Dr Rudolf Kučera

Curriculum Vitae

Rudolf Kučera is a research associate at the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, where he has been head of the Department for Research and Source Editions since 2012. He began teaching at the Institute for International Studies at Charles University Prague in 2012. Kučera completed his PhD – jointly supervised by the Freie Universität in Berlin and Charles University Prague under a cotutelle agreement – in 2008. He is the recipient of several prizes and scholarships, including the Jaroslav Krejčí Prize for outstanding young scholars in the humanities in 2011. In 2009/2010 he was a junior fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies. He was also a PhD student at the Berlin School for Comparative European History from 2004 to 2008. He was awarded the Fritz Stern Scholarship at the Willy Brandt Centre in Wrocław in 2007. In 2005/2006 he availed of a scholarship from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture to study at the Historical Institute of the University of Vienna.

Research project at the Kolleg

Violence in the Transformation of Central Europe 1914-1922. A Comparative Study of the Austrian and Czech Lands
The project focuses on violence as a key factor in the fall and reconstitution of Central Europe in the period from 1914 to 1922, when the direct repercussions of the destructive war had been overcome. It compares developments in the Austrian and the Czech lands. While Czechoslovakia's public space was shaped by an overwhelming 'culture of victory' after the war, a contrasting 'culture of defeat' prevailed in Austria. As regions that shared a common constitutional framework until the end of 1918, but took different trajectories in the autumn of 1918, the Austrian and Czech lands are particularly suited to a comparative analysis. This analysis may reflect both the shared experience during the First World War and the entirely different context of the successor states after 1918. The project examines how the meaning of violence was 'handled' in everyday life by means of rituals and legal, social, and discursive practices during World War I and in the context of the new order that emerged shortly thereafter. It revolves around questions about the status and legitimacy of the use of force in the region, about legitimizing strategies of violence, about the place of violence in different national cultures, and about continuities and discontinuities beyond one of the most significant ruptures in the region's twentieth-century history.

Main areas of research

  • Social and cultural history of Central Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • War history
  • Labour history
  • History of historiography

Positions and memberships

  • Head of the Department for Research and Source editions, Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Member of the International Society for First World War Studies
  • Member of the editorial board of the journal Člověk. Časopis pro humanitní a společenské vědy
  • Managing editor and member of the editorial board of Střed/Centre. Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies of Central Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries