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Regimes of Historicity and Discourses of Modernity and Identity, 1900-1945, in East-Central, Southeastern and Northern Europe

2008-2010
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The "Regimes of Historicity" project has undertaken a comparative analysis of the various ideological traditions dealing with the connection between modernity and historicity, modernity and temporality, in three "small-culture" European regions: East-Central, Southeastern, and Northern Europe. It has aimed to reconstruct the ways in which different "temporalities" and time horizons produced alternative (national) representations of the past. At the same time, by choosing ideologies as a vantage point it has investigated visions of past and future, of continuity and discontinuity in a wide spectrum of twentieth century social and political thinking about modernity and identity. How the ever-growing distance between experience and expectation shaped political discourse and action; how the "politics of time" framed political languages in our three historical regions? Above all research has been focused on the ways these ideological/political traditions and languages of identity were shaped and interpreted by the different branches of the humanities and the newly formed social sciences. This has made it possible to reconsider the usual metaphors rooted in temporal dimensions that are used for noncore Western cultures, such as belatedness, asynchrony, backwardness, catching-up, etc.

Methodology: By reconstructing the patterns of historicity and temporal visions that historical actors held of their own contexts we sought to challenge the centre-periphery backwardness narrative and render a more balanced picture of historical difference. Furthermore, comparing the various peripheries to each other could give us a certain insight into the issue of legacies - into the way tradition is framed in a Protestant, Orthodox or Muslim context; or in the long-term impact of competing post-imperial and nation-state models of framing the past. We thus hope to have developed a vision of political modernity capable to substantiate the notion of multiple modernities and thus open up the discussion of how imported models and local traditions are related to each other.

Project organization: The two-year research is being accomplished in four closely interrelated components that allow for the deeper understanding of the problems in focus through a process of intensive interaction and "negotiations" between national traditions: Senior Fellowship Programme, Junior Fellowship Programme, Extended Colloquia and Guest-Scholar Programme. The Regimes of Historicity Fellows work on their individual case studies and come together for joint working sessions, colloquia and conferences to discuss each others' findings in the multidisciplinary and international environment provided by the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia. The core group of 16 junior scholars was selected following an open Call for Applications and a rigorous selection procedure carried out by the international Academic Council of CAS. The team of Senior researchers include Prof. Diana Mishkova (project convener), Prof. Antonis Liakos , Prof. Bo Stråth and Assoc. Prof. Balázs Trencsényi .

The project is supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, Germany, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Germany and the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, Sweden.

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