Modernization in Nineteenth Century Central Europe: Topics, Problem Areas and Research Methods in historical sociology and social history

"Locomotive en grève"
“Locomotive en grève” – une du journal satirique “Kakas Márton”, 24 avril 1904.

A seminar hosted by CEFRES young researcher Mátyás Erdélyi

Time & Venue: Tuesday 15:30-16:50, FHS UK Jinonice, building A, room 2083
Lecturer: Mátyás Erdélyi – CEU / CEFRES
Language: English


The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the main topics and problem areas in the history of Central Europe in the long nineteenth century. The course follows a topical arrangement focusing on central themes at the intersection of social history and historical sociology; it is neither chronological, nor comprehensive. Each section starts with the presentation of basic theoretical concepts, followed by the discussion of selected readings. The course focuses on problem areas in connection with the social and economic changes that took place in Central Europe during the long nineteenth century. The key concept of our discussion is ‘modernization theory’ and the different facets of modernization understood as a process of social and economic change in the period under scrutiny. Here, instead of interpreting ‘modernization’ as a normative developmental model, the course demonstrates how modernization could be analyzed as a heterogeneous and non-linear process, which always infers the possibility of fallbacks, as the history of Central Europe demonstrates it, and contains a mixture of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ elements.

Program of individual sessions

1 – Conceptual framework; Historical sociology vs. social history; the historical geography of Central-Europe in the 19th century
2 – Modernization, economic backwardness and belated embourgeoisement in Central Europe
3 – Industrialization and urbanization (2 sessions)
4 – Embourgeoisement and the middle-class question
5 – The dynamics of educational expansion (2 sessions)
6 – Professionalization
7 – Jewry: agents of modernization (2 sessions)
8 – Nations, empire, and nationalism at the challenges of modernization (2 sessions)

See the Syllabus and bibliography here.

French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences – Prague