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Central Europe 1713-1914 The Habsburg Empire between Sanctio Pragmatica and World War I


Admission requirements



On 17 April 1713, Emperor Charles VI declared all the countries he then owned „indivisibiliter ac inseparabiliter“. Some scholars see this act as the formation of a Habsburg state after centuries of a system of different states that were only connected because they were ruled by the same sovereign. The discussion about the Habsburg Monarchy as a common state or a personal union of a number of partiallly independent states has been held in varying degrees of intensity until the end of the monarchy in 1918.
This series of lectures tries to find arguments both for the common state thesis as well as the personal union thesis in different fields like foreign policy, centralisation versus federalism, culture, military or economic. Thereby the common history of Central Europe in the 18th and 19th century will be made visible.
The first nine session will give a chronological overview considering all mentioned topics; the last four lectures will deal with more specific problems.

Course schedule:
Week 1: Charles VI and the „Sanctio Pragmatica“: Situation in Habsburg countries, Conflicts with France and the Ottoman Empire,
Week 2: Franz I and Maria Theresia: Reforms and consolidation, baroque culture
Week 3: Joseph II: The Experiment of a centralised monarchy
Week 4: From Leopold II to Franz II (I): The End of the Holy Roman Empire and the invention of a „Kaisertum Österreich“.
Week 5: The Biedermeier Epoch: Austria between civic life and national awakening
Week 6: The Revolution in 1848, the Slav’s Congress in Prague and the Independence War in Hungary
Week 7: Franz Joseph part 1: Austria and the neo-absolutism

Midterm exam (March 25)

Week 8: Franz Joseph part 2: Nationalism: The German Question, the Italian Question, the Hungarian Question
Week 9: Franz Joseph Part 3: From Dualism to „Völkerkerker“
Week 10: Habsburg Monarchy and Federalism: Ideas for a new Monarchy at the beginning of 20th century
Week 11: Economy in Central European in the 18th and 20th Century
Week 12: Central European Culture
Week 13: „These Good Old Days“ The reception of Habsburg-Monarchy since its end. The Habsburgs, a special Family!? Conclusion

Course objectives

The student can:
1. organise and use relatively large amounts of information
2. reflect critically on knowledge and understanding as presented in academic literature

The student has:
3. knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically of General History the place of European history from 1500 in a worldwide perspective; with a focus on the development and role of political institutions;
4. gained insight in and knowledge of the history of the Habsburg empire during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, especially its political social system, enlightenment versus „Reform from Above“, national awakening versus overall culture, multinational concepts.


See BA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Course Load

Total course load is 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours.

  • Attending lectures (2 hours per week x 13 weeks) = 26 hours.

  • Studying the compulsory literature = 114 hours

  • exam: 4 (hours)

Assessment method

Midterm (40%) and end term (60%) examination with short questions and essay questions.
Both examinations will assess all course objectives (1-4).

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
1)the final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average


In this course Blackboard will be used for practical information and links to Internet-sources.

Reading list

Charles W. Ingrao, The Habsburg Monarchy 1618-1815 (Cambridge 2000), chapter 4 to 8.
Robert A. Kann, A History of the Habsburg Empire, 1526-1918 (Berkeley 1977), chapter 5 to 8.


Via uSis.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

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