Non-Territorial Autonomy as Minority Protection in Europe

An Intellectual and Political History of a Travelling Idea, 1850–2000

This ERC project aims at writing a transnational history of non-territorial autonomy as an intellectual concept with a chequered history across Europe and as an applied policy tool in handling national diversity.


NTAutonomy explores both the idea of granting non-territorial autonomy to national groups as corporate bodies within a state as well as its travel and transformation in Central and Eastern Europe from the mid-19th century to the present. Relying on a mixture of historiographical methods, we propose to trace:

  • the development of theoretical conceptions and political applications of non-territorial autonomy within the Habsburg Empire, by mapping the intellectual networks of its advocates;
  • explore the interwar continuities in the development of the idea, its manifestations in policies adopted by governments, as well as its adaptations by diverse, sometimes warring  ideological currents: communist, socialist, liberal, conservative and far right;
  •  analyse the treatment of non-territorial autonomy practices in international minority protection through the present day.

Based at the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Historical Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the project is geographically, chronologically and thematically divided into the following sub-projects:

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