Department of General History
The Department of General History teaches world history with the emphasis on European history since ancient times up to WW I.
The teaching of general history is constituted by courses of ancient, mediaeval and modern histories in the Bachelor’s study base module. The field module of general history coincides with speciality module of Estonian history. The Bachelor’s study speciality module of general history offers special courses treating of all the periods of history, in addition lecture courses on histories of various states. The Master’s study and Doctoral study take place in cooperation with the departments of Estonian and contemporary histories as the joint speciality of history.
The teaching of general history
History has been taught at the University of Tartu since its foundation in 1632. The Statutes of the Swedish-period University prescribed the teaching of both universal world history (universalis mundi historia) and local history (historia particularior). Professor Friedrich Menius provided a basis for academic research on Livonian history. Treatises of Annals of Tacitus by Professor Carl Schulten could be regarded as the beginning of seminars on history.
The Chair of General History was set up at the University of Tartu in 1803. In the Imperatorial Tartu University, professorships of general history were held by Georg Friedrich Pöschmann (up to 1812), Friedrich Karl Hermann Kruse (1828-1863), Richard Hausmann (1870-1897) and Anton Jassinski (1896-1911).
At the University of Tartu of the Republic of Estonia the work was continued by Hans Oldekop (professor extraordinary 1919-1924), Arno Rafael Cederberg (Chair holder 1924-1928) and Peeter Treiberg (professor extraordinary 1930-1936, full professor 1936-1940).
The Chair of General (World) History, founded in 1940 (since 1945 the Chair of General History), was headed in 1940-1941 and 1944-1945 by Peeter Tarvel (during the German occupation by Evald Blumfeldt as adjunct professor), in 1945-1950 by Julius Madisson, in 1950-1963 by Liidia Roots, in 1963-1974 by Jaan Konks and in 1975-1990 by Herbert Ligi.
In 1991, the Chair of General History was restored. Hereafter it was headed by Helmut Piirimäe (1991-1996), Jüri Kivimäe (1996-1999) and Mati Laur (since 1999, as professor from 2003). In 2009 two professorships were instituted on the speciality of general history: professorship for mediaeval history (Prof. Anti Selart) and professorship for contemporary history (Prof. Mati Laur). In 2013, the Chair of General History was rearranged as the Department of General History of the Institute of History and Archaeology.