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   Course Title    Shaping of the Public Spheres in East-Central Europe
Lecturer    Natalia Kovalchuk
Institution    Lviv Ivan Franko State University
Country    Ukrain

I. Aim of the course.

The objectives of the course are:

  1. to explain to students the basic notion of public sphere

  2. to introduce various interpretations of public sphere

  3. to focus on the process of making of the public sphere in Eastern and Central Europe

  4. to explore some specific features of the development of public spheres within the social and cultural context of East-Central Europe.

II. Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum.

The course will be taught in Ukrainian and aimed at students in the Department of History of Lviv Theological Academy. It is designed for 4th-year students who have already taken a normative course on History of East-Central Europe and thus have sufficient knowledge in the historical background of the course.

By using class discussions as a main teaching method and introducing to students a wide range of literature, published in English, the course responds to the Academy’s intention to bring the department’s curricula and methods closer to those of Western universities.

III. Methods used.

The course is divided into weekly seminars, which explore main topics and problems of public communication. Every class students will have presentations on the main topic of the week. Class discussions will be based on the weekly readings on a particular topic. Most of the required readings are in Ukrainian and English. Since most students have sufficient English reading skills, this will not constitute a problem.

IV. Course content.

Week 1. Introduction.

Description of the course, its aim and objectives. The structure of the forthcoming lectures. Overview of literature and sources. Final requirements.

The notions of public sphere. Jürgen Habermas and his seminal work "The structural Transformation of the Public Sphere". The ideal form of public sphere as "a realm of our social life in which…public opinion can be formed".

Week 2. The modification of Habermas’ model.

The rise of the reading public and the origins of public communication in England. The emergence of the public sphere in France – public opinion and the end of the Old Regime. Coffeehouses, salons, journals, reading clubs.

Week 3. The culture of the underworld.

The literary underground of the Old Regime. Low-life literature: authors and figures. Pamphlets and opposition. Radical opposition in early nineteenth century England and its rhetoric.

Week 4. The limitations of the public sphere.

Women and the public sphere. Were the structures of public life initially gendered?

Week 5. From rural societies to national political cultures.

Creation of local public spheres. Their articulation with a national, cultural, and political arena. National conflicts – competing public spheres. Special features of the formation of the "small" nations. Miroslav Hroh’s typology of national movements. A, B, C, stages of the national movement. Phase B - creating a national communication network.

Week 6. Nationalism and communication.

The press and media, the rise of a reading public and popular literacy in Eastern Europe. National movements in the Habsburg’s empire. Czech, Slovak national revivals, Illirism, the case of the Poles. The role of patriotic periodicals, literary almanacs, voluntary associations, reading societies, Matica’s.

Week 7. Modern city cultures in Eastern Europe.

Case presentations. Vienna. Budapest, Praha, Lviv.

Week 8. Women in public life. The case of Ukrainians.

A discussion based on the book by Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak, Feminists Despite Themselves. Women in Ukrainian Community Life, 1884-1939.

Final discussion.


Mandatory readings.

  1. Roger Chartier, "Communities of Readers" in The Order of Books (Cambridge, 1994).

  2. Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. An Inquiry into a Cathegory of Bourgeois Society (Cambridge, 1989).

  3. Mona Ozouf, "Public Opinion and the End of the Old regime" (in Reader).

  4. Robert Darnton, The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (In Reader).

  5. Geoff Eley, " Nations, Publics, and Political Cultures: Placing Habermas in the Nineteenth Century" (in Reader).

  6. Miroslav Hroh, Social Preconditions of National Revival in Europe. A Comparative Analysis of the Social Composition of Patriotic Groups among the Smaller European Nations (Cambridge, 2000).

  7. Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak, Feminists Despite Themselves. Women in Ukrainian Community Life, 1884-1939, (Edmonton, 1988).

  8. Salomea Pavlychko, Dyskurs Modernizmu v Ukrajins’kij Literaturi (Kiev, 1996).

  9. M. Gross. On the Integration of the Croatian Nation. In East European Quaterly, XV, 1981.

  10. The Czech Renascence of the 19th century. Toronto, 1970.

  11. Osvoboditel’noje dvizhenije narodov Avstrijskoj imperiji. Moskow, 1980.

  12. Sidelnikov S. O chiselnom sostave bolharskih revoliutsionnyh orhanizatsij v 1869-1873g. in Istoriko-sociologicheskie issledovanija. Moscow, 1970.

Recommended readings.

  1. Reinhard Wittmann, "Was there a Reading Revolution at the end of the Eighteenth Century?" (In Reader).

  2. Steve Pinkus, "Coffee Politicians Does Create" in The Journal of Modern History, 1995, Vol. 67.

  3. Alfred A. Meyer, "Feminism, Socialism and Nationalism in Eastern Europe" in Women, State, and Party in Eastern Europe, (Durham, 1985).

  4. Rosalind Marsh, Women in Russia and Ukraine. (Cambridge, 1996).

  5. Petro Karmans’kyj, Ukrajins’ka Bogema (Lviv, 1996).

  6. Yaroslav Hrytsak, Lviv. A Multicultural History Through the Centuries. A conference paper.

  7. Nationalism in Eastern Europe. Seattle, 1969.

  8. Ethnic Diversity and Conflict in Eastern Europe. Oxford, 1980.

  9. Gale Stokes, ed. Nationalism in the Balkans: An Annotated Bibliography. (New York, 1984).

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