This course will use the Habsburg Empire as a model for historical research on such topics as imperialism, nationalism, and patronage of the arts and sciences from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance to the avant-garde movements ushering in the early twentieth century (fin de siècle). The Habsburg dynasty was one of the most influential dynasties in European history, producing numerous emperors and empresses within the Holy Roman Empire as well several kings and queens of Spain. Geographically, however, the Habsburg Empire is usually defined as the region governed by the Austrian branch of the Habsburg dynasty that primarily encompassed modern Austria, Hungary, Czech and Slovak republics, and several of the Balkan states of former Yugoslavia. Thus, this course will focus mostly on the Central European regions under Habsburg governance. The Habsburg Empire began in the late Middle Ages and lasted to the end of World War I.