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This course is archived
Course date
July 11–19, 2022
Course date text
Arrival in Budapest expected on July 10, departure from Prague on July 20
Application deadline
The application process is closed.
ECTS Credits
Course delivery
SUN Packages
Tuition Waiver
Partial Scholarship
Full Scholarship

Cities and towns have been established to fulfill central functions in the production, exchange and consumption of commodities, as well as to serve as administrative and religious centers for a certain district, region or realm. Therefore, they are characterized by populations larger, denser and more complex than that of the surrounding countryside. In order to manage this complexity efficiently, cities were given or gradually acquired a certain degree of autonomy and developed their own governing bodies and institutions, with varying degrees of participation by inhabitants of different social and legal standing. The system of governance necessitated the use of administrative literacy and the appropriate shaping of the physical environment, including its open spaces, buildings and ornaments.  

The aim of the summer university course is threefold. First, to critically examine the notion of civic participation in a long-term perspective, its foundations in political thought and to explore its forms of expression in various written and visual media. Second, to bring Central Europe to the limelight and open new interdisciplinary perspectives for young scholars interested in art history, social history, pragmatic literacy and urban planning. Third, to consider issues of preservation, protection and the value of conceptual and built heritage for modern societies. 

The course will consist of four types of activities: (1) thematic lectures given by one of the faculty members, (2) workshops analyzing a specific type of written or visual evidence under the guidance of two or three faculty members, (3) thematic city walks in Budapest, Brno and Prague, visiting sites and buildings exemplifying the issues discussed in the lectures and workshops, guided by course faculty and other resource persons, and (4) seminars where participants of the course present their research topics and receive feedback. The key topics include (a) the urbanization of Central Europe and the topography of governance; (b) the legal background of urban autonomy; (c) secular architecture and the display of authority; (d) sacred architecture and civic identity; (e) civic participation and municipal administration. 

Our agenda fits into a broad trend of international research. Historical, archaeological and architectural investigations, as well as studies on political thought, have investigated medieval cities and towns on their own account. These research results have stimulated academic debates on the creation and growth of towns; on the role of seigniorial power, civic initiatives and external forces in these processes; and on the role of migration, colonization and cultural transfer in the spread of urbanization – just to name a few. The novelty of our course will be to closely link the administrative and spatial/architectural aspects and to concentrate on Central Europe from a comparative perspective. 

Lecture series: Urban Governance and Civic Participation in Words and Stone in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period

The theme of the SUN-OSUN course was also the motto of a lecture series entitled Urban Governance and Civic Participation in Words and Stone in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, convened by three members of the course faculty (Zoe Opačić, Susanne Rau, and Katalin Szende) and hosted by the CEU Democracy Institute and the Department of Medieval Studies in the Fall term of 2021. In this series, twelve renowned experts addressed the issue of urban governance in a broader framework beyond Central Europe. Topics discussed included the general question of citizenship; the development of urbanism in the Mediterranean after the fall of the Roman Empire; the Italian communes, and many more, extending to the Ottoman Empire and Southeast Asia. It is highly recommended for the prospective participants of the course to listen to the lectures in preparation.

Click the picture to go to the lecture series on YouTube, or watch the videos below in the 'LECTURE VIDEOS' section.

Urban Governance lecture series playlist


Citizenship in Premodern Europe and Asia

Maarten Prak, University of Utrecht (09/30/2021)

Video URL

Mediterranean Cities in the Early Middle Ages

Caroline Goodson, University of Cambridge (07/10/2021)

Video URL

Writing on Walls in Early Modern Italy

Fabrizio Nevola, University of Exeter (14/10/2021)

Video URL

Rural Subjects? Governance, Participation and Self-Representation in Imperial Villages

Beat Kumin, University of Warwick (21/10/2021)

Video URL

Calvary Is Everywhere: Capital Punishment and the Civic Imagination

Achim Timmermann, University of Michigan (28/10/2021)

Video URL

Seals and Oath-Taking: Jewish Civic Participation in the Medieval Holy Roman Empire

Andreas Lehnertz, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (04/11/2021)

Video URL

Guilds, Fraternities and Civic Life in London, 1300-1700

Vanessa Harding, Birkbeck, University of London (11/11/2021)

Video URL

Armed Citizens in Town. Control of Weapons and Armories

Martin Scheutz, University of Vienna (18/11/2021)

Video URL

How Strange Were the Strangers of Medieval Cities?

Miri Rubin, Queen Mary University of London (25/11/2021)

Video URL

Urban Governance in South Asian Cities

Sara Keller – Susanne Rau, University of Erfurt (02/12/2021)

Video URL

When “The Land of Filibe Became Egypt and Meriç Turned Into Nile”: Governance, Architectural Patronage, and Water Management of the Mid-Fifteenth-Century Plovdiv

Grigor Boykov, Austrian Academy of Sciences (09/12/2021)

Video URL

The Political Ideology of the Renaissance and Early Modern City - From Bruni to Althusius

Ferenc Horcher, University of Public Service, Budapest (16/12/2021)

Video URL

Target Group 

This course is intended for graduate students, post docs, archivists and curators of municipal document or art collections with medieval holdings specialists in urban tourism and heritage management. We also invite applications from advanced undergraduate students who have adequate prior study or engagement experience on the subject and make a compelling case in their application/statement of interest. 


At least 2 years of completed BA studies in history, art history, archaeology, medieval political thought or other relevant disciplines  

Language requirements 

The language of instruction is English; thus all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. Some of the shortlisted applicants may be contacted for a telephone interview. 

Please read the following directions carefully.
Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission:

1. Completed online SUN Application Form (see notes below)

2. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any   
Please upload your Curriculum Vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any.   

3. Statement of Purpose (max. 1000 words)   

In the Statement of Purpose, please describe how the course is relevant to your teaching, research or professional work, and in what way you expect to benefit from it. Please list relevant courses you have taken previously during your studies and/or professional experience in the field.      

Please provide a name, contact email and phone number of a person (a faculty member, job supervisor, etc.) who can be contacted by the course directors to attest to your abilities, qualifications, and academic/professional performance.  

4. Personal Statement on Financial Aid 

Those who are eligible and wish to apply for financial aid should specify their reasons in the “Personal statement on financial aid” section (Funding page of the application form). 

Optional attachments:   

You can upload further optional documents on the Qualifications page such as academic documents that you think may be relevant to support your application in the ‘Other Supporting Documents’ section. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file not exceeding the size of 2 MB. No passwords and encryption are allowed. 

Completed CEU Summer University Application Form

We strongly advise the use of Google Chrome to enable the full functionality of the form.


  • You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time.
  • If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • Right after login, please select the ”Summer University” radio button from the "Type of course" list, and leave all other fields empty.
  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
  • The maximum allowable file size for upload is 2MB per file and the acceptable file formats are PDF, JPG, and JPEG. Ensure all security features (e.g. passwords and encryption) are removed from the documents before uploading them.
  • Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.