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Jonathan Kwan

Lecturer, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

My research focuses on the Habsburg Monarchy in the nineteenth century, in particular Austro-German liberalism, the Transylvanian Saxons, Jewish history and Napoleon II.

I was born in England but grew up in Australia. After living in Paris and Vienna, I studied at the Universities of London and Oxford. I have worked at the University of Nottingham since 2004, including a two year stint at the Ningbo campus.

Expertise Summary

I would welcome any students interested in Austro-German liberalism, nationalism in the Habsburg Monarchy, European liberalism in a comparative framework, the Transylvanian Saxons and nineteenth-century liberal theory. Other topics of interest to me are historiography, the problem of minorities and post-Napoleon Europe.

Teaching Summary

The modules I teach cover a wide variety of topics in European history roughly from 1848 to the beginning of WWI. My second year option 'Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914'… read more

Research Summary

My research interests include Austro-German liberalism and the nationality question in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1861-1895. Central to this research is investigating the tension between liberalism's… read more

Recent Publications

The modules I teach cover a wide variety of topics in European history roughly from 1848 to the beginning of WWI. My second year option 'Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914' provides an introduction to some key themes of the mid to late nineteenth century - liberalism, nationalism, democracy, political culture, state-building, the Jewish question - within the specific context of Central Europe. While reflecting Europe-wide trends, Central Europe also proved to be a fertile intellectual and cultural melting pot, especially around the turn of the century.

My third year special subject 'European Politics and Society, 1848-1914' encourages students to focus on particular aspects of politics and society in a time of general peace and consolidation, yet also one of great underlying social and national tension. In particular, the application of liberal ideas to specific institutional traditions and frameworks constitutes a key theme in the course. Since there is a wealth of primary sources for this period, encompassing all the European languages, the students will be able to research their topics in considerable depth and incorporate a comparative aspect.

Current Research

My research interests include Austro-German liberalism and the nationality question in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1861-1895. Central to this research is investigating the tension between liberalism's claims to universality and the specific task of building a Habsburg constitutional, multi-national state. In particular, I am fascinated by the gradual, complex move from an attempt to construct a liberal state in the 1860s and 1870s to the desperate defense of German predominance in Austrian state and society which characterized the 1880s and 1890s. A related aspect is an interest in the educated Jewish middle class of the nineteenth century, which generally had liberal tendencies.

My book 'Liberalism and the Habsburg Monarchy, 1861-1895' (Palgrave Macmillan) was published in November 2013.

Another area I am interested in is the German speaking population in Transylvania (the Transylvanian Saxons) and the difficulties they faced in the late nineteenth century as the Hungary state began to impose its view of a modern nation-state.

At the moment I am moving into early nineteenth century European history with a particular interest in intellectual, cultural and political history. I hope to investigate these themes in a biography of Napoleon II, the Duke of Reichstadt.

Supervision

I would welcome any students wishing to undertake research in Austro-German liberalism, nationalism in the Habsburg Monarchy, Jewish history and European liberalism in a comparative framework and nineteenth-century liberal theory. Further topics of interest are nineteenth-century European intellectual history and the problem of minorities in Central and Eastern Europe.

Past Research

My doctoral work was on Austro-German liberalism and the nationality question in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1867-1895. Central to the research was the tension between liberalism's claims to universality and the specific situation of building a Habsburg multi-national state.

Future Research

I am presently investigating the life of Napoleon's son, the Duke of Reichstadt.

  • KWAN, J., 2019. Politics, Liberal Idealism and Jewish Life in Nineteenth Century Vienna: The Formative Years of Heinrich Jaques (1831-1894) Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook. (In Press.)
  • KWAN, J., 2019. The Formation of the Liberal Generation in Austria, c1830-1861: Education, Revolution and State Service. In: ADLGASSER, F. and FREDRIK LINDSTRÖM, eds., The Habsburg Civil Service and Beyond.: Bureaucracy and Civil Servants from the Vormärz to the Inter-War Years Austrian Academy of Sciences. 67-95
  • KWAN, J., 2018. Transylvanian Saxon Politics and Imperial Germany, 1871-1876 Historical Journal. 61(4), 991-1015
  • KWAN, J., 2016. Austro-German Liberalism and Bohemian State Rights, 1861-1879 Stred: Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies of Central Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. 8(1), 109-150
  • KWAN, J., 2015. Öffentlichkeit, Adressendebatten und die Anfänge des Parlamentarismus in der Habsburgermonarchie 1861-1867. In: ADLGASSER, F. and VELEK, L., eds., Hohes Haus! 150 Jahre moderner Parlamentarismus in Österreich, Böhmen, der Tschechoslowakei und der Republik Tschechien im mitteleuropäischen Kontext 135-144
  • KWAN, J., 2013. Liberalism and the Habsburg Monarchy, 1861-1895 Palgrave Macmillan.
  • KWAN, J., 2011. Nationalism and all that: reassessing the Habsburg monarchy and its legacy European History Quarterly. 41(1), 88-108
  • KWAN, J., 2006. Competing historical narratives: memory, identity and politics in nineteenth century Bohemia. In: HEIN-KIRCHER, H. and HENNING HAHN, H., eds., Politische Mythen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert in Mittel- und Osteuropa Marburg: Herder Institute Press. 377-394
  • KWAN, J., 2005. The Austrian state idea and Bohemian state rights: contrasting traditions in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1848-1914. In: ERIKSONAS, L. and MÜLLER, L., eds., Statehood before and beyond ethnicity: minor states in Northern and Eastern Europe 1600-2000 Brussels: Peter Lang. 243-273
  • KWAN, J., 2004. Political Myths in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Perspectives on Historical Research into Myths. (The Herder Institute's Summer Academy for Young Academics held at the Herder Institute, Marburg from 29 August to 8 September 2004).

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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