History of the Teaching of History
Organization of the teaching of history at the University of Tartu was established by the Statutes of Academia Dorpatensis (1632). Primary focus of attention was on the teaching of general history, i.e. universal world history (universalis mundi historia). Alongside it, the so called particular history (historia particularis) was also dealt with.
The first University of Tartu professor of (general) history Friedrich Menius laid down a basis for research on Livonian history. In 1689, the University of Tartu Statutes shifted the emphasis of the teaching of history towards Swedish history. Treatises on Annals of Tacitus by Professor of history Carl Schulten could be considered as the beginning of a contemporary history seminar.
The year 1803 may be regarded as the beginning of the department of history when in the re-opened University of Tartu (Der Kaiserliche Universität zu Dorpat 1802) professorships of general history, statistics and geography and Russian history, statistics and geography, in particular, those of Estonia, Livonia and Courland as well as Finland (i.e. concerning regional history) were established. In 1820, history was separated so that statistics and geography made up an independent professorship. The tasks of professorship of history included mainly the teaching of general history since the Chairs for regional history were practically liquidated. Only in 1853 an independent professorship of Russian history was reinstated. In 1880, a parallel professorship for general history was set up, as a result of which mediaeval history and modern history began to be taught by separate professorships. In the first half of the 19th century, archaeology was taught by a professor of classical philology, and ethnography by a professor of geography and statistics. In the world of science, among the best recognized professors of general history was Professor of the Middle Ages Richard Hausmann (1870-1897) and of Professor modern history Jevgeni Tarle (1913-1918), Professors of Russian history Johan Philipp Gustav Ewers(18101826), Carl Schirren (1856-1869), Alexander Brückner (1872-1891) and Jevgeni Šmurlo (1891-1903).
To a certain extent, Baltic history was dealt with by general historians, primarily by R.Hausmann who, when in Tartu as a former student of the Göttingen medievalist G. Waitz, founded the school of Baltic-German historians, the so called Waitz-Hausmann School. From among professors of Russian history only Professor C. Schirren dealt with the history of the Baltic countries, and following the example of well-known L. von Ranke, he also introduced history seminars into the teaching of history. Extensive research and teaching of the history of Estonia and its neighbouring countries became possible only when the national university of the Republic of Estonia was established.
By its organization, the present-day Institute of History and Archaeology is considerably based on the principles and trends, established in the University of Tartu of the Republic of Estonia. The University of Tartu Faculty of Philosophy, starting its activity in 1919, offered history in the form of two main subjects – general history and, introduced first into the University curriculum, history of Estonia and Nordic Countries (later, history of Estonia and neighbouring countries). In accordance with the 1925 University Statutes, general history was entitled to one professorship and two docentships, and the history of Estonia and Nordic Countries to one professorship and docentship. In addition to ordinary lecturers, instruction was carried out by part-time lecturers and private docents. The 1938 University Statutes instituted two professorships in general history – one for mediaeval history and another for modern history and, similarly, two professorships in the history of Estonia and Neighbouring Countries - one for the earlier and another for modern history. Before 1940, all the professors could not be appointed.
General History professorship was held by H. Oldekop (acting professor 1919- 1924), part-time based Finnish professor A.R. Cederberg (1924- 1928) and P.Tarvel (Treiberg). (acting professor 1930- 1936 and professor 1936 - 1941).
History of Estonia and Nordic Countries professorship was held by A.R. Cederberg (1919- 1928) and H.Kruus (acting professor since 1932, full professor 1934 - 1941).
In the Faculty of Philosophy no division into departments or institutes took place at that time, so a student could take up a number of subjects, selected from about 20 disciplines among which, due to the implementation of subject-based system, there was no strict demarcation line. All the subjects could be studied to the scope of lower, intermediate and advanced levels. All in all, four subjects were mandatory. A student wishing to graduate history study with an MA degree was entitled to choose general history or history of Estonia and Nordic Countries up to the advanced level. Both could be chosen as main subjects, also. An ordinary graduate could choose the subjects to the intermediate level. In addition to major subject(s), a number of minor subjects were to be chosen from ethnography, archaeology, art history, philosophy, psychology or some subject of philology.
Besides the history of Estonia and Nordic Countries, other subjects of history first taught in the University of Tartu of the Republic of Estonia included archaeology, ethnography and art history.
In 1920 in the area of archaeology, archaeology professorship of history of Estonia and Nordic Countries was established, the Kabinet of Archaeology was set up, and in 1921 the Museum of Archaeology was added.
Professors of archaeology included the Finnish professor A.M. Tallgren (1920- 1923), the Swedish professor B. Nerman (1923 - 1925) and H. Moora (since 1930 as acting professor, since 1938 full professor of archaeology).
The Chair of Art History started work in 1921, the first full professor was the Swedish professor T.H. Kjellin (1921- 1924) who set up the Kabinet of Art History at the University in 1922. In 1933- 1940, the Swedish professor S. Karling and in 1942 – 1944, A. Tuulse were appointed full professors.
For the first time in ethnography, the setting up of docentship was settled. In 1924 - 1928 the post was held by the Director of the Estonian Folk Museum, the Finnish historian I. Manninen. After his departure the vacant docentship was turned to professorship ordinary in 1938 and in 1939-1944 it was held by G. Ränk.
Archival Studies were taught in the Faculty of Philosophy since 1930 by part-time instructors.
In 1932, on the initiative of Head of the Estonian Central Archives O. Liiv (1936 - 1941 also (private) docent at Tartu University), the lower level curriculum for Archival Studies was approved. There was not enough time to establish a regular Chair of Archival Studies.
The Academic Society of History (1920 - 1940) became the centre for historical research and publishing at the University, issuing the “Historical Journal” (1922 - 1940) four times a year.
The Learned Estonian Society (1838 - 1950) became the most important scientific institution for archaeologists, ethnographers and art historians with its abundant series of proceedings.
During the first year of the Soviet occupation 1940- 1941, professor-centred instruction began to be reorganized into Soviet-type collectives of lecturers – chairs, followed by revision of curricula, political selection and repression of lecturers, interrupted by the war.
In the years of the German occupation, academic study in 1942- 1944 was carried on basically in accordance with study regulations of the Republic of Estonia, however, observing “special wartime curricula”. Lecturers were now subjected to the opposite repressive policy.
The Soviet occupational regime was restored in the autumn 1944 and in the late autumn 1944 Tartu State University (TSU) resumed study in accordance with the structure of the 1940/41 academic year.
Now in the Faculty of History and Philology an independent Department of History was formed, made up of students on the basis of individual competition exams (according to state-established full-time student places and, beginning with April 1945, extramural student places) as well as lecturers who were divided between the Chairs. Study was transferred from freely chosen subject-system to the course-system with unified all-union curricula (5 courses or academic years for full-time students and 6 courses for extramural students). For decades the main study trend was to prepare teachers of history.
During the first years of the occupation the Department of History worked with 5 Chairs:
Chair of History of the USSR (heads: 1944-45 Prof. P. Tarvel, 1945-50 Docent R. Kleis).
Chair of General History (heads: 1944-45 Prof. P. Tarvel, 1945-50 Docent J. Madisson).
Chair of Estonian History (heads: 1944-46 Prof. H. Kruus, 1946-49 Docent A. Vassar).
Chair of Archaeology (head: 1944-50 Prof. H. Moora)
Chair of Art History (head: 1944-50 Prof. V. Vaga).
In connection with founding the Academy of Sciences of the Estonian SSR, the Institute of History was also formed in 1946-1947, in Tartu, and many of its employees came from the TSU Chairs of history, from among both lecturers and graduates. At the beginning, majority of them had to work part-time also at the University. In the 1950s, in the course of intense anti-nationalist campaign after the ECP 8th Plenary Session both individual scientists and whole institutions were repressed. In 1951- 1952, the Institute of History was transferred to Tallinn, away from the nationalist chamber of Tartu. Contacts between historians of the Institute of History and the TSU Department of History were practically broken.
In order to better subordinate lecturers to the supervision and centralized management of party and Soviet organs, the number of Chairs was cut back.
In 1949, the Chair of Estonian History and in 1950, the Chair of Archaeology got incorporated into the Chair of History of the USSR. In 1950, the Chair of Art History was liquidated and its lecturers were first appointed to the Chair of West-European Literature, in 1955 – to the Chair of History of the USSR. In the period of 1950- 1989, there were only two Chairs in the Department of History. Long-time professors were prof. J. Konks, prof. H. Ligi, prof. S. Vahtre, prof. H. Piirimäe, docent J. Madisson.
As a result of major reorganization in the first half of the 1990s, the Department of History excelled by its seven Chairs: archaeology, archival studies, Estonian history, ethnology, art history, contemporary history and general history.
In 2007, in the course of the structure reform at the University of Tartu, the Institute of History and Archaeology was established on the basis of the Department of History. Ethnologists joined the Institute of Culture Research and Arts of the Faculty of Philosophy, making up an independent section there. As of 1 March 2013, based on the former Chairs, the following departments were set up: department of archaeology, department of archival studies, department of Estonian history, department of art history, department of contemporary history, department of general history.
H. Ligi S. Vahtre H. Piirimäe