Sie sind hier: Startseite Personen Doktorand*innen Sebastian Fahner

Sebastian Fahner



Tel: +49 761 203-5454


Curriculum vitae



Projektbeschreibung: „Struggles between Past and Future: The Socialist Labour Movement’s Political Use of History in Spain and the Habsburg Monarchy, 1890–1914“

My PhD project studies the political interpretations of history in the socialist labour movements in the Habsburg monarchy and Spain between 1890 and 1914. I explore how these organisations positioned themselves between different national pasts and an internationalist future. With this project, I aim at a better understanding of the role that the labour movement played for the dissemination of national historical narratives, and I plan to shed some light on whether and to what extent this process was influenced by the contemporary imperial crisis. In my research for this, I specifically focus on how the labour movements organized educational and cultural events, for example in the context of party schools, anniversaries, or cultural associations.

During the decades before World War I, different political and societal crises began to undermine the status quo of the two empires I study in my project. In the Habsburg monarchy, the growing conflict between different nationalities blocked legislative bodies and sometimes led to chaos on the streets. Meanwhile, Spain’s defeat in the Spanish-American war of 1898 not only meant the end of its former overseas empire – it also set off a heated debate about the viability of Spanish institutions. In both cases, new national movements demanded different grades of autonomy. As the new national movements started to claim separate historical identities, the political use of history and historic symbolism played a key role in these struggles.

Both the socialist labour movement surrounding the Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei (SDAP) in the Habsburg Monarchy and the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) in Spain offer opportunities for insightful case studies, particularly since both organisations advocated an internationalist political message during a time of imperial crisis and growing nationalism. By framing history as a narrative bolstering their political aims, they oftentimes used history in a similar fashion than contemporary national movements. In addition, they felt the need to present themselves as an authentic part of ‘the people’ – often understood in an ethnical sense – while at the same offering a utopian vision beyond nations and nationalism. In the context of their historical situation, this tension between nationalism and internationalism renders these two organisations’ views on history, nationality, and the future especially illuminating.