Humanities at HSE: One Faculty, Different Programmes, More Opportunities
The united Faculty of Humanities has been launched and recently held an open day at HSE. For those who missed the event we share the most important information about the faculty.
What educational programmes will the faculty offer in 2015?
Students are offered seven undergraduate programmes, all conducted in Russian:
- Cultural studies
- History of arts
- Fundamental and computer linguistics
- Foreign languages and intercultural communication (this will be the first enrolment in the programme)
Graduates of the programmes will be able to continue their studies in master’s programmes either in the same area, or in something different (HSE offers a total of over 100 master’s programmes, including double-degree programmes with leading international universities).
Who teaches at the Faculty of Humanities?
The Faculty includes a School of Philosophy, School of Cultural Studies, School of History, School of Philology, and a School of Foreign Languages. It’s important to say that these areas already existed within HSE, but with another status, which means that the Faculty is not being created from scratch, but is building on the foundation of our traditions, which have long helped the university to teach historians, philosophers, and philologists.
Why are humanists at HSE uniting in one faculty?
Humanities have long existed together – this tradition started in antiquity with philosophic and rhetoric schools and continued into the Middle Ages. A medieval university would have had a faculty of liberal arts or a faculty of philosophy, which taught all sciences, and its graduates could become theologians, lawyers, or doctors. Eventually natural sciences left the faculties of philosophy, but humanities stayed together – for example, at Humboldt University in Berlin there are four departments of philosophy today.
It is clear why this is happening. Of course, humanities diverge, they have specializations, but they also have many shared interests. Obviously, someone who studies ancient history should also know classical philology. Someone who studies 19th-century Germany inevitably studies German literature, history, and philosophy. A historian of arts cannot go move forward without some knowledge of general history and philosophy.
It is no secret that Russian universities have to fill in the gaps left by secondary school education, which are more evident in humanities than in natural sciences. ‘The students enrolled in our philosophy and cultural studies course were smart enough, but they were obviously lacking knowledge of history’, Alexey Rutkevich, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, said, ‘In order to remedy the situation, we introduced a year-long course of general history. This doesn’t mean that, for example, philologists today need the same course, but if a similar situation with lack of knowledge in ‘bordering’ disciplines occurs, the ‘big’ faculty will have more opportunities and resources to solve it’.
What degree will the faculty graduates get?
The graduates will receive state diplomas in their major; the organizational changes will have no effect on the qualification. For example, graduates of the programme in Philosophy will graduate as ‘philosophers’, not ‘humanists’ in general.
What features the education at the faculty?
The main advantage that is offered by the faculty is the opportunity to choose, while education remains comprehensive at the same time. Curriculums include majors and minors.
‘A student can choose a minor and study it as a second profession’, Alexey Rutkevich explained, ‘For example, if a history students is interested in philosophy, he or she can choose to minor in philosophy. Or, if you want, you can study more sociology or economics. The only condition is that the choice should be conscious and one mustn’t forget about working on the major’.
‘In addition to that, it’s always useful to know what is going on nearby. For example, you study Russian history. And philosophy students at the same time are studying a big course on the history of Russian philosophy, while philologists have a course on 18th-century Russian literature. This means you have a great chance to attend such classes. You can also write your graduate paper on the intersection of disciplines. The ‘big’ Faculty of Humanities also means a wider choice of academic supervisors’.
Research at the Faculty
An integral part of education at the faculty is research seminars, which begin from the first year of study. Of course, it is students who decide whether they are interested in working as scholars, but they can learn how serious research is conducted and participate in it as early as in their first year of study.
You can learn how to work with historical documents at the Centre for Source Studies. Those who like the history and culture of the Middle Ages might well be interested in the Laboratory of Medieval Studies. Those who are keener on the events of the recent past can go to The International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences. HSE created this research centre with the participation of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, and it is headed by renowned Russian historian Oleg Budnitskii and leading American expert in Russian history of the 20th century, Michael David-Fox, Professor at Georgetown University.
Students of philology and linguistics will have the opportunity to conduct research at the Neurolinguistics Laboratory and the Laboratory of Linguo-semiotic Studies. Future translators and teachers of foreign languages will be able to find their feet at the Language Training Centre.
The Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (IGITI) is associated with the Faculty. This is one of the largest research departments at the university, which brings together leading scholars in humanities and sociology. In addition to attracting students to research and conference participation, IGITI offers several additional open courses on the history of Western European music, history of dance and physical culture, fashion and costume, mass culture and modern art, megalopolises, and even a course on ‘terrestrial and extraterrestrial life’.
In June, faculty members from HSE’s School of Cultural Studies, the School of Philosophy, and the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities met with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and a Russian art historian to participate in a round table on the importance of gender studies in the humanities. The researchers discussed questions such as what historians, philosophers, and historians can achieve when approaching their fields of study from the standpoint of gender studies, and what the state of gender studies is in contemporary Russia and abroad.
Researchers from the Higher School of Economics have begun working with the research centre of the French Saint-Cyr Military Academy (École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr) on the moral and political issues of modern-day warfare. One part of this partnership was a conference devoted to just war theory and problems with combating terrorism. Below, Faculty of Humanities Professor Boris Kashnikov, also a participant of the conference, tells Scholar Viewpoint whether there can be justice in war and how scholars of the humanities are able to work together with the military.
Ever since she completed her dissertation on ‘The role of the Ecclesiastical Academies in Reception of Kantianism in the Russian Empire’ in 2015, Vera Pozzi, a native of the northern Italian city of Lecco, has sought an opportunity to return to Russia to take her research to the next level. When she saw HSE’s call for international fellowships, she was drawn by the internationally oriented nature of the application and the opportunity to apply for a field like ‘History of Russian Intellectual Culture’, which aligns perfectly with her current research interests. In September, Vera will be enrolled in the Faculty of Humanities, School of Philosophy for one year under a post-doc fellowship.
At the most recent Andrey Poletayev Memorial Readings held by the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (IGITI), participants discussed the relationship between the natural sciences and the social sciences. HSE Professor Elena Vishlenkova tells us why scholars in the humanities are interested in the natural sciences and what contribution they can make to this field.
From September 25 till October 5 2016, Professor Dr Joachim Küpper of the Free University of Berlin will deliver a series of lectures on ‘Humanities and Conceptualization of Time at HSE Moscow. Joachim Küpper’s travel to HSE follows the university’s decision this past summer to join a key project run by the Dahlem Humanities Center at the Free University of Berlin called ‘The Thematic Network Principles of Cultural Dynamics’.
In late May Moscow hosted a Russian-Italian research conference marking the anniversary of the birth of Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce. The conference entitled 'The Legacy of Benedetto Croce in the 21st Century' was organized by and held at the HSE's Humanities Faculty in conjunction with the Italian Cultural Institute in Moscow.
In 2016, the Higher School of Economics will be the first Russian university to become an associate member of a large project being carried out by the Freie Universität Berlin’s Dahlem Humanities Center. The project, entitled the Thematic Network Principles of Cultural Dynamics, aims to strengthen international cooperation in humanities research. Its objective is to study the factors that affect the cultural processes in the history of humanity’s development.
The Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (IGITI) held an international conference on 29-30 October 2015 on ‘Biological Concepts, Models, and Metaphors in Social and Human Sciences’. For two days, Russian, European and American researchers discussed the relations between social sciences and the humanities and various life sciences. This topic arises largely in the light of the recent boom in genetics, medicine and biology which have led academics to reconsider previous concepts of boundaries and connections between disciplines.
HSE has held its post-graduate humanities summer school 'History in the First Person: From Antiquity to Our Time'. The summer school was dedicated to texts written or recorded in the first person, as well as to various methods for analysing them. The school’s organizers and participants spoke with the HSE news service about what ego texts are, how representatives of different disciplines work with them, and how French methodology differs from Russian.
Academics from all over the world will meet on August 25th - 27th at the HSE campus in Perm for an international research seminar The Humanities in Russia and the Break of 1917: the Existential Dimension.30 researchers from Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, the USA, Uzbekistan and Ukraine will be taking part.