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Regions and Identities in Comparative Perspective

doc. PhDr. Luďa Klusáková, CSc. / Mgr. Jaroslav Ira


General interest in European social history is expected. The course is based on active participation. The teachers will assist the students with the choice of their topic for the essay which is required as final written work. The course will use lecture, seminar discussion, workshop and field work format. Readings will be assigned for the course, and students will be expected to prepare for the class on the basis of the texts and reading questions.


“Europe of regions”, “European regional diversities” is very frequently used. Is it pertinent, or is it a cliché? The course aims to look at the issue of region from the perspective of history, geography and sociology. The term “region” is one of the most often used words in the present day public and academic discourse in Europe. It is used in the relation to nation states and in the context of European integration. However, region is not a new term, and regional agenda has a history of its own in most European countries. Region is also a concept very useful for historical analysis. To understand such European processes as building nation states, economic and political integration, tensions between cores and peripheries, resentments to various oppressions, requires orientation in history and cultural geography of Europe. To understand the discourse about regions, regionalism and regional history, appears to be of outmost importance. Stronger interest in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe among students is expected, and we are prepared to respond to it. Course is based on dialogue, it is organised as a combination of lectures, seminar discussions, workshop style of work.

By the end of the semester the students will be able

  1. to understand various approaches to the concept of region and regionalism in Europe
  2. to apply regional perspective on European history, in combination with particularly modernity/ backwardness, core/periphery
  3. to provide understanding of discussed themes in comparative perspective
  4. to practice the debate and to articulate their approach to the problem they would eventually like to research

Grading policy

The grading will be based on attendance and participation in the discussions, midterm essay and final paper:

The midterm test (app. 30 minutes) will be written in the classroom in the sixth week of the program. The midterm test will test basic acquaintance with the issues discussed in the first five weeks.

The final paper (take away essay, 8 - 10 pages) will be handed over for evaluation in the last week of the program. Written texts may be delivered either in English, French, German or Czech, Slovak, Polish and Russian language.

BA students reflect on texts chosen from the suggested reading list. MA students are expected to explore the field more on their own, provided they have sufficient linguistic skills.

Academic Honesty Policy: Presenting work of another person as one’s own, using unauthorized assistance on exams, submitting the same paper in two classes is not tolerated and may lead to dismissal from the program

Attendance policy

Class attendance is mandatory. The unexcused absences will be reflected in the final grade (half of the final grade progressively). Attendance means also participation in the work – reading the texts and participation in class discussions.

Additional information

This course is offered by a department of the Faculty of Philosophy & Arts and thus is open also to Czech and European students.

Course outline

(Program will be adjusted after the first meeting according to the structure and linguistic skills of the group)

  1. 23.2. Introduction to the course - region in interdisciplinary perspective
    24.2. Explanation of the seminar format - words, concepts, historiography, general definitions – public and academic discourse: dictionaries, encyclopedias
  2. 02.3. Notion of the region in Europe and its history
    03.3. Region – as an issue for research in history and geography
  3. 09.3. Relativity of regional divisions – Regions in Europe, Europe of Regions
    10.3. Region – definitions – approaches - research questions – various comparative perspectives
  4. 16.3. Notion of the region. Administrative circumscriptions and „functional“ territories. Micro, mezzo and macro regions
    17.3. Discussion of the texts
  5. 23.3. East–West, North–South comparative perspective
    24.3. Discussion of the texts
  6. 30.3. Midterm test
    31.3. Evaluation of the outcome of the Midterm test
  7. 06.4. Regional Identity – between local and national scale
    07.4. Specificities of regions in various parts of Europe and beyond (depends on the origin of students and their personal experience of East-Central Europe)
  8. 13.4. Region and human subject – regional culture, regional perspective in social movements
    14.4. Formulation of hypothesis – case studies of students
  9. 20.4. History and region (history of the region)
    21.4. Key words – and research questions
  10. 27.4. Region and regional aspect
    28.4. Bibliography and sources
  11. 04.5. Region and regionalization
    05.5. Analysis – interpretation – national traditions of academic writing
  12. 11.5. Region, Europe and the world today
    12.5. Reserve – contributions of students based on their reading
  13. 18.5. Final evaluation of the concept – Conclusion
    19.5. Evaluation of papers


Selection of chapters and articles on the CD-Rom, mandatory texts will be in English, optional texts may be also in French and German.

Frontiers, Regions and Identities in Europe, edited by Steven G. Ellis and Raingard Eßer with Jean-François Berdah and Miloš Řezník, Pisa 2009, 312 p.

Frontiers and Identities Cities in Regions and Nations, edited by Lud’a Klusáková and Laure Teulieres, Pisa 2008, 346 p.

Anssi Paasi, « Region and place: regional identity in question », Progress in Human Geography, vol. 28, 2003, n°4, pp. 475-485 (3B)

Anssi Paasi, “Bounded spaces in the mobile world: deconstructing “regional identity””, TESG: Journal of Economic and Social Geography, vol. 93, 2002, n° 2, pp. 137-148. (4B)

Fernand Braudel: The Identity of France, vol. I, first chapter

Celia Appelgate: “A Europe of Regions: Reflections on the Historiography of Sub-National Places in Modern Times”, AHR Forum.

Burke, Peter: Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe. Maurice Temple Smith Ltd, London, 1978. (3B)

Shmuel Eisenstadt: Multiple modernities (?)

Jim Hughes, Gwendolyn Sasse, Claire Gordon (London School of Economics): The Regional Deficit in Eastward Enlargement of the European Union: Top Down Policies and Bottom Up Reactions. (Working paper of the programme „One Europe or Several?“

Martin Ferry: The EU and Recent Regional Reform in Poland, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 55, No. 7. (Nov., 2003), pp. 1097-1116.

Michal Illner, “Regional Development in the Czech Pepublic before and after the Accession. Some Speculative Scenarios”, Informationen zur Raumentwicklung, Helf 11/12, 2001, pp. 751-756

Michal Illner: The Terrain of Local Politics in the Czech Republic, Centre for Central and Eastern European Studies Working Paper No. 14, Rural Transition Series, The University of Liverpool 1993, ISSN 1464-7745

Michal Illner - Alois Andrle: The Regional Aspect of Post-Communist Transformation in the Czech Republic, Czech Sociological Review, II, (1/1994)

Szijártó Zsolt, 2002 Tourism and Regionalism in the Káli Basin. Experiences of a Research (translated from Hungarian by Vilmos Keszeg - Turizmus és regionalizmus a Káli-medencében. Egy kutatás tapasztalatai. Fejős Zoltán–Szijártó Zsolt (red.): Egy tér alakváltozásai. Esettanulmányok a Káli-medencéről. Néprajzi Múzeum. Budapest. pp. 7–21.) (9B)

Bausinger, Hermann: Folk Culture in a World of Technology, chpt 2, Spatial expansion, p. 32-60., Indiana 1990 (1st. Ed 1961 - Volkskultur in der technischen Welt.) (CD: 1A)

Christaller, Walter. Die zentralen Orte in Süddeutschland. Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1933. (Translated (in part), by Charlisle W. Baskin, as Central Places in Southern Germany. Prentice Hall 1966). Selection (2B)

Barna Gábor, Mental Limits – Doubled Worlds, ?Mentális határok – megduplázott világok. In: Balázs Géza et alii (red.): Folklorisztika 2000-ben. II. Budapest, ELTE. 689–701.Translated in English by Vilmos Keszeg) (3B)

Kaplan D. H., “Territorial Identities and Geographic Scale”, pp. 31-49 + Knight D. B., “Afterword: nested Identities – Nationalism, Territory, and Scale”, pp. 317-329, in Herb, G. H. and Kaplan, D. H. (1999): Nested identities: nationalism, territory, and scale, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield.

Rogers Brubaker, „Beyond Identity“ or « Au-del? de l’identité », Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, n° 139, 2001, pp. 66-85 (both versions English and French available) (4B)

Appadurai, Arjun, “The production of locality” in Modernity at large: cultural dimensions of globalization, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press 1999, (Library, Dept. of English)

Michael Keating, « Introduction », pp.XI-XV + « Is there a regional level of government in Europe », pp. 568-589, in Regions and Regionalism in Europe, Edward Elgar, 2004 (7A)

Wilfried Swenden, Federalism and Regionalism in Western Europe. A Comparative and Thematic Analysis, New-York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, introduction, chpt.1 and 2. (7B)

Michael Keating, “Regionalization in Central and Eastern Europe: The Diffusion of a Western Model?”, pp. 51-67, in M. Keating and J. Hughes (eds), The Regional Challenge in Central and Eastern Europe. Territorial Restructuring and European Integration, Bruxelles, Presses Interuniversitaires Européennes, 2003 (8A)

Daniele Caramani, « State Administration and Regional Construction in Central Europe : A Comparative-Historical Perspective, pp. 21-50, in M. Keating and J. Hughes (eds), The Regional Challenge in Central and Eastern Europe. Territorial Restructuring and European Integration, Bruxelles, Presses Interuniversitaires Européennes, 2003

M. Keating, “Territorial Restructuring and European Integration”, pp. 9-20, in M. Keating and J. Hughes (eds.), The Regional Challenge in Central and Eastern Europe. Territorial Restructuring and European Integration, Bruxelles, Presses Interuniversitaires Européennes, 2003 (9A)

Hooghe, L.; Marks, G. (2001): Multi-level governance and European integration, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield. (9B)

Weatherhill, S., “The challenge of the Regional Dimension in the European Union”, pp. 1-31, in Weatherill, S.; Bernitz, U. (eds.) (2005): The role of regions and sub-national actors in Europe, Oxford, Hart (9A)

Poslední aktualizace: 2010-03-08 2:31

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