Courses 2018

Vienna in the last Decades of the Habsburg Monarchy

History, society, and culture.

Karl VocelkaFebruary 3 - 4

This class offers first an introduction to the Habsburg Monarchy in the late 19th and beginning 20th centuries regarding territories, economy and population of the Empire. The list of historical developments starts with the revolution of 1848/49 and the long-term effect of this event and its ideas. The most important modifications of the monarchy like the wars in Italy 1859 and against Prussia in 1866 and the Balkan politics (culminating in the occupation and annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina 1878 and 1908) will be shortly discussed. The crisis in 1914 and the beginning of the First World War – ending in the dissolution of the multinational Habsburg Monarchy – will be analyzed in the framework of the recent controversy in the year 2014 and the Imperial theory.

Internal changes of the political system from a new absolutism following the defeat of the 1848 revolution to a constitutional monarch and the Compromise with Hungary in 1867 - leading to the formation of the Austro-Hungarian double monarchy - constitute the background of internal politics. The course will analyze the role of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty and the myth of the Habsburgs (e.g. Francis Joseph, his wife Elisabeth, their son Rudolf and his mysterious death in Mayerling; Francis Ferdinand and his assassination in Sarajevo 1914). This will lead to an investigation of society in the fin-de-siècle period, focusing on the Habsburg residence and capital Vienna, which – by population growth and migration around 1900 – developed into a multinational metropolis.

Aristocrats and bourgeois society formed a public and a pool of patrons of arts of the period (treated in the other courses of the program). Social problems (industrialization and the terrible status of the lower classes), new political parties and the rise of anti-Semitism are necessary to understand the tensions that influenced the cultural developments. Stress will be laid on the role of women and their beginning emancipation in society.

At the end of the class a short comparison of the cultural achievements in Vienna with other parts of the monarchy – for Bohemia and Moravia in Prague and Brünn (Brno), for Hungary in Budapest, but also in Galicia in Lemberg (Lviv) – and an outlook to the continuation of the cultural phenomena in the succession states, especially in Austria will be given.




Art and Culture at the Turn of the Century

“To the Time its Art. To Art its Freedom.”

Monika Schwärzler-BrodesserFebruary 5 - 164 ECTS

The art course of the Winter School will deal with the cultural and intellectual achievements of a number of prominent representatives from the fields of fine art, applied art, and architecture. It is the aim of the course to provide a multifaceted picture of what happened at the time, when art slowly embarked on the project of Modernism. The course will draw a line from Historicism, the style prevailing in the second half of the 19th century, to Art Nouveau, the style of the young, and will end with an outlook on the Austrian type of Expressionism. All these phenomena and developments will be viewed in the wider context of European art and architecture.

The following topics will be covered in the course:

  • Historicism: Hans Makart, his impact on the life style and taste of the Viennese bourgeoisie and his history paintings, portraiture, and interior design projects;

  • Art Nouveau (Jugendstil): The Vienna Secession movement (its motto and artistic program) and the Secession building by Joseph Maria Olbrich;

  • Gustav Klimt: The scandal caused by his university paintings, his iconic images, and their reception;
  • Female painters of the time: Broncia Koller-Pinell, Olga Wiesinger-Florian, their limited access to art education, their status in a highly patriarchic society;

  • Pictorialism: The aesthetic style prevailing in photography at the turn of the century;

  • The Vienna Workshop: Its notion of applied art and ethics of craftsmanship. The the business model of this artistic enterprise;

  • Adolf Loos: His criticism of the Viennese society - “Ornament and Crime”;

  • New developments in architecture: Otto Wagner: his contribution to the urban renewal of the city, and his famous buildings and their architectural concept;

  • Joseph Hoffmann: the idea of the “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art)

  • Austrian Expressionism: Egon Schiele, his anti- aestheticism as a slap in the face of the Viennese bourgeoisie; Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl;


Requirements: Attendance and participation (20% of the grade), Reading (20%), Project (20%) and Final Exam (40%).




Literature and Film in Vienna around 1900

Wynfrid KrieglederFebruary 5 - 164 ECTS

Around 1900 the literary scene in Vienna was highly complex. In this course we will concentrate on the “Young Vienna”-school – a group of writers who embraced modern developments like psychoanalysis and dealt with formerly taboo topics like human sexuality.

The author we will chiefly deal with is Arthur Schnitzler, however, we will also spend some time discussing writers like Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Karl Kraus.

Besides, we will explore how this historical epoch was portrayed later in films.


Literary texts that will be discussed:

  • Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Elektra

  • Arthur Schnitzler: Der Reigen
  • Arthur Schnitzler: Paracelsus
  • Arthur Schnitzler: Lieutenant Gustl

  • Arthur Schnitzler Traumnovelle (which was the literary model for Stanley Kubrick‘s movie Eyes Wide Shut in 1999)


Requirements: Attendance and participation in class discussion constitute 30%, a short presentation of one of the literary texts 30% and a written final (essay-type) 40% of the grade.




Music and Musical Culture in Vienna around 1900

Markus GrasslFebruary 5 - 164 ECTS

The musical culture in Vienna around 1900 is widely renowned for its exceptional creativity and innovative capacity. The protagonists and the achievements commonly associated with this vital period in music history – e.g. Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schönberg and his „Second Viennese School“ – for a long time also stood at the center of musicological research on 20th century music. In recent years, however, the perspective has been broadened substantially, mainly due to the impact of the intensified work on Viennese modernism in other humanities and in cultural studies. As a consequence, the musical culture in Fin de siècle-Vienna became visible as a complex phenomenon characterized by radical shifts as well as continuities with the past and even by contradictory tendencies.


The course will try to address the topic from several vantage points:

  • The institutions, organizations and spaces of musical life, in relation to the diverse strata of the musical public and to the pertinent political and social conditions.

  • The wide array of musical styles and repertoires present at that time, resulting not only from the contemporary compositional activities (which were multi-layered in itself, ranging from “radical modernism” to popular music), but also from the ongoing relevance of earlier music.

  • The diverse aesthetical positions and general views on music, comprising newly developed scientific approaches as well as metaphysical idealizations and even ideologically conditioned functionalizations.

  • The interrelations between the developments in music and in other intellectual and artistic fields, leading to the question, how music can or has to be integrated into a comprehensive concept of “Viennese Modernism” around 1900.


Requirements: Regular attendance and participation in class discussions constitute 20%, reading (including a written abstract) 30% and a written final exam 50% of the grade.




Society and Psychoanalysis in Sigmund Freuds Vienna

Eveline ListFebruary 5 - 164 ECTS

Around 1900, economic and social changes fostered deepening political and cultural conflicts. Emancipatory movements and mass phenomena demanded new approaches. Vienna was culturally highly complex and politically and socially divided. Religion and social conventions ceased to provide sufficient orientation. Mass movements and political demagogues characterized the public space.

Psychoanalysis offered new ways of dealing with actual problems and found its way not only into psychiatry, into art, literature, and music but also into the emerging social sciences and political analysis. This was a radical reaction against traditional views of the world.

Psychoanalysis would combine developments that had been around since the 18th century. The scientific exploration of intimate emotions and of areas that were once taboo – like infantile sexuality or the profane foundation of religion and the functioning of propaganda – was considered scandalous, but nevertheless gained a wide notoriety and eventually revealed dimensions of human behavior and cultural life commonly denied or concealed.


In this course we want to combine a look at the history of human sciences with an exploration of developments in the fields of society, politics and culture.

The course will cover the following topics:

  • The political and social situation of the late Habsburg Empire
  • Jewish emancipation

  • Labor movement and women’s rights movement

  • Political violence and war

  • Mass psychology and (political) propaganda

  • The scientific background of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud and his discoveries:
    • (1900) Interpretation of Dreams
    • (1911) Formulation on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning
    • (1907) Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices
    • (1907) Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming
    • (1915) Thoughts for the Times on War and Death
    • (1921) Mass Psychology and Analysis of the Ego


Requirements: Attendance and participation in class discussion constitute 30%, small group discussion of reading-assignments and the presentations 30% and a written final exam 40% of the grade.