Dr Michal Kopeček

Leverhulme Visiting Professor, February 2021 – February 2022

I am a historian of intellectual history and modern political thought in Central and Eastern Europe. I obtained my PhD at Charles University in Prague in 2005.

For more than two decades I have been working at the Institute for Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Science, where I currently serve as head of the Department of Ideas and Concepts. For many years I was teaching as external lecturer at Charles University in Prague, in 2005-06 as Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Endicott College in Beverly, MA, and in 2015 as Visiting Professor at Central European University in Budapest.

Since 2016, I have been a Co-Director of Imre Kertész Kolleg at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, which is an international research centre for 20th century history of Eastern Europe. I have also held various research fellowships in Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Regensburg, Warsaw and Sofia.

My research interests include comparative modern intellectual history of East Central Europe, nationalism studies, the history of state socialism and post-socialist transformation in Central and Eastern Europe.

My first monograph (forthcoming in English translation) analysed the origins of the so-called Marxist revisionism, the first intra-party communist political opposition in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland in 1953-1960. I am co-author of the History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe, vol. 1 and 2 (Oxford University Press: 2016 and 2018), which is the first collectively written monograph covering the transnational and comparative history of modern political thought in East Central Europe from late Enlightenment until the present.

Another recent work that I’ve co-authored and edited concerns the long arrival of neoliberalism in Central and Eastern Europe. It came out in Czech under the title Architects of Long Systemic Change: Expert Roots of Post-Socialism in Czechoslovakia (Prague, 2019).

Currently I am finishing a book project called Dissident Legacy, which explores the political, legal and historical thought as well as social practices of the anti-communist democratic opposition in the 1970s - 80s East Central Europe and its fundamental contribution to the formation of post-socialist political and legal cultures in the region after 1989.

I am happy to supervise students working on any aspect of modern political thought and intellectual history of Central and Eastern Europe, history of nationalism, communism, memory and identity politics, and, last but not least, history of neoliberalism, human rights, democracy and post-socialist transformation in the ‘long 1989’ (ca. 1970 – 2000s).

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