1. Goals of the research project:
The study of the training, the internal (in particular ethnic andreligious) divisions and the transformation of intellectual and political Eastern-European elites in the 19th and 20th centuries, from the formation of the Nation States until the World War II.
2. Context and importance of the project :
We hope very much that a snowball effect will be produced by our scholarly experiments since most initiatives attempted in our project have no consistent precedents in the countries concerned. This will be realised, in practical terms, by the dissemination of expertise gained from our experimental research operations among those involved, students and scholars connected to the members of our respective teams as well as among those invited to participate in the planned workshops. The educational impact is secured by the fact that our team leaders have regular or occasional teaching activities themselves.
3. Scientific frame of the project :
Specific topics developed in the frame of our project are focused on the following themes :
1.Collection and study of global indicators of the growth of certifiedand incorporated knowledge in various countries (later Nation States), and in different cultural (ethnic, confessional) clusters from the early 19th century until the World War II. The outcome should be a comparative data bank on chosen regions, with data collected from local, regional or national statistics and other occasional sources.
2.Prosopographies of educated elites via the study of collectivebiographies of students enrolled at central (national) universities. Each team should produce a piece of such a study for the pre-1919 and thepost-1919 period each. This will exemplify by original and “objectivist”methods the change of locally educated elites (more or less striking in all countries concerned) often under the pressure of dramatically changing power relations.
3.Impact of studies abroad. Peregrinations of East-European students toWestern universities, especially to Switzerland, France and Germany, played a crucial role in the elite formation in all the countries concerned (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Rusisa ) up to 1919 and to some extent up to 1939.
4.Micro-historical monographs of some secondary schools with socially,ethnically and/or confessionally mixed clienteles (concentrated on thepre-1919 period). The focus here will be on different patterns of school behaviour in clusters distinguished by their social background (nobles, old and new elites, majorities and minorities, members of established “titular” national groups as against outsiders or immigrants).
Organisation of work and methodology :
We are forming a core network composed of a few specialists from Eastern Europe remunerated with SCOPES grants (3 from Romania, 4 from Bulgaria, 3 from Serbia and 2 Russia). Their teams are trusted with pilot studies in fields regarded as essential, under the close guidance of the Swiss team from the Institut européen of Geneva University, and benefiting of collaboration of the international partners from Hungary, France, Germany, Italy and Poland.