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Why study History at the Jagiellonian University?

 

 


 

 

History can be understood both as past events and as reflection on past events; to refer to the words of Herodotus, who is sometimes called the father of this discipline, history is constantly presenting and verifying the results of studies on man’s past. History does not exist without dates, events and figures, but historical studies teach us something more: looking critically at the world around us, the ability to analyse various types of sources, informed reading of cultural texts and, most importantly, humility, which we learn when we look at the traces left behind by those who are long gone, sometimes culturally very distant from us, but at the same time driven by the same desires and worries as the contemporary man. History enables us to say where we came from, who we are, where the origins of our society lie and how to understand others. Historical studies teach us to ask questions, including perhaps the most important, although seemingly trivial, one: “How do we know this?” They allow their students to come as close as possible to the strange reality of the past, but at the same time they are the domain of people living here and now; of those who, in the words of the Belgian medievalist Henri Pirenne, “love life and know how to observe it”.

Studying history in Kraków, at the oldest university in Poland, means an almost complete immersion in the subject of studies; it means coming into daily contact with places steeped in the memory of past events, people and ideas; it also means living in the centre of culture, art and entertainment. Receiving education in this huge open-air museum, within the walls of our Alma Mater, offers, to students of history in particular, excellent opportunities to develop their interests. The Jagiellonian University’s Institute of History is formed not only by the inspiring surroundings and grand buildings, but most importantly by the wonderful and passionate people, who reverently uphold old traditions while being open to “newness”. The ceremony of awarding the title of Master of Arts, which has its roots in the Middle Ages, and traditional classes on palaeography and Latin blend with the dynamic activity of the Historical Club and new trends in historical studies, while traditional exams coexist with modern online courses.

 

dr Bartosz Jan Kołoczek, Assistant Professor in the Institute of History

 

 

 

fot. Józef Górski

 

 

As faculty members, we are primarily concerned with an individualised approach to our students. We want them to have the widest possible range of opportunities to follow their passions. We are, therefore, open to various forms of working with them. Apart from classic forms of classes (lectures, conversation and laboratory classes; practical teacher, archival and anthropological training) we also offer many trips in Poland and abroad, organised by individual tutors as part of seminars (apart from Poland, our students regularly visit Germany, Italy, Hungary and Ukraine). There are also epigraphic projects in Poland and Ukraine, voluntary work at a summer school in Ukraine, meetings with witnesses to history (e.g. as part of oral history projects), as well as collaborations with cultural and scientific institutions in Kraków and the Małopolska region (most importantly Oświęcim). Our students have taught field classes for secondary school pupils in Małopolska and Podkarpacie regions. They also learn to present the results of their studies in written and oral form, since it is essential to know how to address various audiences.

The History Club, which is probably one of the most active student organisations at our University, organises conferences and brings together the Institute’s community at the famous annual Historian’s Ball and Christmas parties. We are one large community which shares experiences, spreads its passion and tries to show that history is not the dead past but, more than anything, it helps to understand processes which “rule the world” today.

Our main emphasis is on combining the best theoretical education with practical application. We do our best to ensure that our graduates are as competitive as possible and learn how to navigate the job market with the help of comprehensive professional preparation.

dr hab. Tomasz Pudłocki, prof. UJ, Institute of History