Creating a Focus Area for Early Modern Studies will highlight CEU’s existing strengths at relatively low costs and with limited administrative organization. We are convinced that the projected Focus Area, and by implication the wider international community of early modernists, would benefit from CEU’s special geographical and Eurasian focus. Thanks to CEU’s institutional structure and to the combined expertise of the two Departments,
scholars at CEU are very well placed to probe competing narratives of ‘European’ early modernity. By bridging and reflecting the divide between Western European ‘golden age’ paradigms and Central European narratives of foreign rule, CEU is by virtue of its location and institutional history destined to make an original contribution to a better understanding of this period and its contemporary relevance. What places our research in a privileged position is our thematic emphasis on Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe in their Western European and Mediterranean entanglements, the three land empires (Russian, Habsburg and Ottoman), the interactions of Western and Eastern Christianities, as well as Jewish and Armenian diasporas. Trans-cultural approaches to the early modern period are a common discernment of the scholars forming this initiative, which gives our research the potential of standing together as an internationally recognized center, or a school.
We propose to create a Focus Area for Early Modern Studies with the twofold aim of 1) buttressing the institutional infrastructure for early modern research with a range of activities across the two Departments and 2) attracting the most talented students to this field. With these objectives in mind, we wish to bring together all members of the CEU community who have an interest in the long-term impact of the historical period extending from the late fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries and covering various geographies over a broad thematic scope, including political, social, and economic history as well as religious, intellectual, literary, artistic and material culture.