Universität Wien FIND

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to courses and exams may be necessary at short notice (e.g. cancellation of on-site teaching and conversion to online exams). Register for courses/exams via u:space, find out about the current status on u:find and on the moodle learning platform. NOTE: Courses where at least one unit is on-site are currently marked "on-site" in u:find.

Further information about on-site teaching and access tests can be found at https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

Warning! The directory is not yet complete and will be amended until the beginning of the term.

070280 UE Guided Reading Political History - History of Political Cultures and Thoughts (2021S)

13th -16th centuries

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 serve).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Online via Collaborate

Monday 08.03. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 15.03. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 22.03. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 12.04. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 19.04. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 26.04. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 03.05. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 10.05. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 17.05. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 31.05. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 07.06. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 14.06. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 21.06. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital
Monday 28.06. 12:30 - 14:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The purpose of this guided-reading lecture is to propose an overview of the European political cultures and thoughts of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Throughout a selection of source materials, methodological texts and case studies (articles, book chapters), we will examine different fundamental phenomenon that characterised the shaping of political communities. The introduction (chap. I) will focus on critical theories such as the concepts ‘Civilisation’ (Elias), ‘Distinction’, ‘Habitus’ and ‘Field’ (Bourdieu) or (cultural) ‘Hegemony’ (Gramsci) and their potential application to the historical periods considered. Thereafter, the lecture will be structured around five main chapters. A substantial part of the course will be dedicated to the legitimate forms of socio-political organisation that represented the dominant cultural configurations of the time: Empire, Monarchy, and patrician Republic. Other parts will consider the various forms taken by the critics and oppositions of these dominant norms, from an institutionalised critic of monarchic power in the theories of conciliarism to more radical forms of oppositions such as the physical elimination of the ruler or some early theories of revolution. A constant return to the source material will be made during the lectures. Each unit of the course will have to be prepared by reading a selection of sources and secondary literature. Additional readings will be proposed at the end of each unit.

Assessment and permitted materials

-Attendance to the course and participation (oral intervention): 25% of the final note.
-Weekly essays (2-3 pages maximum/week): 50% of the final note.
-Synthetizing and reworking the best 3 essays (8-10 pages maximum): 25% of the final note.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Attendence and participation
Weekly essays
Final essay

Examination topics

It is required to attend to each session as well as taking an active in the discussions.
Every week one text will have to be read and synthetized in an original essay of 2-3 pages (in English).
By the end of June, a final essay (8-10 pages maximum) will be written. It will consist of a selection of the best 3 essays produced throughout the year reworked and synthetized around an original research question.

Reading list

A few books and articles that can be used as an introduction for this class:
J.M. BLYTHE, Ideal Government and the Mixed Constitution in the Middle Ages, Princeton, 1992.
P. BOURDIEU, Über den Staat. Vorlesungen am Collège de France 1989-1992, trans. H. BRÜHMANN, P. WILLIM, Berlin, 2014.
Th. M. BUCK und H. KRAUME, Das Konstanzer Konzil, Ostfildern, 2013.
N. COHN, The Pursuit of the Millennium. Revolutionary Messianism in Medieval and Reformation Europe and its bearing on Modern Totalitarian Movements, London, 1962.
G. DUBY, Die drei Ordnungen. Sonderausgabe. Das Weltbild des Feudalismus, Frankfurt am Main, 1986.
N ELIAS, Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation. Soziogenetische und psychogenetische Untersuchungen. Erster Band. Wandlungen des Verhaltens in den weltlichen Oberschichten des Abendlandes and Zweiter Band. Wandlungen der Gesellschaft. Entwurf einer Theorie der Zivilisation, Basel, 1939.
F. GILBERT, Machiavelli and Guicciardini: Politics and History in Sixteenth Century Florence, Princeton, 1965.
R. LAMBERTINI, ‘Nature and the Origins of Power. An Examination of selected Commentaries on the Sentences (Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries),’ in La nature comme source de la morale au Moyen Âge, ed. M. VAN DER LUGT, Florence, 2014, p. 95-111.

Association in the course directory

Vertiefung zu: VO Politikgeschichte

BA Geschichte (2012): Mittelalter (4 ECTS)
BA Geschichte (2019): Politikgeschichte (5 ECTS)
BEd UF Geschichte: Globalgeschichte, Hist-kulturwiss. Europaforschung, Österreichische Geschichte 1 (4 ECTS)

Last modified: We 21.04.2021 11:26