Universität Wien FIND

070265 UE Guided Reading Contemporary History (2021W)

Social science analyses of authoritarianism in the 20th century

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 7 - Geschichte
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 04.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Monday 11.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Monday 18.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Monday 25.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Monday 08.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 12.11. 10:00 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 15.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Monday 22.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Monday 29.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Monday 06.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 10.12. 10:00 - 13:00 Digital
Monday 13.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

“Authoritarianism” can be defined and researched in different ways, as a political system as well as a set of individual or collective attitudes. Numerous are also the disciplinary approaches and angles used for exploring phenomena of authoritarianism in different times.
In this course, we want to dedicate ourselves to texts written in connection with the 1950 study “The Authoritarian Personality” by Theodor W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson and R. Nevitt Sanford, which deal with fascism, National Socialism, Stalinism and authoritarian potentials in Western democracies within the 20th century. This approach, which will be presented in the first unit, lay at the interface of sociology, psychology and psychoanalysis, bundled various influences from these areas and had itself a great impact on authoritarianism research to this day.
The aim of our joint reading is to work out the basics of the approach and to discuss cross-connections. An important objective of the course is to read texts by social researchers who have been expelled from Austria, such as Else Frenkel-Brunswik and Marie Jahoda. The texts (German and English) are selected roughly in chronological order and eventually lead us to analyses of present day phenomena of authoritarianism – e.g. studies of “Trumpism” in the US or the “AfD” supporters in Germany, using concepts from the original study.

Assessment and permitted materials

Before each unit, a text (in German or English) must be read, which we will discuss together in the following course unit, and a short task must be submitted on Moodle. In preparation for the two longer online units, a review must be written. For the first longer unit (November 12th, 2021) a list of texts to choose from will be provided, for the second date (December 10th, 2021) the choice of a text on the subject of “authoritarianism” is free.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Reading the texts and doing exercises (40%)
Discussion and participation (30%)
Two reviews (30%)

Examination topics

Exam-immanent course.

Reading list

The literature will be announced in the first unit and made available on Moodle. A bibliography for the two longer online units will also be made available, with the literature to be obtained yourself.

Association in the course directory

AER: Zeitgeschichte, Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Europaforschung.
BA Geschichte (Version 2012): PM Vertiefung, Guided Reading (4 ECTS).
BA Geschichte (Version 2019): M5 Vertiefung, UE Guided Reading (5 ECTS).
BEd UF GSP (Version 2014): UF GSP 03 Aspekte und Räume 1, Guided Reading zu einem Fach (4 ECTS).
EC Geschichte (Version 2021): M1a, Guided Reading zu einer Epoche (5 ECTS).

Last modified: Th 23.03.2023 00:15