Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Travelers of an Empire That Was: Tourism, Movie-Going, and the Formation of Post-Imperial Identities in Austria and Hungary, 1918-1944

Behrendt, Andrew E. (2016) Travelers of an Empire That Was: Tourism, Movie-Going, and the Formation of Post-Imperial Identities in Austria and Hungary, 1918-1944. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (2MB)


This dissertation investigates the history of leisure activities in order to understand how former Habsburg subjects made sense of their place in the world at empire’s end. It proposes a framework that approaches the history of Austria and Hungary in the 1920s-1930s as the history of geopolitical spaces connected by an imperial past, not simply as the divergent national stories of states insulated by new borders. I shed light on a unique moment in the region’s history: the encounter between the cultural legacy of the Habsburg Empire and a rising tide of transnational consumer culture in the form of “democratized” travel and globalized media, both of which challenged the stability of national boundaries and identities. I demonstrate how, first, tourism culture sustained certain transnational imperial traditions and, second, the ways in which the politics of tourism engaged with an array of identities beyond nationality alone. Moreover, this thesis contributes new methodological perspectives to the field of modern European history. In addition to archival and published sources, I analyze popular films of the era as texts of “virtual tourism,” whereby millions who could not afford to travel learned about the destinations and habits of tourism without journeying farther than their local cinema.

Chapter 1 establishes the historiographical bases of the work’s post-imperial perspective and explains its multidisciplinary methodology. Chapter 2 probes the ways in which tourism promoters imagined the “strangers” they wished to attract and, in the process, kept alive imperial connections. Chapter 3 finds that differences between the two domestic tourist industries illuminate how Austrians and Hungarians, informed by Habsburg-era cultural trends, conceived of the idea of “homeland” in fundamentally different ways. Chapter 4 explores the promotion of rural tourism in Hungary as a mission to “civilize” the peasantry to suit the urban visitor, with roots in the imperial past. Chapter 5 studies “hotel movies” as virtual vacations. It focuses on the history of two prominent hotels and the way contemporary cinema mystified them as fairytale spaces where social and political problems were magically resolved.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Behrendt, Andrew E.aeb72@pitt.eduAEB720000-0002-7256-1398
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLivezeanu, Irinairinal@pitt.eduIRINAL
Committee MemberHalle, Randallrhalle@pitt.eduRHALLE
Committee MemberKlimo, Arpad
Committee MemberPutnam, Laralep12@pitt.eduLEP12
Committee MemberThum, Gregorthum@pitt.eduTHUM
Date: 1 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 December 2015
Approval Date: 1 June 2016
Submission Date: 14 April 2016
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 378
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Habsburg History, Tourism History, Film History, Austrian History, Hungarian History, German History
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2016 13:38
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2021 05:15


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item