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Aaron Zidar





Curriculum vitae



Phd project: "Slovenes and Germans in Maribor/Marburg an der Drau. National Relations Between Imperial Decay and post-Imperial Order (1895-1945)"

For my PhD project I want to analyze the national relations between Slovenes and Germans in the town of Maribor from 1895 to 1945. The relations between these two national groups after the 1890s are usually described by contemporary witnesses and historians as heavily strained and deeply adversarial. This has been a narrative not just for Maribor and the Habsburg period but for most areas inhabited by Germans and Slovenes in the Habsburg monarchy and its successor states. Maribor especially was an “apple of discord” for these groups. This was mainly due to its status as a predominantly German-speaking enclave inside Slovene-speaking Lower Styria, its proximity to German-speaking Central Styria, as well as its strategic traffic position and industrial importance. The town was claimed by the national movements of both groups and changed control multiple times in the 20th century until the end of WWII brought a conclusion to this national tug-of-war.

The existing historiography on Maribor’s national relations is consequently and understandably focused on the periods that saw a violet change of power and draws mostly on the experiences of the nationally conscious elites. The more peaceful periods and the experiences of the town’s “common citizens” have on the other hand not received as much attention. The first goal of this project is therefore to critically examine the narrative of deep and omnipresent national strife by studying different cases and forms of national cooperation, indifference, separation, and conflict in the town amongst different areas of life and social strata. For this, I want to analyze a diverse set of sources that include administrative documents, newspapers, sources of cultural, educational, and religious institutions and personal documents, particularly from less influential strata.

The second goal of the project is to analyze the influence of different phases of imperial temporality on the relations of these national groups. In practice I want to examine how the crisis, (failed) transformation and collapse of the Habsburg Empire and its heritage shaped the lives and relations of Maribor’s citizens in the imperial and post-imperial era until 1945.