An Introduction to the Centre for Studies in Central European History: Sources, Countries, Culture

The research project of the Centre is a response to a highly topical issue concerning the roots of a Central European historical and cultural identity, with a special focus on the role of historical lands. The project forms a basis for the coordination of particular research activities at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of Masaryk University, Brno, and for their intensification through cooperation with other centres of academe in the Czech Republic and abroad. Involved in the project are three institutes of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy - the Historical Institute, the Institute of Ancillary Historical Sciences and Archives Studies and the Department of Art History - and to a lesser extent the Institute of Classical Studies and a number of individual research workers. The research project is focused on issues of methodology, history, geography, administration and culture, within a framework of interdisciplinary studies. It involves heuristic work, as well as the editing of important sources and syntheses of scientific conclusions in the form of monographs and miscellanies. Forty historians, art historians, ancillary historical-science research workers, philologists and editors are participating in the project's activities, which have been scheduled to continue for seven years. Alongside more experienced researchers, PhD graduates and students have the opportunity to take part in the project. In addition to research activities, the project includes international conferences and symposia, seminars, colloquia and workshops.

The task for the historians forming the team is to do research into both the earlier and later history of Central Europe, with a special focus on research into Czech statehood, the evolution of the estates structure, the modernisation of society, the transformation of elites, the relation of the people towards their land, the role of religion in the modern era, land historiography and historical memoirs. Experts in the ancillary historical sciences focus on the source base for historical research and continue with their publication of a Czech Diplomatary. Experts in medieval Latin philology concentrate on the editing of a series of writings by Jan Hus and on research into narrative sources and other genres of medieval Latin literature. Art historians work on modern methodology and the elaboration of a topography for the art history of Moravia in a medieval context, and on the editing of art-historical texts. All work is coordinated and overseen by the Academic Board of the research centre. A bonus to the work of project is the setting up of an editorial centre for the publication of a great number of publications generated by its research output.

The research project meets all the prerequisites of integration, and is forward-looking in regard to Pan-European research trends as well as more specific projects.