Virtual Mobility Grant

Grantee Name: Bernhard Aigner
Grant Title: Karl Renner's Non-Territorial Autonomy concept of an Austrian federal state (infographics)
Home Institution: University of Vienna
Grant period: 30/06/2021 - 30/09/2021


Statement about the grant:

The ENTAN mobility grant enabled me as an undergraduate to carry out a scientific project with professionalism that would not have been possible without this grant. This was not only due to the financial support that allowed me to place orders (e.g., to a professional graphic designer) but also due to the exchange with the people in charge of the scholarship (especially Mr. Demjan Golubov), who improved the project immensely by their suggestions.
In addition, it should be emphasized, that the support of ENTAN in the submission, implementation, and completion of the project exceeded expectations and thus gave courage to this and subsequent projects.

Grant purpose:

The main objective of this Virtual Mobility Grant was to create visualizations of one of the most prominent Non-Territorial Autonomy (NTA) concepts: Karl Renner’s model of the Austrian federal state.
This model – first depicted by Renner in his publication Der Kampf der österreichischen Nationen um den Staat in 1902 – was designed to counteract the national aspirations in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. As those national aspirations of – amongst others – Hungarians, Czechs, and Polish imperiled the rights of national minorities in the Crownlands and correspondingly invoked the dissimilation of the Empire itself into nation-states, Renner constructs in this text the model of a (modern) multinational Austrian federal state. In this federal state, he separates national (e.g., cultural) from state interests and establishes nations as political bodies with idiomatic rights. Those political bodies form institutions on various administrative levels of the federal state, where they are either bound to or separated from the political institutions.

Renner’s concept – to put it in a nutshell – is highly inventive but also quite complicated, and, unfortunately, largely inaccessible to researchers who are not reading German, as neither Renner’s 1902 nor his 1918 book have been translated into English. A thorough explanation would need at least a book chapter or even a whole book. To this end, the grant sought to make Renner’s model compactly accessible virtually and across languages in the form of infographics and a short animated explanatory video.

Description of the work carried out during the grant:

To make Renner’s model of the Austrian federal state virtually and beyond linguistic borders accessible, two steps were essential: 1) to produce logical and understandable infographics, and 2) to translate them from German into English.
Therefore, the first step was to read and summarize Karl Renner’s major work Der Kampf der Oesterreichischen Nationen um den Staat (1902), and its revised edition Das Selbstbestimmungsrecht der Nationen in besonderer Anwendung auf Österreich (1918). Based on these breviaries, seven infographics on both texts were designed. This process included a phase of conceptualization, many drafts, and conformations. After several revisions, a professional graphic designer transformed the drafts into a digital setting.
The second step was to translate Renner’s political terms from German into English. As the used terminology has different implications in various languages, this was a complicated undertaking. In addition to that, Renner is not persistent with his terminology throughout his work(s). Therefore, certain decisions had to be taken: 1) to settle on specific terms of Renner’s concept and use them stringently throughout the graphics, 2) to translate them ‘faithfully’ that is to stick very closely to the original terminology, but also carry the original semantics. In this process, orientation was given by existing translations of NTA-texts by Ephraim Nimni, Xavier Arzoz’s paper on Karl Renner’s theory of national autonomy, and a Dictionary of Historical and Political Terms of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Nevertheless, individual translations had to be found, as many were not available in any existing text.

Description of the main results obtained:

As Karl Renner’s NTA model of the Austrian federal state is seen by many as the origin and ideal type of the NTA concept but is quite complicated and only accessible in German, the grant outputs provide international researchers with an elaborated visual (and textual) overview of this model. This accessibility is granted by 1) simplified and logical visualizations, 2) translation of key terms and 3) a short animated explanatory video on the original – and widespread – model of 1902 (see: