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Regular version of the site

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.

Click on the link below to download the programme booklet and presentation:

 Usable Pasts Programme Booklet (PDF, 2.53 Mb)

 Usable Pasts Programme Presentation 2016 (HSE Saint-Petersburg) (PDF, 2.01 Mb)