Project Objectives

The basic objective of the proposed research is to understand models, circumstances and reasons for the transfer and reception of ideas of European provenance in Croatia’s political life during the 18th and “long” 19th centuries, during this initial period of Croatia’s development as a modern state, as well as understand reasons and circumstances for resistance to these influences. We believe that we can more comprehensively understand the foundations of Croatia’s European identity through the very clash of these ideas and understanding their reception, adaptation to local circumstances or resistance to their acceptance.

Moreover, within the framework of the project, we plan to respond to the following research questions: In what circumstances and by means of which models did Croatia’s political and intellectual elite come into contact with European ideas? What were the main motives for accepting new ideas? By aid of which strategies and for what reasons were they modified and adapted to local circumstances? To what extent and in what circumstances were modernisation processes imposed ‘from above’, by the Habsburg rulers and state structures, and how were they encouraged/initiated by the Croatian intellectual elite? What were the forms and the reasons for resisting the implementation of new ideas? For what reasons and in what circumstances were political decisions about the preservation of ‘old’ patterns made? In what way did the acceptance or rejection of individual ideas influence the perception of Croatia in Europe?

We believe that – seeking answers to these questions – we will expand our knowledge and better understand in what way and in what circumstances societies faced with the challenge of significant political, administrative and social changes (as the period of intense modernisation reforms in Croatia in the 18th and 19th centuries) accepted or rejected European ideas, and in which way this choice reflected on the political, public and cultural sphere. In this sense, one of the project objectives is to demonstrate what contemporary Croatia can learn from its own experience, but also discuss the history of  (non)acceptance of European models with historians from other countries, especially by means of planned scientific colloquia and through participation of project team members at international scientific conferences.