The nineteenth century saw the explosion of questions: the Eastern, social, Jewish, Polish, worker and many other questions were hotly discussed in representative bodies, at treaty negotiations, and above all in the daily press. Over the course of the next century, these would be conglomerated into still bigger ones—the European, nationality, social, and agrarian questions—even as they fractured into countless smaller ones, like the Macedonian and Schleswig-Holstein questions, and made their way into various fields of human endeavor (there was cotton, oyster, and even a sugar question). What brought about the “age of questions,” and what does its trajectory reveal about Eastern Europe in the twentieth-century world?
Holly Case is a historian of modern Europe whose work focuses on the relationship between foreign policy, social policy, science, and literature in the European state system of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her first book, Between States: The Transylvanian Question and the European Idea during WWII, was published in May 2009. The book shows how the struggle for mastery among Europe’s Great Powers was affected by the perspectives of small states. Her lecture at the University of Pittsburgh is based on her current brook project that deals with the history of the “Age of Questions.” Case has written on European history, literature, politics and ideas for various magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, The Chronicle Review, The Nation, Dissent, The Times Literary Supplement, and Boston Review, and is a regular columnist for 3 Quarks Daily.
This lecture is part of the REES Fall Series: Eastern Europe in the World.