Urban Space and Multilingualism in the Late Habsburg Empire

Urban Space and Multilingualism in the Late Habsburg Empire

Carl Bethke, University of Tübingen; Markian Prokopovych, University of Vienna; Tamara Scheer, Ludwig Boltzmann-Institute for Social Science History
From - Until
13.03.2014 - 15.03.2014
Tamara Scheer

This international conference will seek to approach the issue of multilingual and multi-ethnic urban societies of the Habsburg Empire in a larger European context. Multilingualism was one of the fundamental everyday practices of the Habsburg Empire and has attracted much scholarly attention in the past decades. Most of the research, however, concentrated only on a number of the most obvious fields where multilingualism manifested itself clearly and continues to provoke heated political debates today: schooling, education and politics. While politicians and the press during the late Habsburg Empire duly highlighted these important topics, this conference will aim to focus on areas that have hitherto been largely overlooked and that have only recently become the subject of interest for historical analysis.

Firstly, multilingualism in the Habsburg army has emerged as one of the promising trends in new military history. A closer look at the everyday practices and interactions between different army corps, within the army hierarchy and especially between the local garrisons and the local population can provide valuable new insights on the functioning of the public space in the late Dual Monarchy. The same can be said about the workings of multilingualism in art and culture in Central Europe, especially public art and culture – such as architecture, monuments, theatre, opera and street celebrations, – and about diverse and specific applications of multilingualism in industry, tourism and the media. Finally, the conference will address the issue whether, and in what form, multilingualism manifested itself in the private realm and “grey” semi-private spaces like private societies, in comparison to how it was seen and practiced in public.

While armies are often in the field, public culture as well as industrial establishments can be found in the countryside, and newspapers and advertisement reach out to the most remote corners of society, it is especially revealing to observe how multilingualism was practiced at the city level. In terms of locality, therefore, the conference will concentrate on specifically urban public space and the way diverse actors saw themselves and employed their linguistic skills in urban contexts spread throughout the Habsburg Empire.

At what level and at what time did the commander of a town garrison start communicating with the city representatives in a “local” language and what language would that be? Did it matter whether they were dealing with official municipal representatives or independent local activists? How did theatres shape their repertoires to suit the multilingual public of cities? How were local heroes, whose identities were more often than not too complex to fit a limited and constrained national vision, represented and commemorated in Habsburg multi-ethnic cities? How were industrial products, including everyday goods, marketed to fit a multilingual population in one particular locality? Was it possible to distinguish patterns employed by the advertisement industry that would reappear in many other localities in the Habsburg lands? What strategies of linguistic interaction, apart from retorting to the (German) lingua franca did those urban societies accustomed to multilingualism find? Were there conflicts and did the local citizens learn to deal with them? Was handling daily life without conflicts ever a possibility? Did the process of urbanisation that brought new populations into hitherto multi-ethnic cities change the carefully established arrangements and what strategies did the new groups that came from regions which had not been characterized by multilingualism foster in the new urban space? The conference will aim to answer these questions by looking at specific urban actors, groups and localities where multilingualism manifested itself most vividly throughout the Habsburg Monarchy.


Thursday, March, 13, 2014

Welcome: Prof. Oliver Schmitt (Institute for East European History, University of Vienna)
Introduction: Markian Prokopovych (University of Vienna), and
Tamara Scheer (Ludwig Boltzmann-Institute for Social Science History)

15.30-16.30 Panel 1: The Military in a Multilingual Society (1st part)
Chair: Tamara Scheer (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Science History)

Attila Réfi (Hungarian Academy of Sciences): Linguistic Knowledge and Cultural Transfers in the Habsburg Army from the Late 18th Century to the Middle of the 19th Century. The Antecedents of the Institutionalized Multilingualism of the Imperial and Royal Army

Rok Stergar (University of Ljubljana): The Language Policy and Practice of the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces in the Era of Ethnic Nationalisms: The Case of Ljubljana

17.00-18.00 Panel 1: The Military in a Multilingual Society (2nd part)
Chair: Mitchell G. Ash (University of Vienna)

Laurence Cole (University of Salzburg): Army Veterans in Urban Spaces in the Littoral (Küstenland)

Irina Marin (University of Leicester): K.u.K. Generals of Romanian Nationality and Their Views on the Language Question

18.15 Keynote
Pieter M. Judson (European University Institute Florence)
Encounters on the Urban Frontier: Multilingualism in Late Habsburg Austria

Friday, March, 13, 2014
9.30-11.00 Panel 2: Conflicts in Multilingual Cities
Chair: Gerhard Botz (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Science History)

Joshua Shanes (College of Charleston): The “bloody election” in Drohobycz: Violence, Ethnicity and Urban Politics on the Eve of the First World War

Frank Henschel (University of Leipzig): „Multilingualism“ in Kaschau/Kassa/Košice before WWI

Máté Rigó (Cornell University, Ithaca): Multilingualism Meets the War: The Borderlands of Transylvania Between 1914 and 1918

11.30-13.00 Panel 3: Languages and Public Space
Chair: Carl Bethke (University of Tübingen)

Stefan Michael Newerkla (University of Vienna): The Surviving Corporate Heritage of the Late Habsburg Monarchy - Linguistic and Cultural Aspects

Michaela Wolf (University of Graz): “The benefit for intellectual life”: Translation Policy and Multilingualism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy

Katalin Straner (Leibniz-Institute for European History, Mainz/Central European University Budapest): Scientific Lecturing and the Urban Public: Languages and Cultures of the Natural Sciences in Late-19th Century Budapest

14.30-16.00 Panel 4: Public Representation
Chair: Paul Miller (MacDaniel College, Maryland)

Sheila Skaff (Columbia University and Barnard College, New York): Film Exhibition in the Late Habsburg Empire

Carl Bethke (University of Tübingen): The Sarajevo Newspaper Bosnische Post, 1884-1896 – German Language, Croat Editors, Bosnian Patrotism

Dekel S. Schory (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev): Jewish Writers Experiencing the Viennese Atmosphere (1900-1914)

16.30-18.00 Panel 5: Music and Urban Space
Chair: Markian Prokopovych (University of Vienna)

Risto Pekka Pennanen (University of Tempere): Multilingualism in Café and Street Music in Sarajevo before the First World War

Philipp Ther (University of Vienna): Multilingualism in Czech and Polish Theatres

Srdjan Atanasovski (Institute of Musicology, SASA, Belgrade): Nation and Homeland Imagery in Multilingual Music Albums of Serbian Families in Late Habsburg Monarchy

Saturday, March, 15, 2014
9.30-11.00 Panel 6: (Mis)Managing Diversity
Chair: Michael Portmann (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Marion Wullschleger (ETH Zurich/University of Bern): The Polyglot Representatives of the Emperor: Language Use and Nationality Politics of the Austrian Governors in the City of Trieste, 1900-1918

Ágoston Berecz (Central European University Budapest): Non-Dominant Languages in the Administration of Hungarian Towns under Dualism (Transylvania and the Banat)

Jeroen van Drunen (University of Amsterdam): Czernowitz and the Bukovinian Desert – Observations on the Urban and Rural Aspects of Habsburg Bukovina’s Celebrated Multi-Lingualism

11.30-12.00 Closing Remarks followed by discussion
Carl Bethke (University of Tübingen), Markian Prokopovych (University of Vienna), and Tamara Scheer (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Science History)

Contact (announcement)

Tamara Scheer
Email: scheer.tamara@gmx.at