Basic information

The interdisciplinary research project History of Doctoral Dissertations by Slovene Candidates in the Austro-Hungarian Empire will analyse and evaluate, on three levels, the role and significance of intellectuals from the Slovene ethnic area who in the late 19th century studied in Vienna, in Graz (Charles and Francis University) and in Prague (the Czech Charles and Ferdinand University, from 1882). The project will evaluate all available materials on approximately 150 doctors who got their degrees there at the philosophical faculties. Based on partly collected materials (e.g. Cindrič 2010; Smolej 2014; Vidav 1973; Suhadolc 2011), available primary and secondary literature, archival materials in Graz, Ljubljana, Prague and Vienna, and eyewitness accounts (diaries, notes, letters, forewords, and press stories), the project will explore a) how the Slovene intellectuals connected with each other and with intellectuals from other cultural environments inside and outside the state, in cultural centers and peripheries; b) how they found their place in the cultural and scientific space of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy; c) how they represented the Slovene lands abroad; and how they contributed to the development of scientific terminology in various fields in Slovenia.

As part of the project, we will reconstruct the candidates’ intellectual formation and place their work within their European space and time. The project will enhance our understanding of the past flow of knowledge and persons (migrations: for financial, scientific, family or health reasons), and look for the biographical elements that enabled individuals to succeed and attain a prominent place in their society. Attention will be paid both to canonical and non-canonical authors; regarding the latter, the project will explore whether they have been overlooked, have seemed unimportant to the formation of national identity, or were lost in the crowd of superior competitors from other Habsburg lands.

We focus on how students from the periphery, and mostly from a lower social stratum (Cindrič 2010), asserted themselves in the center, that is, in Viennese society, as well as in the “semi-periphery”, in Prague and in Graz. We hypothesize that center and periphery are dynamic concepts dependent on our point of view (Miladinović Zalaznik and Žigon 2014). The project will study the role of Slovene intellectuals and their work in the development of Slovene science, and particularly the Slovene terminology of particular scientific fields. Many dissertations, namely, were published in Slovene in Izvestije (yearbooks) for gymnasiums (high schools). The project will shed light on the vertical and horizontal ties between the humanities and the natural sciences (cooperation with linguist colleagues in the translation of dissertations in the natural sciences, who defines the norm for the vocabulary, the shaping of Slovene phraseology, etc.) The project starts from the hypothesis that the flow of ideas and cooperation among scientific fields of that time could be successfully transferred to science today, when interdisciplinary ties are often forgotten and optimal results therefore not achieved. The results could contribute to the development of today’s higher education.

The project findings will be presented on a web platform showing the network connections between Slovene intellectuals in various fields and doctoral students from other cultural environments. The web platform, which will allow the exchange of views and scientific discourse on the topic, will make available a detailed list of all the doctoral theses (in the fields of linguistics, philosophy, history, art history, mathematics and physics), as well as the papers and case studies. As part of the project, we will hold an exhibition about doctors of science from Slovene lands in the years 1872–1918, organize an international scientific symposium, and publish a survey as a scientific monograph.

Project manager

Funded by

Slovenian Research Agency

Fields of research

History of science H260