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Syllabus Austria after 1945: The Reinvention of a Nation and Construction of National Identity - 54813
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Last update 03-09-2017
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: european studies

Semester: 1st Semester

Teaching Languages: English

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Karin Stoegner

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: by prior arrangement

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Karin Stoegner

Course/Module description:
Austrian identity is definitely difficult to grasp. Austria used to be regarded in two associated manners, on the one hand in terms of what it is not, on the other hand in terms of what it is not only. So Austria is viewed as being not German and not only the Habsburg Monarchy. After 1945, this twofold demarcation became prevalent – the Second Republic, the new Austria, was meant to start from scratch, leaving behind and successfully blinding out the experience of fascism and National Socialism.
This course will analyse the different ways of identity construction in connection with the invention of an Austrian nation after 1945 – from the immediate post-war period to the Kreisky era, followed by the “Waldheim Affair” and the “Haider Phenomenon” in the 1980s when simply silencing the past was not possible anymore.

Course/Module aims:
The objective of the course is to critically challenge the concepts of nation, identity and memory by asking for the social, political and economic factors that are operative in what is called the nation as an “imagined community”. Special consideration will be given to the meaning of “home” as well as to the gender dimension in these constellations of nation, identity and memory.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
Acquisition of general knowledge about Austrian postwar history and memory. Introduction into methods and theories related to a critique of nation, identity and memory. Individual and collective ability to work with texts, discuss them in small groups and present them to the class.

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: The teaching is organized as a thematically arranged overview of the Austrian postwar history with regard to nation-building and the construction of a national identity. National identity is thereby viewed as an ideological process that expresses and at the same time also conceals social, economic and political developments.
Introductory sessions will provide the students with relevant background knowledge about Austrian history and culture. Each segment of the course will deal with a specific thematic aspect of Austrian identity formation.
The students are required to independently read text material that is offered by the course instructor and to write short summaries of these texts. On the basis of individual close reading the topics will be discussed in small groups and presented to the class. Short written exam at the end of the term.

Course/Module Content:
23.10. Introduction
30.10. What is a nation?
6.11. and 13.11. National identity – critique of a concept
20.11. Post-war Austria
27.11. Theorizing the Home – Jean Améry on Austria’s (not) working through the past
4.12. The Kreisky Era
11.12. The Waldheim Affair
18.12. The Haider Phenomenon
25.12. no class
1.1. Identity and memory – Things. Places. Years
8.1. Identity and memory – Literature and Architecture
15.1. Austrian national identity and gender
22.1. Final reflection

Required Reading:
A detailed reading list and all texts will be provided on moodle

Additional Reading Material:
Recommended reading.

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 100 %
see additional information

Additional information:
Course/Module assessment: Percent of Final Grade (%):
End of year written examination/Oral Examination 40%
Assignments (summaries of texts) 30%
Small group discussion and presentation to the class 30%
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.