Skip to main content

Research Seminar: Imperial Landscape in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Central Europe. A Study Into the vision of Nature and Countryside in Ethnographic Works and Visual Art

Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 5:40 pm – 7:40 pm

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff of the Department of History, 

We are continuing our departmental tradition of research seminars. In these seminars, professors and researchers provide insights into their current work.

On Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 17:40 PM CET, we will have a lecture by Paul Bauer, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague. The seminar will take place at the Vienna Campus in classroom A-211.

Abstract: In 1994, art historian W.J.T. Mitchell wrote that “the semiotic features of landscape, and the historical narratives they generate, are tailor-made for the discourse of imperialism, which conceived itself as an expansion of landscape understood as an inevitable, progressive development in history, and expansion of ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’ into a ‘Natural’ space in a progress that itself narrated as ‘natural’”. Following Mitchell’s statement that landscape images are medium with material and symbolic “means”, I will discuss the extent to which the intertwined of visual art productions and ethnographic works developed, in late 19th century and early 20th century imperial Austria, transnational visual schemes that have informed the view of countryside and nature for its beautification, and conservation.

Supported by sources from the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk art, the Pictures Archives of the Austrian National Library, and the Albertina fund of photographs, I will question how landscape representations in paintings, drawings and photographs are relevant medium to move forward the reflection on how the modern fears of estrangement, displacement and loss has been articulated to the valuation of nature’s aesthetic and its protection.

Bio: Paul Bauer’s research interests cover the geography of borders and national identities, the social issues of commemorative policies in Central Europe, and the  question of transdisciplinarity in social sciences. He is currently working on the socio-geographic aspects of conflictual and shared heritages in Central Europe with a special focus on the political and scientific issues of the musealization of violent pasts and its role in the (re)framing of post-war victim/perpetrator relations.