Department of General History
General Characteristics of the Department
The department holds accreditation for all three levels of study – Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral. As part of its teaching activities, the department offers students of history, as well as other related fields, lectures and seminars in general history from ancient times until today. In research, members of the department focus on examining the important periods of the political, economic, social and cultural history of Europe, and in specific periods also on the history of other regions (Russian and Caucasian history, Byzantine history).
History of the Department
When the Faculty of Arts was established in 1921, general history was one of the faculty’s first academic research and study fields. Though the first teachers of general history were Czech, gradually new teachers were hired by the department and later became associate professors and professors at the faculty (Prof. Ondrouch). Some studied at the department and became core teachers there (Prof. Varsik). After 1948, some of the department’s teachers were forced to leave the faculty because they did not approve of the Marxist methodology which was applied to interpret history (Prof. Ondrouch).
In the early 1950s, general history was merged with Czechoslovak history into one department. In 1964, the Department of General History and Archaeology was separated from this department and the field of archaeology made several attempts to break off as an independent department. It finally succeeded in 1996. Since that year, the Department of General History has kept its current name.
In the 1950s and 1960s, several specialized fields were set up within general history: ancient history, medieval history, the history of Eastern Europe, modern history, the history of the 20th century, and the history of socialist countries. At the same time, more teachers joined the department specializing mostly in Slovak history at first, but gradually refocusing on general history (Assoc. Prof. Tkadlečková and Assoc. Prof. Písch).
The 1970s saw an exceptionally extensive strengthening of the field of history of socialist countries. The specialized Section for the History of Socialist Development was set up as a workplace affiliated with the department. Its main role was to write and publish sources containing the history of socialist countries and related study texts. This goal was achieved when the three-volume book Origin and Development of the Global Socialist System was published by a team of authors headed by Prof. Cambel.
The normalization period affected several teachers of the department. It complicated things mostly for Assoc. Prof. Herta Tkadlečková who was prohibited from publishing and her habilitation was stopped shortly before its completion. PhDr. František Višváder could no longer give lectures and was forced to take up the secluded job as a researcher and formal head of the history departments’ library.
After 1989, a significant change in staffing took place. In the general history field, several teachers became Associate Professors: Assoc. Prof. Pavol Valachovič, Assoc. Prof. Miroslav Daniš, Assoc. Prof. Vincent Múcska, and Assoc. Prof. Viliam Kratochvíl (methodology of history). At present, the department is undergoing successful development. Each year, it enrolls new post-graduate students who are becoming the new generation of general history teachers.