AH/CU/HS 350 - Arts and Nations: The Rise of the National Idiom in East-Central European Music, Literature, and the Visual Arts
The rise of nations and nationalism in most Central and East-Central European countries from the 18th to the 20th century was supported and accelerated by, as well as reflected in, art and art-forms. The study of art in this region helps understand the emergence of what we call today “nations.” The national language, poetry, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, and a host of other artistic genres have impacted the philosophy and politics of nation-building, nationalism and nationalist movements throughout the former “Eastern” Europe. The fabric of national and nationalist thinking can be better approached and understood through the study of artistic expression. This two-semester course will serve as an introduction into the most important cultural differences among various Central and East-Central European countries, ethnic, national and religious groups. Special emphasis will be given to what we may identify as the “national idiom” such as the language, the folk poetry and folk music, and the “national genres” such as the national opera and folklore, national painting and film, and national historiography and the historical novel, which have both created and expressed national cultures. As Central and East-Central European nations are deeply embedded in their languages, cultures, and cultural symbolism, this field of study is essential to the historical appraisal of the region. Providing a general cultural background to Central European studies in Vienna, the course will foster an understanding of nationalism as it has developed in the modern history of Central and East-Central Europe.