Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Dr Matěj Spurny

August 2017 - June 2018

Dr. Matěj Spurný has been an assistant professor at the Institute for Economic and Social History of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University (Prague) and a research fellow at the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences (both since 2012). He was working as research fellow at the Institute for Contemporary History (ZZF) in Potsdam and collaborating with the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). For his dissertation "Nejsou jako my" about ethnic minorities in postwar Czechoslovakia, he was awarded prestigious Czech academic and research prizes. Spurný studied in Prague and Berlin and received his Ph.D. in history at the Charles University in 2010. Since nearly two decades he also has been acting in the field of civil society, especially dealing with the post war forced displacement of Germans from Czechoslovakia and as an actor of the Czech debate about socialist dictatorship.

Research project at the Kolleg

The Ambivalence of Urban Modernity Modern urban planning dealing with the historical city. Czechoslovakia in comparison with East and West Germany (1956-1989). The aim of the project is to analyse, what happened, when, in poststalinist and late socialist Czechoslovakia, ideas of modernist cities and practice of modern urban planning faced the build environment of the historical city - and to compare the various faces and phases of the struggle between new and old in ČSSR with the development in the GDR and in West Germany. Besides of all differences, we can, concerning the topic of urban development, observe important parallels between West and East. The rise of urban planning and architecture in the spirit of modern technocratic thought, well known and described as an important aspect of post war western Europe, was in state socialist Czechoslovakia connected especially with the post-stalinist period of the late 1950s and 1960s, although the most ambitious projects were often realized or finished as late as in the 1970s or early 1980s. During these four decades (1950s to 1980s), we can not only in the West, but also under state socialist conditions, simultaneously depict the rising critique of the very technocratic urban planning, which went hand in hand with rediscovering the values of historical city and lived environment. This development and the mentioned parallels between West and East, open a whole range of questions. On the level of social and intellectual history I explore, which actors were advancing and forming urban modernity in all three countries, which people, communities or institutions were decisive in facing it by reintroducing the historical as valuable and which political or other instruments they used. At the same time, a more general question is of interest - namely the relationship between constructing urban modernity, the changing notion of dignified environment for human life and (in Weberian sense) the legitimacy of rule.

Main areas of research

  • Nationalism and ethnic minorities in central-eastern Europe
  • Social history of state socialism in Czechoslovakia
  • Post-war urban history in central-eastern Europe
  • Environmental history


Spurný, Matěj; Most do budoucnosti. Laboratoř socialistické modernity na severu Čech. [Making the Most of Tomorrow. A Laboratory of Socialist Modernity in Northern Bohemia]. Karolinum, Praha 2016

Spurný, Matěj; Nejsou jako my. Česká společnost a menšiny v pohraničí (1945-1960). [They are not as us. Czech society and the minorities (1945-1960)] Antikomplex, Praha 2011

Spurný, Matěj; Bijeme na poplach! Německá publicistika proti nacistickému nebezpečí (1930-1933) [German journalism against the Nazi threat (1930-1933)]. Nakladatelství Lidové noviny, Praha 2009

Spurný, Matěj; Flucht und Vertreibung. Das Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges in Sachsen, Niederschlesien und Nordböhmen [Flight and expulsion. The End of WWI in Saxony, Lower Silesia and Northern Bohemia], SLPB und Brücke/Most-Stiftung, Dresden 2008 (2. ed. 2011)

Jareš, Jakub - Spurný, Matěj - Volná Katka a kol.; Náměstí Krasnoarmějců 2, FF UK / Thalia, Praha 2012

Edited volumes

Volná, Katka - Jareš, Jakub - Spurný, Matěj (ed.); S minulostí zúčtujeme [Settling ccounts with the Past, documents], Academia, Praha 2014

Schneider, Miroslav - Scholl-Schneider, Sarah - Spurný, Matěj (ed.); Sudetské příběhy (Sudetengeschichten) [Livestories of the Sudetenland], Antikomplex a Institut für Bayerische und Schwäbische Landesgeschichte der Universität Augsburg, Praha 2010

Volná, Katka - Jareš, Jakub - Pinerová, Klára - Spurný, Matěj; Prověřená fakulta (edice dokumentů) [The examined faculty, documents], ÚSD, Praha 2009

Spurný, Matěj (ed.); Sudetské osudy [Sudetenfates], Antikomplex a Nakl. Český les, Domažlice 2006 Spurný, Matěj (ed.); Proměny sudetské krajiny [Changes of the Landscape in Sudetenland], Antikomplex a Nakl. Český les, Domažlice 2006

Mikšíček, Petr - Matějka, Ondřej - Spurný, Matěj; Zmizelé Sudety / Das verschwundene Sudetenland [The Lost Sudetenland], Antikomplex a Nakl. Český les, Domažlice 2003 (rep. ed. 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010)


Spurný, Matěj - Gosewinkel, Dieter; Citoyenneté et expropriation en Tchécoslovaquie au lendemain des deux Guerres mondiales, in: Revue d´histoire moderne et contemporaine 61-1/2014, str. 26-61

Spurný, Matěj; Unerwünschte Rückkehrer. Staatsbürgerschaft und Eigentum deutscher Juden in der Nachkriegstschechoslowakei, in: Naharaim (Zeitschrift für deutschjüdische Literatur und Kulturgeschichte, Jerusalem), Volume 8, Issue 1 (Sep 2014), str. 120-141

Spurný, Matěj; Removing the Historical Town of Most: Technocratic and Humanistic Thought in the Practice of State Socialism, in: International Relations and Diplomacy, Vol 2, No. 4, April 2014, str. 235-243

Spurný, Matěj; Reliability and the Border: The Discourse of the Czech Borderlands, 1945-49, in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Nr. 1 / 2013

Spurný, Matěj; Überprüfen und philosophieren, in: Bohemia, Nr. 53 / 2013 Spurný, Matěj; Political Authority & Popular Opinion: Czechoslovakia's German Minority 1945-1960. In: Social History Vol. 37. No. 4, 2012.


Orzoff, Andrea. Battle for the Castle: The Myth of Czechoslovakia in Europe, 1914-1918 (Book review Matěj Spurný) in: Austrian History Yearbook, v.42, 2011 Annual, p.245

Detlef Brandes / Holm Sundhaussen / Stefan Troebst (eds.), Lexikon der Vertreibungen. Deportation, Zwangsaussiedlung und ethnische Säuberung im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts, Wien: Böhlau, 2010 (Book review Matěj Spurný) in: Bohemia, 51 (2011), 1, p. 295-298.

Philosophen machen Revolution : Eine monumentale Ego-Histoire von Josef Petráň (Book review Matěj Spurný) in: Prager wirtschafts- und sozialhistorische Mitteilungen (Prague Economic and Social History Papers), 24/2016, p. 103-105

Staněk, Tomáš: Internierung und Zwangsarbeit. Das Lagersystem in den böhmischen Ländern 1945-1948. München 2007 (Book review Matěj Spurný) in: H-Soz-Kult, 22.01.2009,

The full list of publications can be found under: and