Universität Wien
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070303 SE BA-Seminar - "Wait, wait a minute"- Murder and manslaughter in the early 20th century (2021W)

A German cultural history

10.00 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

Vorbesprechung digital: 26.11.2021, 14.00 Uhr. unter https://bbb.europa-uni.de/die-qob-jvy-2sj

  • Friday 26.11. 14:00 - 15:00 Digital
  • Saturday 08.01. 10:00 - 17:00 Digital
    Seminarraum 1, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, 1090 Wien, Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 1
  • Saturday 15.01. 10:00 - 17:00 Digital
    Seminarraum 1, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, 1090 Wien, Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 1
  • Saturday 22.01. 10:00 - 17:00 Digital
    Seminarraum 1, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, 1090 Wien, Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 1
  • Saturday 29.01. 10:00 - 17:00 Digital
    Seminarraum 1, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, 1090 Wien, Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 1


Aims, contents and method of the course

What is understood as “crime” varies depending on historical contexts. In court files and material objects found in archives and museums, different views of “criminality” are reflected, which not only provide information about “the criminal”, but also about the political history and the everyday history of a historical epoch, the relationship of social actors to each other and the penal practice of the respective state. In the seminar, we address the questions of (i) which everyday actions were interpreted and prosecuted as criminality by the respective authorities, (ii) how this interpretation is reflected in court files and (iii) how this material can be interpreted using different methods, making court files thus historical sources.
The aim of the course is to read and discuss key texts and to reconstruct four historical court cases from four epochs of contemporary Austrian history. For the time of the First Republic, the “Philipp Halsmann” is put up for discussion; Marie Jahoda’s conviction in the Dollfuss-Schuschnigg dictatorship is subject of the second discussion. From the Nazi era, the case of Mathias Trimal, sentenced to death before the Sondergericht Wien, is being dealt with, while the conviction of Karl Horvath at the Linzer Volksgericht is dealt with for the immediate post-war period. In the first units, examples of historical, sociological and cultural studies debates with documents and material objects of state authorities in the pursuit of “crime” are presented and discussed.

Assessment and permitted materials

• In each of the four units, a key text is made available and discussed together.
• The four cases are to be worked out and presented in four groups. In the course units, key documents will be interpreted together, using different methods as examples.
• The seminar or bachelor theses are to be written as individual work. Scope of the bachelor thesis: approx. 65,000 characters (± 5%), including spaces, footnotes, title page, table of contents, bibliography, exclusive graphics (= approx. 25 manuscript pages, 1½ lines, 12 pt.). The bachelor thesis also contains an English-language short summary (abstract) of approx. 1,000 characters.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Joint reading and discussion of key texts (20%)
Group presentation on a court act (30%)
Seminar or bachelor thesis (50%)

Examination topics

Exam-immanent course.

Reading list

A detailed bibliography will be provided during the first unit of the course.

General reading:
Schwerhoff, Gerd (2011): Historische Kriminalitätsforschung (=Historische Einführungen, Bd. 9). Frankfurt am Main/New York: Campus.

Special reading:
Fallspezifische Literatur:
Bacher, Johann/Kannonier-Finster, Waltraud/Ziegler, Meinrad (Hg.) (2021): Akteneinsicht. Marie Jahoda in Haft. Innsbruck/Bozen/Wien: StudienVerlag [im Erscheinen].
Freitag, Wolfgang (2018): Der Fall Karl Horvath. Ein Loipersdorfer "Zigeuner" vor dem Linzer Volksgericht. Wien/Berlin: Mandelbaum.
Pollack, Martin (2004): Anklage Vatermord. Der Fall Philipp Halsmann. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer.

Association in the course directory

BA Geschichte (Version 2012): Bachelor-Modul 2, Seminar (9 ECTS).
BA Geschichte (Version 2019): M7 Bachelor-Modul, SE Seminar (10 ECTS).
BEd UF GSP (Version 2014): UF GSP 13 Bachelormodul, SE BA-Seminar für GSP (8 ECTS).

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:14