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A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe. Vol II, Part I: Negotiating Modernity in the ‘Short Twentieth Century' and Beyond, 1918-1968

Editors: Balázs Trencsenyi, Michal Kopeček, Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič, Maria Falina, and Mónika Baár
Oxford University Press 2018

This book has been a product of the research under the "Negotiating Modernity" project supported by the European Research Council and hosted by the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia. 

A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe. Vol II: Negotiating Modernity in the ‘Short Twentieth Century' and Beyond, Part I: 1918-1968, Part II: 1968-2018

A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe is a synthetic work, authored by an international team of researchers, covering twenty national cultures and 250 years. It goes beyond the conventional nation-centered narratives and presents a novel vision especially sensitive to the cross-cultural entanglement of political ideas and discourses. Its principal aim is to make these cultures available for the global 'market of ideas' and revisit some of the basic assumptions about the history of modern political thought, and modernity as such.

The present volume is a sequel to Volume I: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Long Nineteenth Century'. It begins with the end of the Great War, depicting the colorful intellectual landscape of the interwar period and the increasing political and ideological radicalization culminating in the Second World War. Taking the war experience both as a breaking point but in many ways also a transmitter of previous intellectual traditions, it maps the intellectual paradigms and debates of the immediate postwar years, marked by a negotiation between the democratic and communist agendas, as well as the subsequent processes of political and cultural Stalinization. Subsequently, the post-Stalinist period is analyzed with a special focus on the various attempts of de-Stalinization and the rise of revisionist Marxism and other critical projects culminating in the carnivalesque but also extremely dramatic year of 1968. This volume is followed by Volume II: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Short Twentieth Century' and Beyond, Part II: 1968-2018.

Table of Contents

Part I: Transcending Modernity: Interwar and Wartime Visions of Regeneration

1: Nation-State Building and its Alternatives
2: Liberalism on the Defensive
3: The Many Faces of Leftism
4: The 'Third Way'
5: Towards a Conservative Revolution
6: A New State for 'New Men'
7: World War II: Collaboration, Resistance, and Visions of the Postwar Orde

Part II: Hybridized Modernity: Communism, Reformism, and Dissent in a Divided Europe

8: The Postwar 'Transition Years'
9: Stalinism and De-Stalinization
10: Towards Socialism with a Human Face?

An interview with Balázs Trencsényi and Michal Kopeček on the Journal of the History of Ideas Blog 

Reviews and Awards

"The History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe is a brilliant book. It combines the intellectual history of Central East Europe with the regions political, sociological, and legal past for the first time. It is based on a very deep knowledge of the individual development of the various nations of East Central Europe and brings them together in a new, original, and innovative synthesis." Martin Schulze Wessel, Professor of Eastern European History, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich

"The authors give us a work of reflection and learning that readers will turn to for generations; they not only recover the political thought of dozens of important writers across East Central Europe, but also uncover a lost map of hopes and insights, showing paths taken and not taken, right, left, and center, all of relevance to a region that continues to seek orientation. The authors come from many countries, but their voice is unified, and prose a pleasure to read, wherever one dips in, remarkably balanced throughout, leaning only in the direction of resolute, disinterested scholarship." John Connelly, Professor of History, University of California Berkeley

"An ambitious collective endeavor by leading scholars of the post-1989 generation to revisit the key issues and rediscover the leading figures shaping the main currents of political thought in twentieth-century East-Central Europe. Its major contribution lies precisely in the transnational approach to the subject, providing a complex historical narrative and original insights into the political cultures of the region and their lasting relevance. Required reading for those who want to understand the intellectual background to the main political trends coming from East Central Europe today." Jacques Rupnik, Director of Research, Sciences Po, Paris

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