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Austrian and Habsburg Studies
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Empty Signs, Historical Imaginaries
The Entangled Nationalization of Names and Naming in a Late Habsburg Borderland
350 pages, 14 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-634-0 $149.00/£110.00 / Hb / Published (March 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-635-7 eBook
“This fascinating monograph provides an exhaustive and remarkably archival-based discussion of the sociocultural history of competing and intertwined nationalizing processes…While it is devoted to a seemingly narrow subject, Berecz’s monograph calls attention to the crucial symbolic relevance of the nationalization of proper names. It thus constitutes a major contribution to the study of nationhood and nationalism.” • Hungarian Historical Review
“This book remains an outstanding piece of scholarship. Berecz, who previously published a superb study of efforts to Magyarize Transylvanian schools, has established himself not only as an important expert on late Habsburg Transylvania, but as the leading authority on Magyarization.” • Central European History
“An impressive and stunningly original study that makes a significant contribution to the field, using hitherto entirely unexplored source material.” • Monika Baár, Leiden University
“With Empty Signs, Historical Imaginaries, Berecz raises the methodological bar for future generations of nationalism scholars and commendably trailblazes new paths of inquiry. This is a meticulously researched, tightly argued, and brilliantly executed work on a subject too often neglected.” • Tomasz Kamusella, University of St. Andrews
Set in a multiethnic region of the nineteenth-century Habsburg Empire, this thoroughly interdisciplinary study maps out how the competing Romanian, Hungarian and German nationalization projects dealt with proper names. With particular attention to their function as symbols of national histories, Berecz makes a case for names as ideal guides for understanding historical imaginaries and how they operate socially. In tracing the changing fortunes of nationalization movements and the ways in which their efforts were received by mass constituencies, he provides an innovative and compelling account of the historical utilization, manipulation, and contestation of names.
Ágoston Berecz is Research Fellow at Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies, Budapest.
Subject: History: 18th/19th Century
Area: Central/Eastern Europe
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