In 2015, the international MA in English will launch, called Applied and Interdisciplinary History 'Usable Pasts'. The programme is headed by Associate Professor at the School of History, Julia Lajus, who told us about it.
— How is this programme different from other history MAs?
— This is the first MA programme on our campus, and the first English-language programme HSE has ever offered.
Our programme is distinguished by its applied nature, as it will give not only academic but also practical knowledge, which is in ever more demand in the post-industrial society: the ability to analyze the connections between current and past events, and to write analytical notes, work with the media and tourist firms, and more.
The programme’s international nature is a significant advantage: we are planning to attract not only international students, but also tutors from other countries, and also to offer internships for students in European, and possibly U.S. universities, which are key to the programme's success.
Applied (or as it is called in the U.S. – public) history is a discipline that has been somewhat neglected in our country, and was mainly considered an ancillary product of academic historical research and education. We are trying to change this, which is why we have built a study course based on the finest examples of applied history as taught in the world's leading universities.
As an interdisciplinary course, a significant amount of attention is given to technological and environmental history – the history of the interaction between man and nature, history of law, economic history, and the dialogue with social sciences, which is vital to any examination of the creation and functioning of historical memory.
— What special features are there in how this course is taught? What role does academic research play?
— It is important to stress that a significant focus will be placed on the history of Russia and St. Petersburg – a city that is included in the UNESCO cultural heritage site list, which, with its unique and diverse monuments and listed buildings in the city outskirts offers unparalleled opportunities for practical studies in applied history. This will undoubtedly interest international students.
We are broadly positioning the programme among the other areas of research in transnational history. After all, it is impossible to study history without considering the movement of different peoples, changing borders, and economic and cultural ties, not to mention the extent to which the history of these lands is woven into the broader history of the Baltic. But the history of the Baltic region will just be one of three 'geographical' tracks in the programme. The other two are focused on the history and heritage of the polar north, including the arctic region, and the global south.
In addition to writing an MA dissertation, MA students will complete periods of work experience in museums, natural parks, tourist firms and so on. We are currently actively working to conclude partnership agreements on these arrangements.
— What kind of students do you expect to attract? Will the programme be open to students whose undergraduate degree is not in history?
— Ideally, we would like to see graduates of Russian and international BA courses enroll, no knowledge of the Russian language is required, but a certain interest in Russian culture would help. However, we hope that, longer term, we will attract students who have a clear interest in applied history. This kind of programme is essentially quite a new development in Europe (the United States has a longer tradition of teaching public history), it is a fast-developing area, which means that the demand is there and that there will be demand for our course.
As for fundamental education, one of the advantages of our programme is that we plan to accept BA students from a variety of different educational disciplines, who are fluent in English. We welcome applications from motivated BA graduates from the humanities, social sciences, economics or management, and also those who studied geography, ecology, economics, and engineering sciences at undergraduate level. Those students will be offered courses in history.
‘We Have Always Loved You, Sakhalin’: Research Expedition Studies Sociocultural Anthropology of Miners' Working Life in the USSR
Researchers from the School of Foreign Languages and the Group for Historical Research, together with students of the History programme at the HSE University campus in Perm, have come back from an expedition to Sakhalin Island, where they studied Soviet industrial culture and the working life of miners. The expedition participants shared their impressions of their ‘immersion into the past’ and the extraordinary landscapes of the island with the HSE News Service.
Throughout July, students of the HSE International Summer University are studying Russian History and Behavioural Economics. The courses are taking place in an online format—something that seemed unthinkable for a summer programme before the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent years have shown that online learning is a unique opportunity for students from all over the world to study with leading HSE University professors from the comfort of their own homes.
The first major Soviet publisher of children's literature, Raduga, was established a century ago and featured the debuts of many authors who would later go on to become famous, as well as illustrations by prominent artists. Based on a research paper by Marina Sazonenko, graduate of the HSE Doctoral School of Art and Design, IQ.HSE examines how — and why — the illustrations in Soviet periodicals for children changed over time.
This December, HSE University’s Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities hosted Professor Juliane Fürst, from Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History, who gave a lecture about Soviet hippies and the Soviet Flower Power. In an interview with HSE News Service, Professor Fürst spoke about her interest in Soviet subcultures and her research plans.
On September 30, Stephen Riegg, Assistant Professor of History of the Texas A&M University, presented his book Russia’s Entangled Embrace: The Tsarist Empire and the Armenians, 1801-1914 at the first seminar of this year’s Boundaries of History series.We spoke with Professor Alexander Semyonov, the seminar chair and the Director of the HSE Centre for Historical Research, about the goals of the seminar and to Stephen Riegg about his research.
The English-language course ‘Europe and the World, ca. 1500 to 1914’ has launched on Coursera. Its author, Andrey Iserov, Deputy Dean for International Affairs at the HSE Faculty of Humanities, examines a historical span of four centuries during which European states reached the peak of their economic, military, and political power. Students of the course will learn how the independence of Hispanic America by the mid-1820s influenced China, what caused the religious schism in Western Christianity in the 16th century, and how European colonial policy developed.
This summer, the HSE Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences was reorganized to become the HSE Institute for Advanced Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies. Oleg Budnitskii, Doctor of Historical Sciences, head of the Centre and director of the Institute, talked to the HSE News Service about the new division.
The collective volume Place and Nature: Essays in Russian Environmental History, co-edited by David Moon, Nicholas B. Breyfogle, and HSE researcher Alexandra Bekasova, was recently presented at a seminar of the Laboratory for the Environmental and Technological History of the Centre for Historical Research at HSE – St. Petersburg. The book is one of the fruits of a networking project carried out in 2013-2016 with active participation of HSE researchers.
On March 28-31, 2021, the HSE International Laboratory ‘Russia’s Regions in Historical Perspective’ held an international conference ‘The Russian Far East: Regional and Transnational Perspectives (19th -21st cent.)’. The event was jointly organized by the Laboratory with the German Historical Institute Moscow, Indiana University Bloomington (USA), and the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East FEB RAS (Vladivostok).
The recently launched Master's Programme in Medieval Studies is the only Master’s degree in Russia fully dedicated to medieval studies. HSE News Service spoke with Juan Sota, a second-year student of the programme, about its unique features, interacting with professors, and his research interests and aspirations.