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.
Nikolai Pavlenko, a shadow entrepreneur and creator of a successful business in Stalin’s USSR, was executed by firing squad in 1955. Running a successful commercial enterprise right under the dictator’s nose in a strictly planned economy was a striking but not so uncommon case in the Soviet Union at the time, according to HSE professor Oleg Khlevniuk who made a number of unexpected findings having studied newly accessible archival documents. Below, IQ.HSE offers a summary of what his study reveals.
Mental health disorders are among the leading worldwide causes of disease and long-term disability. This issue has a long and painful history of gradual de-stigmatization of patients, coinciding with humanization of therapeutic approaches. What are the current trends in Russia regarding this issue and in what ways is it similar to and different from Western countries? IQ.HSE provides an overview of this problem based on research carried out by Svetlana Kolpakova.
Medieval horror, vampires, sorcerers, mysterious monks and the rising dead, alongside real historical figures and stories about the Russian Civil War wrapped in the aura of mysticism – this is perhaps the shortest formula for Daurian Gothic. Alexei Mikhalev, Doctor of Political Science, discusses this phenomenon and its evolution.
The International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences at HSE University held a Graduate Student Seminar in Soviet History together with Sciences Po (France) on June 17 – 18, 2019. HSE News Service spoke with participants and instructors of the seminar, which examinedthe impact of WWII on the Soviet Union and surrounding regions, as well as aspects of the Soviet system from Stalin up to the 1980s.
On June 24-25, HSE University held the international academic conference, ‘The 1990s: A Social History of Russia’ organized by International Center for the History and Sociology of World World War II and its Consequences, the Boris Yeltsin Center, the Egor Gaider Foundation, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. HSE News Service spoke with Roberto Rabbia, one of the international participants, about how he became interested in Soviet history, why he reads Soviet newspapers, and what he has learned from his research.
Martin Beisswenger has been a professor in HSE’s School of History since 2013. Recently, HSE News Service sat down with him to learn about his impressions of Moscow, his research projects, the course he is currently teaching and more.
Almost 40 teams took part in the ‘Through the pages of Basmania’ quest, organized by the Higher School of Economics as part of an annual citywide event, Library Night. Event participants also staged passages from Romeo and Juliet and attended lectures about theatre at HSE library.
Today, we have moved from the political concept of panem et circenses (bread and circuses) to keep the masses happy to the dangers of culture driven by spectacle and politics driven by algorithms. Post-war theoreticians of the crowd had personal experience of fascism, and today contemporary artists are attempting to address similar problems. During the XX April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, scheduled this year for April 9-12 at the Higher School of Economics, Sarah Wilson, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, will explore some of these issues in her presentation 'Culture and Emigration, Crowds and Power.'
Legally, the 1917 revolution solved the gender issue in the Russian academic community. The doors to the profession opened for women, but a ‘glass ceiling’ remained. Ekaterina Streltsova and Evgenia Dolgova studied who it affected and why. This study is the first to present a socio-demographic analysis of the female academic community in Moscow and Leningrad during the early Soviet era.
Dr Anna Whittington is currently a Research Fellow at The International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences through the end of August 2019. She recently spoke with the HSE News Service about her work on changes in Soviet-era language policy, her thoughts on life in Moscow and how the city has changed, and much more.