Jakub Beneš wins George Blazyca Prize for 'Workers and Nationalism'

BASEES is delighted to announce that the George Blazyca Prize, 2016 (to be awarded at the 2018 Annual Conference) will go to Jakub Beneš (University of Birmingham) for Workers and Nationalism: Czech and German Social Democracy in Hapsburg Austria, 1890-1918 (Oxford University Press, 2016). The jury's citation:


Jakub S. Beneš’s book, Workers and Nationalism: Czech and German Social Democracy in Habsburg Austria, 1890-1918, addresses the issues of nationalism, socialism and ‘national indifference’ in the Austrian half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the turn of the twentieth century. Beneš takes issue with Hans Mommsen’s argument that Czech Social Democrats adopted nationalist politics because the party leadership pandered to petty bourgeois elements. He directs our attention, rather, to the grass roots, where a transnational, socialist movement fighting exclusion from political society on class grounds gradually switched focus, once the vote had been won, to a struggle against exclusion on the grounds of national minority status. In the process, social democracy split along ethnic lines, because neither side understood the concerns of the other. As Beneš insists and illustrates, with copious and vivid evidence from Czech and German memoirs, newspapers, pamphlets and popular literature, this distinctly working-class variant of nationalism was, by the time of the First World War, a mass movement; the opinions of party leaders were irrelevant.

Jury: Prof. Nigel Swain, University of Liverpool and Prof. Anne White, SSEES, University College London 

The George Blazyca Prize for scholarly work of high quality in East European studies was established by decision of the annual general meeting of the Association in April 2006 in recognition of the outstanding contribution to its field of study made by the late George Blazyca.