The Institute of History, Czech Academy of Sciences

Research Centre for the History of East Europe

INAUGURATION OF ACTIVITIES - 1 September 2015

Director of the Center:
Doc. PhDr. Radomír Vlček, CSc.

Contact Address:
Institute of History AS CR, v. v. i., Brno branch
Veveří 97, 602 00  Brno, Czech Republic


FELLOWS OF THE RESEARCH CENTER

The Research Center for the History of Eastern Europe (hereinafter, just the “Center”) facilitates cooperation among researchers and research institutions who devote themselves to subjects from the cultural, social, economic, spiritual, and political history of Eastern Europe as well as topics relating to the past of this historic discipline. It focuses on supporting and developing inter-institutional cooperation, within which is a particular emphasis on comparative and interdisciplinary studies of the history of Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe is, at the same time, understood as the geopolitical and cultural space of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic lands, and the countries of the former Soviet Union with a preponderance of Slavic elements and some possible overlap into areas and cultures that border upon and interact with this territory. Individual research projects run the entire chronological range of the history of this area. Generally, they are initiated after the convocation of scholarly meetings, conferences, and colloquia. These will maintain a strong focus on methodological issues and changes that they have undergone over time with consideration for the founding and development of the field. The Center’s goal is to renew and develop the tradition of Czech historical and cultural comparative studies, particularly those that incorporate multiple academic disciplines and encompass a wide geopolitical scope in their treatments of the history of East Europe. The goal is to open up a more complex view into the past of the East European area fostered through the development of new scholarly perspectives and discussions among colleagues. This cultural area is, at the same time, conceived in a broad perspective for approaching discourses and questions and in the cultural, historical, and political variability. In all work, there is emphasis upon the international dimension.

Appointment of fellows for the Center will take place with the approval of the director of the Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Doc. PhDr. Pavel Boček, CSc., Masaryk University, Brno, Faculty of Arts
Doc. PhDr. Josef Dohnal, CSc., Masaryk University, Brno, Faculty of Arts
Doc. PhDr. Lubica Harbuľová, CSc., University of Presov, Faculty of Arts
PhDr. Bohuslav Litera, CSc., Charles University, Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences
Doc. PhDr. František Stellner, Ph.D., Charles University, Prague, Faculty of Arts
Mgr. Josef Šaur, Ph.D., Masaryk University, Brno, Faculty of Arts
Doc. PhDr. Luboš Švec, CSc., Charles University, Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences
Doc. PhDr. Radomír Vlček, CSc., Institute of History AS CR, v. v. i., Brno branch
Mgr. Lenka Vlčková Kryčerová, Masaryk University, Brno, Faculty of Arts
PhDr. Emil Voráček, DrSc., Institute of History AS CR, v. v. i.
Mgr. Zbyněk Vydra, Ph.D., University of Pardubice, Faculty of Arts


SCHOLARLY COMMISSION

The goal of the Scholarly Commission is to support the scholarly and professional cooperation of historians and other researchers who devote themselves to investigating the past in the East European space. This is undertaken within the context of interdisciplinary chronological and diachronic research into the past of the countries of East Europe, focusing particularly on a comparative analytical-synthetic perspective on the societies, states, cultures, and civilizations of East Europe, which are understood within wider geopolitical and cultural-historical relationships. There is also a focus on the development and transformations of methodology and the fields engaged in such research. The Center’s main forms of outreach are: publication activities, meetings within disciplines as well as among them, domestic and international conferences, colloquia, and discussions. Most members of the Commission are researchers hailing from the historical sciences, but some also come from kindred disciplines that are directly concerned with the history of East Europe and the past of those disciplines that investigate it. This international dimension enables more robust confrontation and mutual enrichment of the Czech national perspective.

Appointment to the Commission shall take place with the approval of the director of the Institute of History CAS, v. v. i.

Prof. PhDr. Miroslav Daniš, CSc., Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Arts
Prof. PhDr. Jan Holzer, Ph.D., Masaryk University, Brno, Faculty of Social Studies
PhDr. Tatiana Ivantyšynová, CSc., Institute of History of Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava
Prof. dr. hab. Andrzej Gil, The John Paul II. Catholic University of Lublin
Doc. Michail V. Kovaljov, k.i.n., Saratovskij gosudarstvennyj techničeskij universitet imeni Ju. A. Gagarina
Prof. dr. hab. Leszek Zasztowt, Institute of History of Polish Academy of Sciences, Warszawa

Meetings of fellows of the Research Center shall take place once every year and they are connected with, or preceded by, a scholarly colloquium and discussion meetings.


DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE RESEARH CENTER FOR THE HISTORY OF EAST EUROPE

The study of the history of East Europe has a rich scholarly tradition within the Czech milieu. However, until this time it has lacked a coordinating base, and research has been conducted scattered throughout various university departments and in centers associated with the Academy of Sciences. After fragmentary analytical works by the leading Czech historians – the Bohemists of the 19th century (Josef L. Píč and Josef Kalousek) – who embraced the study of specific East European historical subjects as a valuable basis for comparison with events that take place in the Czech lands, Jaroslav Bidlo and Tomáš G. Masaryk (most notably) demonstrated the necessity of comprehensive study of the history of the East European space for Czech scholars. However, truly analytical work in the area of the history of the East European space and the constitution of such as study as a historical discipline appeared only in the period between the two world wars, mainly thanks to the historians Jan Slavík and Josef Macůrek, which established a distinctive tradition. The topical and methodological scope of their studies and their pupils’ studies suggesting the stratification of the discipline and its essential comparative dimension was also acknowledged abroad. Postwar Czech and Czechoslovak developments then forced the study of the history of East Europe into ideological frameworks that led to oversimplification and often also distortion. Therefore, it was only after 1990 that the study of the history of East Europe within Czech institutions was free to aspire to the methodological and topical competitiveness of West European and American research efforts. The abolishment of academic departments and research centers specializing in the history of the USSR certainly had its justifications in the first half of the 1990s. However, it also hindered attempts by historians to more rapidly overcome the forty year predominance of Marxist ideology that ensured an absence of modern research methods and subjects in (among many other fields) the history of East Europe. It was also necessary, although more or less on an individual basis, to reevaluate the existing treatments of such subjects and to aim towards new topical and methodological tasks for individuals. The present state of the history of East Europe, understood in the broad geopolitical and cultural-civilizational context of the entire world, and the need for even Czech studies thus oriented, would address the current issues in historical retrospective. It demonstrates that it is necessary for Czech studies of the history of East Europe to expand into an interdisciplinary comparative level to address cultural and political issues on a broader basis. This requirement is directly related to the history of thought and the history of worldviews as well as the as-yet-unexamined history of the field itself, including transformations in its methodological orientation.
The Research Center for the History of East Europe, therefore, sets its aims as connecting the research of experienced scholars and their subjects with new impulses and topics, inspiring its researchers methodologically, encouraging beginning researchers, and, by means of participation in doctoral study programs in history, making a general contribution to the field of history by modernizing its study in the area of historical Russian studies. A significant part of the Center’s work is comprised of discussion meetings devoted to methodological and topical issues in the study of the history of East Europe and to the past as well as the present state of this field.
The Research Center for the History of East Europe primarily focuses on research into the history of the Russian and Soviet empires, through all their historical vicissitudes, and it particularly tracks the social, state, spiritual, and intellectual aspects. At the same time, it does not neglect the impact this process has had on the Czech, Slovak, and other cultural areas. Therefore, this work is not only analytical, but primarily makes use of the comparative approach. Besides elementary study of the transformations in the East European area as a whole, it also examines phenomena of everyday life within the framework of changes from the Holy Rus and Grand Duchy of Moscow – imperial/Petrine conglomerate – Soviet whole. It also devotes attention to transformations within in the Czech perspective on Russia and the East Slavic area; that is, it pays particular attention to the history of Czech and Slovak historical Russian studies, to their historical conditionality, objectivity, and misinterpretation. This does not mean only an examination of the history of the field of Russian studies, but a much wider history of research into the past of East Europe.


PROPOSAL FOR RESEARCH PROGRAM 2015–2020

1. Research Subject Russia: State – Culture – Civilization in Historical Retrospective
Among the key topics that the Research Center for Historical Russian Studies has taken an interest in and which have until now been only partially opened and treated only to fragmentary analysis are the role of the state and its institutions in the transformations of the period, and the cultural context (in close relationship to the transformations of culture and the entire, broadly conceived, “Russian” civilization). The same problem of the continuity and discontinuity of the Russian past is tracked in connection with the transformation of the culture, thought, spiritual power, and the influence of the Orthodox Church. An integral aspect of this work is examination of changes in Russian daily life. The Center primarily focuses on:
- The role of the state in the transformations in Eastern European history
- The past of cultures and the civilizational influences in the East European space
- Transformations in thinking in the East European space
- The roles, significance, and assertion of power by the church and orthodoxy
- East/West dichotomies
- We / They in the East European space

2. Research Topics for the Study of East European History
The past of this field is traditionally a neglected side of Czech historical-East European research. At the same time, identifying them within the broader context of the evolution of Czech social science disciplines (particularly Slavic studies) is an essential aspect not only of the field’s own self-reflection, but also for the establishment of new research interests.

3. Interdisciplinary Research
The history of East Europe cannot dispense with an interdisciplinary perspective and confrontation with subjects, methods, goals, and findings from research done in related social science disciplines. In our own research we are particularly keen on bringing together the perspectives of the historian, political scientist, linguist, and cultural historian in contemporary historical reflections on issues that have been identified. This all follows up on the tradition of Czechoslovak research into the history of East Europe. However, it also encompasses broader international cooperation and embraces a wider scope for the topics in their international dimensions.
 
4. Conference with International Participation

2015 - Orthodox Russia / Imperial Russia: Comparison of Dimensions
2016 - Genesis of Russian Terrorism in the 19th Century: Historical and Cultural Aspects
        - Czech Research into the Past and Culture of East Europe in the CAS 1953-1989: Critical Evaluations
2017 - Reform and Revolution: The Necessity of Russian Revolutions at the Beginning of the 20th Century
        - The Current State of Czech Research and Findings on East Europe
2018 - Without the Powerful we are Powerless: Historical and Cultural Aspects of the Role of Personalities
          in the History of East Europe
        - Personalities of Czech Historical Russian Studies, Ukrainian Studies, and Belarusian Studies

5. Public Lectures, Presentations, and Popularization of the Scholarship

2015 - Josef Macůrek: Edice Věda kolem nás 
        - The Slavonic Review: One Hundred Volumes of Slavic Studies research

6. Colloquia and Discussion Meetings
Topically focused discussions held 4x annually on current dissertation work in the field of historical Russian studies (FF MU in Brno, FF UK in Prague, FF KU in Bratislava, FF University of Presov).


Исследовательский центр истории Восточной Европы