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Religions 2015, 6(4), 1232-1248; doi:10.3390/rel6041232

The Social Democrats of Scholarship: Austrian Imperial Peripheries and the Making of a Progressive Science of Nationality, 1885–1903

Department of History, Duke University, Durham, NC 27705, USA
Academic Editor: Malachi Hacohen
Received: 14 September 2015 / Accepted: 25 September 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
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To what extent and in what ways did the intellectual climate of Austria’s often ethnolinguistically heterogeneous borderlands contribute to the formation, institutionalization and diffusion of emerging social scientific discourses during the final decades of the 19th century? Investigating the intellectual exchange between two early proponents of folklore studies (Volkskunde)—the Slavonian-German-Jewish Friedrich Salomon Krauss (1859–1938) and Bukovinian-German Raimund Friedrich Kaindl (1866–1930)—this paper argues that imperial peripheries, while traditionally overlooked as sites of knowledge production, in fact played a pivotal role in the development of an important brand of “progressive” social scientific research, one defined by a critical stance toward the prevailing historicist paradigms of the time. These self-described “social democrats of scholarship” collaborated, both formally and informally, on a number of related theoretical projects aimed at disrupting the exclusionary narratives of the academic establishment and re-focusing scholarly attention on the sociological, rather than historical, character of ethnonational difference. In this way, the nationalities question spurred, both in the center and at the margins of the monarchy, the development of new sciences of nationality intended to sustain Austria’s imperial structure. View Full-Text
Keywords: empire; Jews; socialism; peripheries; Austria; folklore; Krauss; Kaindl empire; Jews; socialism; peripheries; Austria; folklore; Krauss; Kaindl

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Prendergast, T.R. The Social Democrats of Scholarship: Austrian Imperial Peripheries and the Making of a Progressive Science of Nationality, 1885–1903. Religions 2015, 6, 1232-1248.

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