Fin de Siècle Vienna: 1865 - 1914

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Course Information
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The course presents and analyses fin de siècle Vienna in the context of the Habsburg Monarchy and gives insights into the composition and politics of the monarchy. Stress is laid on the analysis of the differentiated society in Vienna which forms the public for artistic production. In this framework the course will place the intellectual and artistic forces in Habsburg Vienna around the turn of the century. A central role in the course play site visits which are also eye openers for the students. (3 credits)

Attendance policy: 

IES Abroad Vienna requires attendance at all class sessions, including field study excursions, internship meetings, scheduled rehearsals, and exams. Attendance will be monitored and unexcused absences will affect the student’s grade via the “Participation” component of each course’s final grade.

Excused Absences

  • Excused absences are permitted only when a student is ill, when class is held on a recognized religious holiday traditionally observed by the particular student, or in the case of a grave incident affecting family members.
  • To be granted an excused absence, the student must write an email to his/her professor in a timely manner stating the reason for the absence (and, if appropriate, how long they expect to be away) with a cc to Center administrative staff. In an emergency, the student may call Student Services or the Front Desk. If the student is unable to send an email (too sick, no computer), he/she may call the Student Assistant at the front desk (01/512 2601-11) who will then write the email described above and send it to said parties as stated above, with a cc to the student.
  • If a student is absent 3 consecutive days or more, he/she will need to obtain a doctor’s note and then submit this to the Registrar’s office.
Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • understand and articulate historical and social situations
  • analyse, evaluate and compare art historical phenomena
  • be able to orient in a city concerning historical and art historical sites
Field study: 

Field trips:

  • Wienmuseum
  • The architecture of the Ringstraße (walk through Vienna)
  • New “revolutionary” movements in fine arts (Sezession, Wiener Werkstatt) (Museum for applied arts)
  • Otto Wagner and his school - Adolf Loos (walk through Vienna)
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class Participation - 30%
  • Midterm Exam - 20%
  • Research Paper - 30%
  • Final Exam - 30%

General introduction:

  • The forming of the Habsburg Monarchy
  • Territories and economic basis of the Habsburg Monarchy
  • Demographic development
  • The late Habsburg Monarchy in a European context
  • Industrialization and its impact on society and politics
  • Was the Habsburg Monarchy a Great Power?
  • Discussion of Empire Theories

The Social and Political Situation:

  • The Habsburg emperor and his court
  • The multinational nobility in the Habsburg Empire
  • The second society- the bourgeoisie
  • Printing Revolution and mass reading public
  • Education
  • The underprivileged classes of society (petite bourgeoisie, peasants, workers, outsiders of society)
  • The Jewish population
  • The role of women and the beginning of female emancipation
  • Struggle for political participation (Constitutionalism, Liberalism, Parties of Christian Socialists, Social Democrats and German Nationalists)

Arts and Science in Fin de Siècle Vienna:

  • City planning and urban modernization
  • Architecture and Fine Arts (General introduction to field trips)
  • Aspects of fin de siècle literature (presentation of papers)
  • Classical music versus operetta and Waltz (social approach to new forms of music)
  • Scientific progress in Vienna (2nd Viennese School of Medicine, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Otto Weininger, Ludwig Wittgenstein)
Required readings: 
  • Beller, Steven. A concise history of Austria. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press 2006.
  • Beller, Steven. Vienna and the Jews, 1867 – 1938. A cultural history. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press 1989.
  • Daviau, Donald. Major Figures of Turn of the Century Austrian Literature. Riverside, CA, 1991.
  • Endler, Franz. Vienna, A Guide to its Music. Vienna, 1989.
  • Janik, A., and S. Toulmin. Wittgenstein’s Vienna. New York, 1973.
  • Johnston, William. The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848-1938. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.
  • Lehne, Inge, and Lonnie Johnson. Vienna- The Past in the Present: A Historical Survey. 2nd ed. Vienna: Österreichischer Bundesverlag, 1995.
  • Pippal, Martina. A short Histroy of Art in Vienna. München: Beck 2001.
  • Schorske, Carl E. Fin de Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. New York: Knopf, 1980.
  • Vergo, Peter. Art in Vienna 1898-1918. New York, 1981.