiel, H. Viennas Golden Autumn 1866-1938, pp 7-82, 193-236.Session 3: Glimpses of Central Europes Imperial CapitalHodgson, G. A New Grand Tour – How Europe’s Great Cities Made our World, Chapter 5 (Vienna) – pp 151-184.Morton, F. Thunder at Twilight, pp 1-40, 132-151.Tung, A. Preserving the World’s Great Cities, pp 190 – 211.Week Three – Module 3: BudapestThe Budapest module begins with a sweeping historical introduction from the outset of the eighteenthcentury, when the Danube divided two provincial Habsburg cities, to the end of the Austro-
  4. 4. Hungarian Empire in 1918, when Budapest began the transition from twin capital of the Empire to thecultural, political and economic centre of a rump Hungarian nation state.The next session focuses exclusively on the fin-de-siecle period in Budapest, 1896-1906, which Lukacsconvincingly argues was the decisive period of the citys architectural, social, political and culturalhistory, and ultimately shaped the citys twentieth century experience.The final Budapest module session explores the importance of Budapest during the Second WorldWar and its “liberation” by Soviet troops. This module also looks at Budapest during the communistperiod.Session 1: Buda, Pest and Obuda – From Provincial to Imperial: Budapests 18th and 19th Century EvolutionGero, A. and J. Poor, eds. Budapest – A History from its Beginnings to 1998, pp. 40-61, 103-34.Nemes, Robert A. The Once and Future Budapest, pp 14-32.Session 2: Fin-de-Siecle BudapestLukacs, John. Budapest 1900. Chapter 1, pp 3-28. Students are encouraged to read other chapters of Lukacs’s book.Enyedy, G and Victoria Szirmai. Budapest, a Central European Capital, pp 25 – 51.Session 3: Budapest and the Second World WarUngvary. K. Battle for Budapest, Chapter VI – “The Siege and the Population”, pp 216-310.Week Four - Module 4: Wroclaw/BreslauThe first Wroclaw/Breslau session begins with a broad survey of the complex history of the coursesonly non-Habsburg city. The readings span the period from Frederick the Greats forcefulincorporation of the city into the Prussian monarchy in the mid-eighteenth century until the Wars ofGerman Unification in the mid-nineteenth century.The second session continues the survey of Breslaus development during the period of the GermanSecond Empire. The reading emphasizes both the difficulties Breslau endured, notably Bismarck’sKulturkampf , directed against the Catholic Church, but also the benefits, such as the urban and raildevelopment that shaped the city in the modern era.The last session focuses on the critical period of Breslaus twentieth century experience: the SecondWorld War. The readings also outline the immediate postwar period, in which Soviet-sponsoredterritorial and population transfers transformed German Breslau into Polish Wroclaw.Session 1: Prussia and the Foundations of Modern BreslauDavies, Norman. Microcosm: Portrait of a European City, pp 200-218, 224-266.Session 2: Breslau in Imperial & Interwar GermanyDavies, Norman. Microcosm: Portrait of a European City, pp 267-281, 326-379.Session 3: The Second World War and the Emergence of Polish WroclawSiebel-Achenbach, Sebastian. Lower Silesia from Nazi German to Communist Poland, 1942-1949, pp 56-82, 117-196.Week Five - Module 5: PragueThe module begins with a session introducing students to Pragues long history from the medieval erato the twentieth century. The readings are broad in their focus on various aspects of the citys
  5. 5. historical development, not the least of which is its historic role as a great city of culture whichprovides a unique glimpse into the many periods of European architectural development. The specialfocus is on Prague’s Jewish legacy.Session 1: Pragues Development from the Early Modern EraWechsberg, J. Prague: The Mystical City, pp 92-160, 203-211.Demetz, P. Prague in Black and Gold, pp 241-254.Session 2: Prague in the 19th and 20th CenturiesDemetz, P. Prague in Black and Gold, pp 272-300, 314-364. Students are encouraged to read other chapters of this book.Hodgson, G. A New Grand Tour – How Europe’s Great Cities Made our World, pp 198-218 (Hašek and Kafka)Session 3: Jewish PragueValley, Eli. The Great Jewish Cities of Central and Eastern Europe, pp 1-55.

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