What is Austria? Who are its people, how do they see themselves and what is Austria’s position in the European context? In this course we will focus on Austria in the 20th and 21st century, we will discuss questions of Austrian culture, society and politics, literature but also arts and music as a critical prism for analyzing and understanding historic developments.
What you get is an overview of Austria’s history, society and politics and its cultural production. You will also learn to understand the mechanisms of how culture contributes to the construction of identities. In this course we will encounter outstanding Austrian writers such as Thomas Bernhard and Elfriede Jelinek, the Nobel Prize winner of 2004, classic 20th century composers like Gustave Mahler and Arnold Schonberg, and renowned Austrian filmmakers such as Michael Haneke. We will further look at prominent cultural landmarks such as the Danube or Vienna’s New Year’s Concert and learn to understand and analyse their symbolic value for Austria’s self-understanding as a nation of culture.