Master in Applied and Interdisciplinary History: Usable Pasts

Higher School of Economics

Program Description

Master in Applied and Interdisciplinary History: Usable Pasts

Higher School of Economics

About the Programme

A large part of historical studies is conducted as applied research. Using and interpreting historical data enables historian to construct "usable pasts" as a tool for understanding the present and imagining possible and alternative avenues of future development. Applied history embraces methods and practices dealing with identification, preservation, interpretation, and presentation of historical artifacts, texts, structures, and landscapes. In one part of our training we focus on material objects in history and their meanings within the framework of heritage and memory studies. The other part of the training will encompass a critical approach to the politics of circulation of historically formed discourses of identity and legitimacy in present day society. The two-pronged approach to the complex problem of historical legacy and heritage will fill out the gap in professional training in history and provide a platform for creating interactive processes that link the historical object, the historian, and the public.

Built on international experience of developing similar programmes, we use methodologies of global, comparative and transnational historical research that facilitate the study of patterns connecting European, Russian, Eurasian and global history. A crucial feature of the programme is its interdisciplinary character. In our view, applied history suffers from insufficient dialogue with research in other disciplines, not limited to other branches of humanities but social and natural sciences, including economics, geography and ecology. For that reason, the programme not only solicits applicants with undergraduate degrees in history, but actively seeks to enroll applicants with degrees in social sciences, economics, law as well as the natural sciences and engineering.

The programme is centered in St. Petersburg, which is a UNESCO World site. St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas are uniquely rich in museums, monuments, cultural-natural and archaeological heritage sites that provide unique opportunities for practical training. The history of the metropolitan imperial city and its complex environment provide ample opportunities to study variegated practices of preservation of material legacy and approaches to historical memory studies including symbolic representations of its imperial and Soviet past.

Although the programme will utilize its location in Russia and will provide respective training on the basis of Russian and Eurasian history, it will not be limited to Russian and Eurasian space and will include the following subfields of area- studies: the Baltic region, the Circumpolar North and the Global South.

This innovative programme designed to correspond to the best foreign patterns of teaching applied history which includes a broad range of historical research and practices connected with applying historical knowledge to the contemporary social, political and economic activities. At the present day labor market demand for highly-skilled professionals in the field of applied and interdisciplinary history are not met in Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe. Despite the fact that the demand for these professionals is high, applied history is professionalizing more slowly in Europe than in the USA, Canada and Australia where its place is to a large extent occupied by public history which includes a broad range of historical research and activities connected with applying historical knowledge in the contemporary life. Corresponding to international standards in teaching of applied history as well as standards adopted by professional communities and international organizations (including the International Federation of Public History) this Master's programme seeks to fill this gap in professional training in history.

Aim and objectives of the program

The aim of the programme is to train highly-skilled specialists to succeed in non-academic positions that demand historical expertise or further excel in the pursuit of their academic career. The program has a practical approach, offering both traditional, research-related training methods as well as the development of practical tools pertinent to applied history. On the one hand, the programme is designed to prepare students for work in the public sphere right after graduation. On the other hand it produces graduates with a strong research background in preparation for an academic career and trains them in new historical approaches and methodologies to ensure their success when applying to PhD programmes.

The programme has the following objectives:

  1. To offer an innovative combination of fundamental and applied training in order to provide graduates with an essential knowledge of global, comparative and transnational history as well as the specific expertise and skills related to the practice of applied history.
  2. To provide the theoretical and interdisciplinary training necessary to the practice of applied history:
  • historical memory and identity policy, theories of nationalism, imperial and colonial studies and postcolonial forms of identity, history in national, colonial and postcolonial discourses;
  • environmental and technological history, history of science, history of law, economic history;
  • historical heritage, public museums and the media, archaeology and policy of historical heritage, historical urban studies.
  • To put a special emphasis on the practical use of knowledge via focusing on research work and a practical orientation of the MA thesis.
  • To train students in using modern IT and software in order to help them develop skills in applying historical data for the public sphere.
  • To introduce active learning methods – case studies, project and team work into the learning process as well as research seminars, master classes and internships which will live up to present educational standards. A part of this training is devoted to developing skills related to the policy and practices of managing cultural and historical heritage. The program aims at combining academic studies and research through organizing regular seminars and involving students in the projects currently conducted by the Center for Historical Research, HSE – Saint-Petersburg.
  • Course list

    The curriculum is divided into three interconnected spheres:

    • Historical memory and historically informed discourses of public politics and identity politics, nationalism, cultural heritage and nationalization of the past, symbolic representations of history in post-imperial and post-colonial societies, studies of collective trauma and historical justice.
    • Historical training with the main focus on historical, cultural, and natural heritage, including public museums and media space; archaeology and policy of historical heritage, environmental history, history of science, technological history, urban history, economic history, history and law.
    • Methodology of interdisciplinary history and applied historical methods including but not limited to material culture, digital humanities, oral history, database management, historical-geographic information systems and visualization methods.

    Introductory courses

    • Introduction to General History
    • Critical Analysis of Historical Sources and Information Resources

    Core general courses

    • Historical Textual Criticism
    • Theory and History of Culture
    • History of Historical Science

    Core courses of the programme

    • Historical Memory and Identity Narratives
    • Technology, Science and Environment in History
    • Historical Heritage: Policy and Practices

    Elective courses

    • History of Economics and Economic Institutions
    • Ideology and Political Imagination of Imperialism and Nationalism
    • History of Social Institutions, Movements and Communication
    • Urban History in Transnational Perspective
    • Russia in World Politics
    • Public Choice and Public Policy
    • Applied History in Area Studies: Circumpolar North and the Baltic Region
    • Applied History in Area Studies: Russia, Eurasia, BRICS
    • Optional Discipline from Another MA Programme

    Research Training and Internships

    Research Seminar

    First Year Research Paper

    Preparation and Defense of Master Thesis

    Requirements

    The programme solicits applicants with undergraduate degrees in history, other fields of humanities, social and political sciences, economics, law, natural sciences (especially geography and ecology) and engineering. Experience with working or volunteering in the public sphere or institutions that deal with problems of historical legacy and heritage might be an advantage for admission. Non-historians admitted to the program will be offered two introductory courses in history.

    Citizens and non-citizens of the Russian Federation including exchange students are welcome to apply.

    • Completed application form
    • Resume/CV
    • Letter of motivation (300-500 words)
    • Scans of diplomas and academic transcripts
    • Two letters of recommendation (at least one from someone familiar with your academic work)
    • Scan of English proficiency exam results (IELTS or TOEFL)

    Native speakers of English and students who have completed a degree exclusively in English do not need to submit a proof of their proficiency in English. All other applicants should submit test results that are no more than two years old.

    This school offers programs in:
    • English


    Last updated January 27, 2017
    Duration & Price
    This course is Campus based
    Start Date
    Start date
    Oct. 2017
    Duration
    Duration
    2 years
    Full time
    Price
    Price
    210,000 RUB
    Information
    Deadline
    July 1, 2017
    Locations
    Russia - St. Petersburg
    Start date: Oct. 2017
    Application deadline July 1, 2017
    End date Request Info
    Dates
    Oct. 2017
    Russia - St. Petersburg
    Application deadline July 1, 2017
    End date Request Info
    Price
    per year (scholarships available)