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2019/2020

Balázs Trencsényi, Ph.D.

Professor of History

Central European University, Budapest

Born in 1973 in Budapest
Studied Philosophy at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest and Comparative History and Nationalism Studies at the Central European University, Budapest


Project

The Faces of Crisis: Towards a Transnational Intellectual History of Europe in the 20th Century

My project is an attempt to rethink modern European intellectual history from the vantage point of the concept of crisis. Combining the methodology of conceptual history with a broader contextualist history of political thought and with a transnational perspective, I plan to focus on a number of key controversies that shaped European history and politics in the 20th century.
Its complex conceptual history having been memorably explored by Reinhart Koselleck, crisis has emerged as one of the pivotal notions of political modernity. Thus, reconstructing the ways the discourse of crisis functioned in various contexts and historical moments gives us a unique insight not only into a series of conceptual transformations, but also into the underlying logic of key political and intellectual controversies. I am particularly interested in the way the perspective of crisis actually opened up the possibility to fundamentally rethink some of the key assumptions of the given historical moment, and also to look for possible solutions beyond the closely knit local/national milieu and thus both to discover transnational entanglements and to listen to voices from other cultural contexts. Crisis is thus not only a framework of temporalization, but also of spatialization, of modernity, and thus can be turned into a vantage point for a transnational analysis. Along these lines, I would like to use my inquiry into the ways crisis is experienced, conceptualized, and negotiated to provide an even broader frame of understanding of how various visions of time and history shape political thinking and, conversely, how political reconfigurations frame our assumptions about temporality and historicity.

Recommended Reading

Mishkova, Diana and Balázs Trencsényi, eds. European Regions and Boundaries: A Conceptual History. New York: Berghahn, 2017, paperback: 2019.
Trencsényi, Balázs, Maciej Janowski, Mónika Baár et al., eds. A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe. Volume I: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Long Nineteenth Century'.
Volume II: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Short Twentieth Century' and Beyond. Part I: 1918-1968. Part II: 1968-2018. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016 and 2018.
Trencsényi, Balázs. The Politics of ‘National Character': A Study in Interwar East European Thought. London: Routledge, 2012.

Publications from the Fellows' Library

Trencsényi, Balázs ( New York, 2019)
European regions and boundaries : a conceptual history European conceptual history ; 3

Trencsényi, Balázs ( Basingstoke [u.a.], 2014)
'Regimes of historicity' in Southeastern and Northern Europe, 1890 - 1945 : discourses of identity and temporality

Trencsényi, Balázs ( London, 2012)
The politics of "National Character" : a study in interwar East European thought Routledge studies in comparative political thought

Trencsényi, Balázs ( Budapest [u.a.], 2009)
History and character : visions of national peculiarity in the Romanian political discourse of the 19th century

Trencsényi, Balázs ( Iaşi, 2001)
The "Münchhausenian Moment": modernity, liberalism and nationalism in the thought of Stefan Zeletin

Trencsényi, Balázs ( Iaşi, 2001)
Nation-building and contested identities : Romanian and Hungarian case studies