Historical Sociology Confrontations

The aim of this seminar is to introduce the main directions, concepts and methods of research carried out by the programme's members. Some guests from other faculties or universities, including from abroad are planned for the seminars as well. Both members of the study programme as well as guests will present their research activities. As well as focusing on the subjects of research at hand, particular attention will be paid to questions of methodology during the presentations and debates.

For more information contact seminar guarantor Alena Marková, Ph.D.:

Where and When: Online platform ZOOM, Tuesdays, between 5-7pm

Historical Sociology Confrontations 2020/2021

December 8th via ZOOM: https://cesnet.zoom.us/j/6062305477

Dr. Alena Dubrouka from the Francisk Skorina Gomel State University, Gomel (Belarus).

Belarusian territories in the mid 9th - mid 13th centuries: Christianity and Paganism


Medieval period from 9th till the 13th century is an important part of the Belarusian history. During that period the Slavs spread throughout the ethnic territory of today’s Belarus and managed to assimilate the local (mainly Baltic) population. Thus, Slavic tribes created a platform for the future formation of the Belarussian nation. This period is related to the emergence of the first states on ethnically Belarusian lands, e.g., the Principality of Polotsk, Turov, Novogrudok, Grodno, and Minsk. Simultaneously during the same period many pagan beliefs were gradually replaced by a Christian religion promoted by the first states (i.e. medieval principalities). The lecture will focus on the specific features of paganism and pagan beliefs rooted on Belarussian territories, introduction of Christianity and Christian influence on local culture.

Alena Dubrouka is an Associate Professor at the Department of General History at the Francisk Skorina Gomel State University in Gomel, Belarus. She is the author of many publications and history textbooks for students. Dr Dubrouka was a visiting scholar at the Institute of History of Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland), or at the Museum of the History of Poland in Warsaw. Her research interests focus on cultural history and international relations.

November 24th via ZOOM: https://cesnet.zoom.us/j/60623054

Dr. Iuliia Papushina from the Higher School of Economics, Perm (Russia).

Competition and creativity in Soviet fashion production in the 1960-1980: a regional perspective

Annotation: Soviet fashion production has undergone profound changes from the experiments of the 1920s to the renewal of fashion’s status during the Thaw period. The Thaw fashion renovation ended up with the creation of the centralized system of fashion production, which included All-Union design institutions and local, republican and regional design organizations. There were thirty-eight Clothing Design Houses in the USSR; 18 of them operated in the Russian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic. The network of Clothing Design Houses constituted a specific feature of the Soviet system of fashion production. To the best of our knowledge, only Moscow Design Institutions and Tallinn Clothing Design House were a subject of interest for historians, but not regional Clothing Design Houses. In order to fill this gap, I will focus my attention on the history of the Perm Clothing Design House. The organization was established in 1961 to develop new samples of design for local sewing factories. The lecture will elucidate hierarchy, fashion capital, and dynamics in the field of Soviet fashion production. Specifically, the lecture will explain hierarchy construction processes in the Late Soviet fashion from a regional perspective and shows designers’ professional tactics in occupying a position in the field of production. Also, it will introduce the definition of fashion capital in Soviet fashion. Soviet fashion production was a combination of socialist and pseudo-market practices penetrating the Soviet fashion production field. The evidence comes from two cases of development and presentation of clothes collections by Perm Clothing Design House during All-Union and cluster meeting of designers in 1968 – 1969 and 1979 – 1982.

Iuliia Papushina is an Associate Professor at the Higher School of Economics, Campus in Perm, Russia. She is a co-researcher of the project “Territorial dimension of inter-generational cultural dynamics” of the Russian Foundation of Fundamental Research (2018) and others. Dr Papushina’s research interests include study of creative industries, sociology of fashion, mind mapping in education, cultural consumption, sociology of consumption and others.

November 3rd

Dr. Tatsiana Astrouskaya, Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Germany.

A Conflict of Dissents, Dissent as a Conflict: the Legitimization of Dissident Cultures in Post-Soviet Belarus.

Annotation: In contrast to the most East and Central European countries, post-war Belarusian history had been predominantly shaped by the images of consent, successful socialism building, and the lack of dissent. The democratization of the late 1980s and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union generated the intellectual attempts to reconsider the Soviet history, making room for alternative cultures and discontent. The opposition to the Soviet in Soviet society attracted broader public attention, and the dissident past had been employed to construct a new, post-socialist contemporaneity.

In this presentation, I am going to dwell on the legitimization of dissent in post-Soviet Belarus in the 1990s and early 2000s, and its positioning towards the other dissident cultures, and, in particular, Russian. Simultaneously with the anti-colonial distancing from the legacy of the Russian culture, including that of the Russian dissident intelligentsia, these attempts had often stumbled upon the conceptual framework created by the latter, denying and simultaneously reproducing it. I am asking, how Belarusian intellectuals dealt with this conflict of dissent cultures and which alternative models were used to dissolve this contradiction?

Tatsiana Astrouskaya is a Research Associate at the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Institute of the Leibniz Association and a fellow in the LOEWE Research Cluster “Regions of Conflict in Eastern Europe.” She is the author of Cultural Dissent in Soviet Belarus: Intelligentsia, Samizdat and Nonconformist Discourses (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2019). From 2018 on, she has been working on the postdoctoral project on Jewish refuseniks in Soviet Belarus. Her research interests include the history of East European Jewry, Dissent and Samizdat, East Europen Intellectuals, Memory Politics and Digital History.

Online platform ZOOM, November 3rd, between 5-7pm.

Historical Sociology Confrontations 2019/2020

October 15th

Dr Bartosz M. Rydlinski, Univerzita kardinála Stefana Wyszyńského ve Varšavě, Polsko.

Illiberal shift of crises

Annotation: Some 30 years ago Central and Eastern Europe passed from state socialism to capitalism and democracy during severe economic perturbations. Democratic "Autumn of Nations" was associated with enormous social optimism. Few were aware, that the reality of the market economy is associated with business cycles, which are inherent in the nature of this type of economy. The aim of the course is to show how economic crises have affected the political instability of new democracies and to what extent the popularity of populist groups is a form of response and rejection of the neoliberal status quo.

Bartosz M. Rydlinski holds a doctorate in political science from Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw (2013). Rydlinski teaches at the Institute of Political Science at CSWU and works as a project manager and expert with the "Amicus Europae" Foundation of former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski.

Bartosz M. Rydlinski is a member of the Younger Generation Leaders Network on Euro-Atlantic Security (YGLN) and former EASI-Hurford Next Generation Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Rydlinski was a visiting scholar at Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies (CERES) during 2014.

Time&Place: Oct. 15, 5pm-7pm, 2080, Jinonice.


October 8th

prof. J. I. (Hans) Bakker, University of Guelph, Canada.

Why Was Indonesia Not a White Settler Colony?

Comparing Different Colonial and Imperial Policies in Southeast Asia


The Republic of Indonesia as it exists today is a secular nation-state. It is not a "white" country in the same sense as many of the so-called former "white settler colonies" (WSCs). Australia or Canada are WSCs even though of course there are many "aboriginal" or indigenous people in these countries. But the Republic of Indonesia has no specifically "white" European population. Instead, there are hundreds (N = 400+ ) of ethnic groups and even more languages ( N = 900+). So why did the archipelago of 7,400 islands not become a WST when it is claimed the "Dutch" were there since at least 1815? The basic answer is that the Netherlands East Indies actively discouraged settlement by people from Europe. Many Europeans came, but almost all of them were forced to leave. However, even if they had to leave (often at age 55) many ALSO left children. Those offspring eventually blended into the so-called Indo-European population and are now fully Indonesian citizens. The situation in Indonesia is very different from the United States of America where the "one drop rule" applies even today. Indonesia is an interesting case and there are few examples elsewhere. In Vietnam, for example, the French colonial policy encouraged the notion that all people in their colonies were to become really French.

Prof. J.I. (Hans) Bakker taught Sociology and Anthropology at four different universities early in his career but became a Full Professor at the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. His work has focused on Comparative Historical Sociology with an empirical emphasis on Indic Civilization. He has written about Gandhi and about colonialism in the Indonesian archipelago before independence. He has also done consulting work for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in Sulawesi, Indonesia, some of which involved studying the Bajo (Bajau, Sea Nomad) people. His recent edited books are entitled: The Methodology of Political Economy: Studying the Global Rural-Urban Matrix (Lexington, 2015) and Rural Sociologists at Work: Candid Accounts of Theory, Method, and Practice (Routledge, 2016). He guest edited a special issue of the journal Sociological Focus on Grounded Theory (2019). In addition to his academic activities he is also very interested in religious institutions and spiritual paths, having studied Tibetan Buddhism and the history of Judaism and Christianity in depth. His philosophical orientation is based on the work of Wilhelm Dilthey and his sociological theory is Neo-Weberian but also includes aspects of Neo-Marxian World Systems Theory (WST) (e.g. Wallerstein).

Website: http://jihansbakker.com/

Time&Place: Oct. 8, 5pm-7pm, 2080, Jinonice.

Visit and guest lectures of prof. Hans Bakker were supported by the PROGRES Q20 „Kultura a společnost."

Historical Sociology Confrontations 2018/2019

6. květen

Dr. Xavier Guégan, University of Winchester, UK.

„French Algeria and British India: Comparing the Mechanisms of Colonial Cultures and Identities“

In the mid-nineteenth century, British and French colonisation led to distinct legislative and governmental models in India and Algeria. Following the defeat of the Sepoy Rebellion (1858) and the dismantling of the East India Company, Britain established direct rule in India. Similarly, in 1848, after several tumultuous decades of conquest and settlement, Algeria became administratively part of France. During this second wave of empires building (the first one finishing with the end of the eighteenth century) new justifications for imperial and colonial motives and enterprises emerged. In the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century, in post-Enlightenment and industrial France and Britain, political schemes and their related colonial discourses had to change to convince populations that there was a ‘duty’ to colonise. The two imperial powers thus sought to legitimise their established colonial structures by different political and cultural means. This paper will compare both colonies by exploring a variety of these types of cultural mediums, their mechanisms, their origins, targets, and their short and long-time impact.

Dr Xavier Guégan is a Senior Lecturer in Colonial and Postcolonial History at the University of Winchester. Dr Guégan researches, publishes and lectures on South Asian history under British colonial rule and North African history under French colonial rule, including imperial culture and ideologies, as well as on violence and anti-colonial resistance. Dr Guégan also has expertise on the correlation between photography and history. He is on the editorial board (Book Review Editor) of Britain and the World, an academic journal published by Edinburgh University Press, which focusses on Britain’s relations with the wider world since the seventeenth century. Dr Xavier Guégan is also the convenor of the Modern History Research Centre, based at the Department of History at the University of Winchester.

Time and date: May 6, 14:00-15:20, YAKVA, Jinonice


19th of March 2019

prof. James Krapfl: “Local Histories of the Prague Spring and Its Aftermath”

The Prague Spring was an important turning point in the development of political culture in Czechoslovakia, both recalling the revolution of 1945-48 and anticipating the revolution of 1989-92. Prof. Krapfl will illuminate the microprocesses of this turning point by comparing evidence from a selection of Czech and Slovak districts (okresy) from the beginning of 1968 to the end of 1969. Sources from the districts show how citizens overcame initial trepidation about the “renewal process,” increasingly making it their own as spring turned to summer. They document the innovative ways in which citizens sought to give new meaning to such concepts as “democracy,” “humanity,” and “socialism” in their localities, and how the August invasion shifted the terms of popular discourse without dampening it. The sources also reveal the discrete compromises that individuals gradually began making in 1969, and how they rationalized these compromises in a process that can best be described as “auto-normalization.”

prof. James Krapfl is a historian of modern European politics and culture, specializing geographically on east central Europe. Thematically he is interested in the cultural history of revolutionary phenomena, the experience of Communist rule in central and eastern Europe, and the transformation of Europe since 1989. These interests come together in his book Revolution with a Human Face: Politics, Culture, and Community in Czechoslovakia, 1989-1992 (Cornell University Press, 2013), which analyzes grassroots efforts to establish a democratic political culture in Czechoslovakia following the outbreak of revolution in 1989. Based on research in forty Czech and Slovak archives, mostly at the district level, the book explains how popular attempts to reconstitute political, social, and economic institutions “from below” met with the opposition of new elites, setting in motion the chain of events which led to the break-up of the federal state in 1992. Prof. Krapfl is using his sabbatical in 2014-15 to begin research for a second book, on the popular experience of “1968” in Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, and Poland.

Time and date: Mar. 19th, 5 - 7pm, 2080, Jinonice


12th of March 2019

prof. Manochehr Dorraj: “Global Power Transition: What Does the Future Hold”

In this lecture, professor Dorraj would discuss the rise of China, increasing assertiveness of Russia, the expanding strategic alliance between these two powers, the division within EU and the rise of right-wing populism among some of its member nations, and the impact of Trump administration's foreign policy on the global power transition and its ramifications and the future prospects.

prof. Manochehr Dorraj is the author, coauthor, editor or coeditor of 7 books and more than 90 refereed articles and book chapters. In addition, he has produced more than 100 non-refereed publications such as review articles, book reviews, blogs and Op-eds. He has been invited to present his scholarship in such International Organizations as the World Bank, and Think Tanks such as the Hudson Institute. He has also been an invited speaker at national and international symposiums and Conferences, including those in John Hopkins, Yale, Harvard, Queens and Toronto University (Canada), University of London and Nottingham University (Great Britain) and Beijing and Fudan University in China. During 2012-2013 he was a visiting fellow at Georgetown’s Center for International and Regional Studies in Doha, Qatar and during 2017-2018 he was visiting research fellow at Fudan University Development Institute in Shanghai, China.

Manochehr Dorraj is a frequent commentator on global affairs in general and Middle East politics in particular.

His service at TCU includes serving as the Co-Chair of the Global Innovators Initiative and a member of the Executive Committee of Discovering Global Citizenship program.

Time and date: Mar. 12th, 5 - 7pm, 2080, Jinonice


6th of November 2018

Dr Natalya Chernyshova, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of Winchester, UK

‘'Shopping with Brezhnev: consumer culture and modernity in the late Soviet Union':

Since the time of the Cold War, a widely shared view of the Soviet Union in the West has been that of a consumer hell: chronic shortages, drab and shoddy goods, and long queues. This paper will show, however, that in the Brezhnev era (1965-1985) the Soviet people had 'never had it so good'. This was the time when ordinary Soviets, and urban residents especially, experienced a major rise in their living standards, enabling them to take part in a kind of consumer modernity that we normally associate with Western capitalist societies. In what is often known as the period of stagnation, not only did Soviet citizens become modern consumers, but consumption also became a field of interaction between individuals and the regime at a time when participatory politics was meaningless, or, at best, demoted to a ritual. Although this new 'prosperity' was the outcome of state efforts, the consumer 'revolution' it brought about posed all kinds of challenges to the Soviet regime and had profound consequences for the communist project.

Dr Natalya Chernyshova is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Winchester, UK. She completed her MA and PhD studies at King's College London. She has published on late Soviet consumer culture, fashion and cinema, including Soviet Consumer Culture in the Brezhnev Era. Her new research project is a political biography of Petr Masherau, the charismatic and popular leader of the Belorussian Communist Party during the Brezhnev era.


Time and date: Nov. 6th, 5 - 7pm, 2080, Jinonice

Historical Sociology Confrontations 2017/2018

3rd of April

Dr. Matthias Riedl, Department of History, Central European University, Budapest

Thomas Müntzer’s “Prague Manifesto”: A Program for Global Revolution

In summer 1521, the German radical reformer Thomas Müntzer traveled to Prague, where he drafted his famed Prague Manifesto. In this text, Müntzer presents himself as a new Jan Hus and announces a coming universal renewal of Christianity, starting out from Bohemia. He evokes a scenario, in which Christ and Antichrist are gathering their troops for the final clash, before the elect of God will gain dominion over the world. Because of evident parallels, many scholars have speculated about possible links between the revolutionary theology of Müntzer and that of the Hussites. However, in my analysis of the Prague Manifesto I will show that Müntzer was much more interested in the thought of Jan Hus himself rather than in Hussite theology. In particular, he adopted the Czech reformer’s ecclesiology into his complex theological program, which presents itself as a curious blend of apocalyptic eschatology, mysticism, and Neo-Platonic cosmology.

Dr. Matthias Riedl is Associate Professor of History, Chair of Comparative Religious Studies, Director of the Center for Religious Studies, Head of the Department of History of the Central European University in Budapest. His main research interests cover intellectual history, political thought, church history, history of theology, religious dissent, reformation studies, religion and politics and religious violence. In all these fields he has published many books and numerous articles.

Most of dr. Mattias Riedl’s published work has been on religious and political thought in Latin Christianity, ranging from antiquity to reformation period. However, he also wrote articles and essays on most recent developments in theology and political philosophy. Dr. Riedl’s current research is on the emergence of revolutionary apocalypticsm in the Later Middle Ages and Early Modernity. Now he is working on a monograph on the German radical reformer Thomas Müntzer. The main objective is to explore how apocalyptic and mystical thinking may serve as inspiration and justification for violent action.

Time and date: Apr. 3rd, 5 - 7pm, 2080, Jinonice


27th of February

Prof. Dr. Thomas Bohn, Professor for Eastern European History, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen

‘Closed Cities’ versus ‘Open Society’? De-Stalinization and Urbanization in Soviet Belarus‘

At the 20th Party Congress Khrushchev called for a rational distribution of industry and a regulation of migration flows. The interaction of the City Soviets with local factory directors and the interconnections between the granting of residency permits and the awarding of accommodation increasingly led to a Soviet society which was structured around patron-client relationships and territorial stratification.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Bohn is Professor for Eastern European History at the Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen. His main research interests cover history of historiography, urban history, environmental history and superstition and nonconformism. In all these fields he has published many books and numerous articles: Russische Geschichtswissenschaft von 1880 bis 1905. Pavel N. Miljukov und die Moskauer Schule. Köln-Weimar-Wien 1998; Minsk - Musterstadt des Sozialismus. Stadtplanung und Urbanisierung in der Sowjetunion nach 1945, Köln-Weimar-Wien 2008; «Minskii fenomen». Gorodskoe planirovanie i urbanizaciia v Sovetskom Soiuze posle Vtoroi mirovoi voiny, Moskva 2013; Der Vampir. Ein europäischer Mythos, Köln-Weimar-Wien 2016; Wisent-Wildnis und Welterbe. Geschichte des polnisch-weißrussischen Nationalparks von Białowieża, Köln-Weimar-Wien 2017 (with Aliaksandr Dalhouski and Markus Krzoska). Prof. Bohn’s current research projects are Polesie as a place of intervention (Leibniz Community 2015-2018), Vlad Dracula. Biography and edition of documents (DFG 2016-2019) and Minsk as contact and conflict zone in the interwar period (LOEWE Foundation 2017-2020).


Time and date: Feb. 27th, 5 - 7pm, 2080, Jinonice.


1. 11. 2017 Prof. Dennis Smith, Loughborough University, UK

"Historical Sociology and the bigger picture"

How did historical sociology survive the predations of modern political dictators, business moguls and religious fanatics jealous of rival purveyors of socio-historical analysis? Do the political conditions that enabled its resurgence from the 1950s to the 1990s still prevail? How can historical sociology claim its cultural and scientific space in a 21st century world where personal or group survival, individualism, nationalism, moral relativism, emotional manipulation and a constantly shifting news agenda shape society’s field of attention?

Prof. Dennis Smith is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Loughborough University, UK. He studied modern history as an undergraduate (at Cambridge University), sociology at master's level (LSE) and completed his doctorate at Leicester University. He had written several books, edited Sociological Review and Current Sociology, and is the author of The Rise of Historical Sociology (Polity).

Prof. Dennis Smith's new book entitled Civilized Rebels. An Inside Story of the West's Retreat from Global Power will be published by Routledge in 2018.

Time and date:

1. 11.2017, 17.00-19.00, 5023, Jinonice.

Past seminars (held in English)

6. 4. 2017 Univ.-Prof. em. Dr. Dirk Kaesler, Philipps-Universität in Marburg: Universal Rationalization: Max Weber‘s Great Narrative

11.5.2017  Massimiliano Ruzzeddu: "The evolution of the Nation-State: History, Functions and Future Scenarios"

29. 3. 2016 "Migration, Borders and Identities in Europe" - Catherine Wihtol de Wenden (Science’Po Pařiž), Solange Maslowski (Pravnická fakulta UK), Nóra Köves (Eötvös Károly Institute).

21. 3. 2016 Helmut Staubmann: The Rolling Stones in Sociological Perspectives

16. 3. 2016 Massimiliano Ruzzeddu: Sociology of contemporary Italy: political culture and social representations

11. 5. 2016 Gregor McLennan: Critical Intellectuals: from Legislators to Interpreters to Mediators?

11. 11. 2014 Martin Bulmer – Tereza Pospíšilová – Jan Balon – Marek Skovajsa aj.: Workshop Interests and motivations explaining philanthropic support for social science between the wars: the Fisher-Bulmer debate

20. 10. 2014 Dr. Dominik Bartmanski: The vinyl: The analogue medium in the age of digital reproduction

7. 5. 2014 prof. Bernhard Giesen (University of Konstanz): On Ambivalence

9. 4. 2014 dr. Katarzyna Grzybowska-Walecka: The role of civil society and political society in democratization

28. 3. 2014 prof. Pierre Rosanvallon: From Equality of Opportunity to the Society of Equals

25. 6. 2013 prof. Derek Sayer: Prague, Capital of the 20th Century?

13. 3. 2013 Werner Binder, Ph.D.: The Long Road to Abu Ghraib. History and Memory in the War on Terror

28. 11. 2012 prof. David B. Edwards: The Politics of Martyrdom in Afghanistan

9. 5. 2012 prof. Gerard Delanty: Cultural encounters and the prospects of cosmopolitanism

18. 4. 2012 prof. Maslowski Mikhail: The Soviet model of modernity and the political transformations in post-communist Russia

21. 3. 2012 doc. Marek Kucia: The Meanings of Auschwitz in Poland

18. 1. 2012 prof. Raymond Tallis: The Latest Wave of Anti-Humanism: Neuromania and Darwinitis

Last change: December 8, 2020 01:02 
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Charles University

Faculty of Humanities

Study Programme Historical Sociology

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