Department for
German Language and Literature
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Zagreb
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Postimperial Narratives... (current project) Print

Postimperial Narratives in the Central European Literatures of the Modern Period
Research Project funded by the Croatian Science Foundation


This Research Project starts out from the thesis on possible points of convergence between different cultures of memory; in addition to that, the project will also investigate different points of convergence in joint cultural and literary structures in Central Europe. Special attention will be drawn to the Habsburg Monarchy in the time span of the last two centuries – starting from the beginning of the nation building process in the Modern Period and the related disintegration of multi-ethnic state formations. The term ‘empire’ implies a complex network of reciprocal relations in the Monarchy, established precisely through cultural difference and asymmetrical relations of power.
The term ‘empire’ is borrowed from geopolitical historiography and can be applied also to other state structures (Ottoman, Russian and German Empires), which are relevant to the research of the aforementioned temporal and spatial context. We understand the term ‘empire’ as a complex narrative, i.e. a type of narrative construct structured differently in different contexts and often used to describe or explain certain facts. The narrative context of the empire-concept is connected with our strong belief that not only national but also supranational, i.e. imperial cultures should be studied as ‘narrative communitie’ differing from each other mainly in terms of their narrative reservoirs.
This project is based on the study of literature as a medium with a unique ability to represent cultures of memory and processes of both individual and collective identity formation. In this context, the project poses the question how processes of national homogenization and imperial claims function in the medium of literature, how they come in contact and how they can be instrumentalized for concrete political, ideological or aesthetic purposes.