NWO grant for PhD-project Frederique Visser
Frederique Visser, winner of the Foundation’s 2020 Mr. Hugo Weiland Thesis, has been awarded a NWO grant to support her PhD-project 'Rhythms and Rupture: Everyday Life in Three Towns in Habsburg Central Europe, 1890-1930'. She will be a PhD-candidate at the University of Leiden, under supervision of Dr. Eric Storm and Prof. Dr. Jeroen Duindam, main applicant and currently interim holder of the Special Chair for Central European Studies.
The end of the First World War signalled the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The multi-ethnic state collapsed and was divided into several successor states. Other empires broke down at the same time. The massive scale of regime change defined 1918 as a watershed moment in history. The logic of this chronological-historical divide cannot be denied, nevertheless it has obscured numerous continuities in daily lives and experiences in Central Europe.
Frederique’s PhD-research examines these continuities in post-Habsburg Central Europe through a transregional comparison of three localities. The German-speaking communities of three former Habsburg towns, Bolzano/Bozen, Budějovice/Budweis, and Linz, found themselves in new nation-states, respectively Italy, Czechoslovakia and Austria. These states took diverging political paths during the interwar era. The project explores how ordinary people experienced these (inter)national changes and the extent to which they retained familiar routines and practices in their everyday lives. How did such routines reflect identifications with city, region, and the overarching level of the nation/empire? Did these overlapping layers of territorial identification form a stabilising factor in the transitional period from empire to nation-state?
Her focus on local and everyday perspectives reassesses ruptures and continuities in collective identities in Habsburg successor states. Ultimately, Frederique’s study will contribute to a better understanding of the history and perceptions of Central and Eastern Europe in which 1918 is no longer approached only as a watershed moment.