Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Dr Petr Roubal

Fellow Petr Roubal

October 2017 - March 2017

October 2017 - March 2017
Mail roubal(at)usd.cas(dot)cz

2008 - pres. Senior researcher at Institute of Contemporary History (Department of late-/post-socialism), Academy of Sciences, Prague
2011 - pres. Lecturer at Faculty of Philosophy & Arts, Charles University, Prague
2007 - 2011 Lecturer Council on International Educational Exchange, Prague
2007 Ph.D. in Comparative History, Central European University, History Department
2002 M.Phil in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Dept. of Social Anthropology
2000 MA in History, Central European University, History Department

Research project at the Kolleg

The research project looks at under-researched theme of urban planning of Prague in the post-1968 "normalisation" or consolidation regime up to the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The general framework of the research is formed by the question on the nature of late-socialist governance, namely what role did the expert and technocratic elites play in the system of power and cradle-to-grave planning under the state-socialist dictatorship. The study of expert cultures reveals the state-socialist experiment as part of larger pool of modernist projects which all gravitated towards technocratic and expert led style of governance. Urban planners represent an illustrative example of the role of experts in state-socialist governance as they operated with disregard for the locational value and property rights and with a surprising level of autonomy vis-a-vis the communist party. On the other hand, unlike many other state-socialist experts, the visions of urban planners were highly constrained by the "hardware" of the city, i.e. the existing build environment, which was particularly true for cities of East-Central Europe build mostly during the later phase of capitalist industrialisation. Urban planners seemed to play ambivalent role under the consolidation regime, underpinning it initially by providing rational and expert-based solutions, only to undermine it towards the end of the 1980s by pointing out the irrationality of the state-socialist project.

Main areas of research

  • Political rituals in the 20th century
  • Legitimisation of state-socialism
  • Political and intellectual history of post-communism
  • History of Prague after the Second World War

Positions and memberships

  • Senior researcher at Institute of Contemporary History (Department of late-/post-socialism), Academy of Sciences, Prague
  • Member of the editorial board of the journal Dějiny, teorie, kritika


Petr Roubal, Československé spartakiády [Czechoslovak Spartakiads] (Prague: Academia, 2016).

Petr Roubal, Starý pes, nové kousky: kooptace do Federálního shromáždění a vytváření polistopadové politické kultury.[Cooptations into the Federal Assembly and the constitution of post-November political culture]. (Prague: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR, 2013).

Adéla Gjuričová, Michal Kopeček, Petr Roubal, Jiří Suk and Tomáš Zahradníček, Rozděleni minulostí. Vytváření politických identit v České republice po roce 1989 [Divided by the Past: Political Identities Formation in the Czech Republic after 1989]. (Prague: Knihovna Václava Havla, 2011).

Edited volumes

Petr Roubal and Lukáš Babka, eds., Prague Perspectives III. Jan Slavík (1885-1978): A Czech Historian of Revolutions. (Prague: National Library of the Czech Republic, 2009).

Petr Roubal and Václav Veber, eds., Prague Perspectives (I): The History of East-Central Europe and Russia. (Prague: The National Library of the Czech Republic, 2004).


Petr Roubal, "Revolution by the law: Transformation of the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly 1989-1990", Prispevki za novejšo zgodovino / Contributions to Contemporary History 55, no. 3 (2015): 60-83.

Petr Roubal, "The conservative counter-revolution: post-dissident neoconservatives in post-communist transformation", in Thinking Through Transition: Liberal Democracy, Authoritarian Pasts, and Intellectual History in East Central Europe After 1989, edited by Michal Kopeček and Piotr Wciślik (Budapest: CEU Press, 2015), 171-200.

Petr Roubal, "The body of the nation. The Czechoslovak Spartakiades from a gender perspective", in: The Politics of Gender Culture under State Socialism: An Expropriated Voice, edited by Hana Havelková and Libora Oates-Indruchová (New York: Routledge, 2014), 135-161.

Petr Roubal, "Mass Gymnastic Performances under Communism: The Case of Czechoslovak Spartakiads", in The Sovietization of Eastern Europe: New Perspectives on the Postwar Period, edited by Balázs Apor, Péter Apor, E.A. Rees (Washington, New Academia Publishing, 2008), 171-180.

Petr Roubal, "A didactic project transformed into the celebration of a ritual: Czechoslovak Spartakiads 1955-1990", Journal of Modern European History 4, no. 1 (2006): 90-113.

Petr Roubal, "Visual Representation of the Czech/Czechoslovak State, 1945-2000: A Survey of the Literature", European Review of History-Revue européenne d'Histoire, 13 (2006): 83-113.

Petr Roubal, "Politics of Gymnastics. Mass gymnastic displays under communism in Central and Eastern Europe", Body and Society 9, no. 2 (2003): 1-25.


Review of Paulina Bren, The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism after the 1968 Prague Spring (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010), in East Central Europe 40, n. 1-2 (2013): 194-197.
review of Andreas Luh. Der Deutsche Turnverband in der ersten Tschechoslowakischen Republik: Vom völkischen Vereinsbetrieb zur volkspolitischen Bewegung. (Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2006), in Austrian History Yearbook, 41 (2010): 299-300.