Principal Investigator

Iskra Iveljić


Iskra Iveljić was born in 1959 in Frankfurt on the Main. She attended the secondary school with a classic programme in Zagreb and studied History and English Language and Literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University in Zagreb. In 1998 she defended doctoral dissertation The Zagreb Business Elite from 1860 until 1883, at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and in 1992 master’s thesis Attempts of the Ban’s Council to Modernize Croatia in 1848, at the same Faculty. The mentor of both theses was professor Mirjana Gross.

I. Iveljić holds Full Professor Tenure of Modern and Contemporary Croatian and World History at the Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. Previously she worked from 1987 until 1990 at the Archives of Croatia (nowadays the Croatian State Archives) as a junior archivist, and from 1990 until 1993 as assistant at the Institute of Contemporary History. In 1993 she became assistant at the History Department of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, in 2000 assistant professor, in 2004 associate professor, in 2010 full professor and in 2015 full professor tenured. Since 1993 she was supervisor of 41 graduate, 3 postgraduate and 3 doctoral students, and a member of evaluation committee for 12 postgraduate students at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. At the same institution she teaches various obligatory courses on Croatian 19th century history for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, as well as a number of elective courses on gender history, nobility and social and cultural history. She also held lectures for postgraduate students of art history and students of education at the Zagreb university, as well for students of the Institute for East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg (2009) and the students of the Institute for East European History in Vienna (2014).

In 2014 she was the leader of the project of the University of Zagreb, Educational and Cultural Ties between Vienna, Zagreb and Budapest from the Late 18th until the Mid 20th Century. She also participated in several international projects: Kroaten in Wien 1790-1918 (The Croats in Vienna 1790-1918), led by PhD Neven Budak (University of Zagreb) and PhD Harald Heppner (University of Graz); Geschichte Südosteuropas als europäische Geschichte (History of Southeastern Europe as European History) led by PhD Holm Sundhaussen (The Free University of Berlin) and PhD Jürgen Höpken (University of Leipzig), bilateral Croatian-Slovenian projects The Public Use of History in Slovenia and Croatia – History in Slovene and Croatian Public Opinion (PhD Damir Agičić, University of Zagreb and PhD Marta Verginella, University of Ljubljana) and Croatian-Slovenian Ties in the 19th and the first Half of the 20th Century. The Example of the Pongratz Family (PhD Dragan Damjanović, University of Zagreb and PhD Miha Preinfalk of the Historical Institute Milko Kos of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana). She was also a keynote speaker at the Zukunftswerkstatt (led by H. Sundhaussen and PhD Ulf Brunnbauer, University of Regensburg), held in the Goethe-Institut in Zagreb in 2008. I. Iveljić held papers at 18 international conferences in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Great Britain and USA. She has many contacts with colleagues especially in Slovenia (Ljubljana, Maribor), Austria (Vienna), Germany (Regensburg, Berlin, Leipzig) Hungary (Budapest, Pecs), Bosnia and Herzegowina (Sarajevo), Serbia (Belgrade), Great Britain (Southampton, London) and USA (New York).

The research of I. Iveljić is focused on the various aspects of modernization, on the middle-class elite and on everyday life at the turn of the century. Recently she has studied the aristocracy in northwestern Croatia in 19th and 20th century (a case study of the Rauch family) as well as Croatian students and Croatian elites in Vienna. Both her studies of middle class and the nobility encompass political, economic and cultural aspects, the gender issues and the relationship towards children and teenagers. In a couple of articles she has also critically analysed the Croatian postcommunist history-writing.



About the project

The aim of this fundamental research project is to analyse various segments of Croatian elites during the last phase of the Habsburg Monarchy and to show their multifacetted transition into the new Yugoslav state. The research will encompass the period from the late 19th century until the 1930s, covering thus two generations, the old one that was in its zenith at the turn of the century, and the new one that rose to prominence on the eve of the First World War. Both states, the old and the new one, were multinational monarchies, yet they were totally different in many respects, even in their very character as monarchies, since the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, had a sovereign – a king from the Serbian Karađorđević dynasty, but lacked its own nobility. Even though the new Yugoslav state was multinational as well, it differed from the Habsburg Monarchy, since it was a state of South Slavs (except Bulgarians) with other nationalities reduced to ethnic minorities, some of which were for political reasons considered unreliable or even dangerous (e.g. Germans).
The transition from the Habsburg into the Yugoslav state was strenuous for many members of Croatian elites, since it brought about major changes in political, national, social, economic, cultural, educational and military aspect, to name just the most important ones. Moreover, one has to bear in mind that the fall of the Habsburg Monarchy and the founding of a new Yugoslav state occured as a part of the Entente’s victory in the First World War and subsequently of the new European order established at the peace conference in Versailles in 1919. This had impact on political and national situation, since contrary to Croatia and Slovenia, Serbia gained political and national sway as a member of the victorious coalition.
The context of the transition was very complex and demanding, and it took place on several levels, the national, the Yugoslav and the international, encompassing at the same time all major fields of human activity. It also implied a shift from Central European to Southeastern European orientation, yet in many fields Central European influences were still present. Therefore, the project will focus on careful distinguishing of continuities and discontinuities, in an attempt to produce a wide and balanced picture of what happened to Croatian elites in this transition, both in their public and professional as well as everyday life, since cultural norms and values persist even after the radical political change had occurred, and are to a great extent transmitted within families. Were the elites willing to adapt to the new circumstances, or were they inclined to opposition? What were the impacts of transition on their professional and private life? What were their strategies of staying at top? Did they manage to retain their elite status or were they (gradually or suddenly) replaced by newcomers? If so, upon which criteria or more precisely: was the national and political allegiance a decisive criterion? Was there a discrepancy between their individual opinions as expressed in their letters, diaries, autobiographies etc. and their professional status and public appearances? In what ways has the new orientation on southeastern Europe instead of central Europe, influenced their careers and lives? For example, a big shift of academic centres occurred, since a big portion of the Croatian elites had studied in Vienna or Graz, which was after 1918 no more the case. Did all Serbian members of Croatian elites follow Yugoslav suit, or have some of them retained traits and standpoints stemming from the Habsburg period? These are just some of the questions to be answered.
Since the elite i.e. elites is a very vast category, based upon manifold criteria (social, political, national, economic, gender etc.) it would be impossible to cover in detail the transition of all its members. Since general political and national issues have been the subject of a number of works of Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian etc. as well as European historiography, the project will focus primarily on other aspects, namely cultural, educational, economic, social, gender and scientific. Of course this does not mean that the national and political agenda will be left aside. It will be shown on one hand in a meta-analysis based upon literature, on the other hand in case studies dealing with certain elite groups like for example former bureaucrats and officials such as county prefects („veliki župani“).
The project team will research the nobility, the businessmen, intellectual elite (university professors, politicians, doctors of medicine, lawyers) administrative elite and renown women. Apart from individual elite members, various organizations (e.g. Matica hrvatska), institutions (Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Zagreb University, chambers of commerce…), associations (professional, women’s etc.), exibitions and fairs (the Zagreb Fair), celebrations (e.g. the 1000 years of Croatian Kingdom) as well as the press will be researched. Needless to say, comparisons will be drawn, especially with the Slovenian elites. The transition of the Slovenian and Croatian business elite as well as the nobility will be thoroughly compared, with a tendency to further widen the scope of the project by drawing general comparisons with the elites of the other parts of the Habsburg Monarchy, most of all in the Czech lands.
Therefore the project should compare the mechanisms of regrutation of elites in the last phase of the Habsburg state and the first phase of the Yugoslav one, showing (in)congruencies between inherited structures, influences and a way of life with newly established political realities.




Cilj ovog fundamentalnog istraživačkog projekta je analizirati različite segmente hrvatske elite tijekom posljednje faze postojanja Habsburške Monarhije te prikazati njihovu višestranu tranziciju u novu jugoslavensku državu u razdoblju od početka 20. st. do 1930-ih. Projekt će zaokružiti razdoblje od kasnog 19. stoljeća do tridesetih godina dvadesetog stoljeća, obuhvativši tako dvije generacije, staru koja je bila na zenitu na prijelazu stoljeća i novu koja postaje značajna uoči Prvog svjetskog rata. I stara i nova država bile su višenacionalne monarhije, ali su se u mnogim aspektima znatno razlikovale. Kraljevina Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca imala je monarha – kralja iz dinastije Karađorđević, ali nije imala svoje plemstvo. Iako je nova jugoslavenska država također bila višenacionalna, ona se bitno razlikovala od Habsburške Monarhije jer su njeno većinsko stanovništvo činili južni Slaveni (izuzev Bugara), dok su drugi narodi svedeni na etničke manjine, od kojih su neke smatrane nepouzdanima ili čak opasnima (npr. Nijemci).


Tranzicija iz habsburške u jugoslavensku državu bila je za mnoge pripadnike hrvatskih elita teška jer su njome, između ostalog, uvedene velike promjene u političkom, nacionalnom, društvenom, gospodarskom, kulturnom, obrazovnom i vojnom aspektu. Štoviše, valja imati na umu da su pad Habsburške Monarhije i osnivanje nove jugoslavenske države povezani s pobjedom Antante u Prvom svjetskom ratu i uspostavom novog europskog poretka nakon mirovne konferencije u Versaju 1919. godine. Činjenica da je Srbija, za razliku od Hrvatske i Slovenije, bila na pobjedničkoj strani u ratu odrazila se na političku i nacionalnu situaciju u državi.


Kontekst tranzicije, koja je istovremeno obuhvaćala sva polja ljudske aktivnosti, bio je vrlo složen i zahtjevan, te se odvijao na nekoliko razina – nacionalnoj, jugoslavenskoj i međunarodnoj. Njena posljedica bio je i pomak vanjskopolitičke orijentacije države sa središnje na jugoistočnu Europu, iako su srednjoeuropski utjecaji još uvijek bili prisutni na mnogim poljima. Žarište projekta bit će na pomnom razlikovanju kontinuiteta i diskontinuiteta u svrhu stvaranja široke i uravnotežene slike o hrvatskim elitama tijekom spomenute tranzicije, pri čemu bi bili obuhvaćeni njihov javni i profesionalni kao i svakodnevni život, budući da kulturne norme preživljavaju čak i radikalne političke promjene i u velikoj mjeri se prenose unutar obitelji. Jesu li elite bile spremne prilagoditi se novoj situaciji ili su bile sklonije pružiti otpor? Kako je tranzicija utjecala na njihov profesionalni i privatni život? Koje su bile njihove strategije za očuvanje položaja na društvenom vrhu? Jesu li uspjele zadržati svoj elitni status ili su ih (postupno ili naglo) zamijenili novi ljudi? Ako da, prema kojim kriterijima, odnosno jesu li nacionalna i politička pripadnost bili odlučujući faktori? Postoje li nepodudarnosti između njihovih osobnih stavova iznesenih u pismima, dnevnicima, autobiografijama itd. i njihovog profesionalnog statusa i javnih istupa? Na koji je način nova orijentacija na jugoistočnu Europu umjesto na središnju Europu utjecala na njihove karijere i živote? Na primjer, došlo je do velikog pomaka akademskih centara jer je prije 1918. velik dio hrvatskih elita pohađao studije u Beču ili Grazu, što od tada više nije bio slučaj. Jesu li se svi srpski predstavnici hrvatske elite prilagodili jugoslavenstvu ili su zadržali svojstva i stajališta koja su potjecala iz habsburškog perioda? To su samo neka od pitanja na koje treba dati odgovor.


Kako su elita, odnosno elite, vrlo široka kategorija temeljena na raznovrsnim kriterijima (društvenim, političkim, nacionalnim, gospodarskim, rodnim itd.) nije moguće detaljno istražiti tranziciju svih njenih pripadnika. Budući da su opća politička i nacionalna pitanja već bila predmet istraživanja hrvatske, slovenske, srpske itd. kao i europske historiografije, ovaj će projekt biti prvenstveno usmjeren na druge aspekte – kulturne, obrazovne, gospodarske, društvene, rodne i znanstvene. To, naravno, ne znači da će nacionalna i politička problematika biti zanemarena. Ona će se očitovati kroz metaanalizu utemeljenu na literaturi te kroz studije-slučajeve koji se bave određenim elitnim grupama kao npr. bivšim birokratima i dužnosnicima poput velikih župana.


Projektni će tim istraživati plemstvo, privrednu i intelektualnu elitu (sveučilišne profesore, političare, doktore medicine, odvjetnike), administrativnu elitu i poznate žene. Istraživanje će osim pojedinih pripadnika elite obuhvatiti razne organizacije (npr. Maticu hrvatsku), institucije (Jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti, Sveučilište u Zagrebu, gospodarske komore), udruge (profesionalne, žena itd.), izložbe i sajmove (Zagrebački velesajam), proslave (tisućgodišnjica Hrvatskog Kraljevstva) i tiskovine. Naravno, napravit će se usporedbe s drugim elitama, ponajprije onima iz Slovenije. Posebna pozornost pridat će se usporedbi tranzicije hrvatske i slovenske privredne elite i plemstva, ali će se obzor projekta nastojati proširiti i usporedbama s elitama ostalih dijelova Habsburške Monarhije, poglavito češkim zemljama.


Stoga bi projekt trebao uspoređivati mehanizme regrutacije elita u zadnjoj fazi habsburške i u prvoj fazi jugoslavenske države, ukazujući na (ne)podudarnosti između naslijeđenih struktura, utjecaja i načina života s novom političkom stvarnosti.



(Around the globe) ESSHC 2018, Elites and Forerunners network, session proposal: Walking the line between great opportunities and broken careers: the administrative and political elite in Central and Eastern Europe in the years 1918-1921



Announcement published by Vlad Popovici on Monday, March 13, 2017


Type: Call for Papers
Date: April 15, 2017
Location: United Kingdom
Subject Fields: Eastern Europe History / Studies, Government and Public Service, Modern European History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies, Social History / Studies