Tobacco as Cultural Signifier: A Cultural History of Masculinity and Nationality in Habsburg Hungary


  • Alexander Maxwell Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand



Reform Era, Tobacco, Nationalism, Social History, Austria-Hungary


Since tobacco smoking acquired important patriotic symbolism in nineteenth century, the history of tobacco sheds light on Hungarian nationalism. Hungarian tobacco growers found the Austrian tobacco tariff policy harmful to their interests, particularly when war disrupted the supply of American tobacco in potential export markets. Pushing for a different tariff, Hungarian patriots turned smoking into a marker of Hungarian patriotism. Tobacco symbolism was prominent during Hungary’s 1848 Revolution, not least because tobacco acquired revolutionary symbolism in Italy and Germany as well. The culture of patriotic tobacco corresponded to revolutionary national ideas in that it mostly transcended class barriers but excluded women.

Author Biography

Alexander Maxwell, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Alexander Maxwell teaches history at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, where he also directs the Antipodean East European Study Group. He studied physics and history for his Bachelor’s degree (University of California, Davis), completed MA degrees in History (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Nationalism Studies (Central European University, Budapest) before completing his Ph.D. in history (University of Wisconsin, Madison). He is the author of Choosing Slovakia: Slavic Hungary, the Czechoslovak Language, and Accidental Nationalism, has translated Jan Kollár’s Panslav tract Reciprocity Between the Tribes and Dialects of the Slavic Nation, and edited the volumes The East-West Discourse, Symbolic Geography and its Consequences and The Comparative Approach to National Movements: Miroslav Hroch and Nationalism Studies. He is presently working on Patriots Against Fashion, a history of nationalism and clothing.






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