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Subject areas

Medieval History

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Tanja Skambraks

In research and teaching, our work spans the vast period from c. 500 to 1500, primarily covering the history of Latin European Christianity as well as the history of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. This study illuminates a world that, in many respects, has lain recognizable foundations for modern European culture, though it also appears fundamentally distinct and even strange from a modern perspective. Research in medieval history entails working to understand premodern cultures that are not immediately accessible to modern people, thus requiring a particular variety of approaches. Through careful study of the medieval past, we also have the potential to improve our understanding of the present.

Medieval history has been an integral part of the Institute for History in Graz since 1891. From its beginnings, our attention has focused on comprehensive training for students and support for innovative research. In teaching, we offer students the experience of working hands-on with a variety of primary sources. Our research, meanwhile, focuses in particular on institutional history, women's and gender history, comparative religious and monastic history, cultural contacts between Europe and Asia, and the national and regional history of the Danube-Alps-Adriatic region. Traditional strengths of the department also include the fields of material culture and historical auxiliary sciences, which represent the historian's tools of the trade and enable an indispensable critical assessment of written and material sources from premodern and modern eras alike. This broad group of skills and subjects may be understood as individual disciplines with their own methods and with broad applicability across periods. They include: paleography, diplomatics, epigraphy, material culture and objects, chronology, heraldry, sigillography, numismatics, genealogy, codicology and historical geography. Our teaching staff at Graz also take a great interest in pedagogical approaches to medieval history in multiple contexts, from primary school classrooms to university seminars to continuing education courses. Further information on medieval research and teaching in Graz can be found on the homepage of the Department of Medieval History. homepage of the Department of Medieval History.

Since Ancient History and Classical Antiquities are organised independently and do not belong directly to the Institute of History, the Middle Ages represent the oldest epoch taught at the institute.

History of the Early Modern Period

Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Gabriele Haug-Moritz

In research and teaching, the section primarily focuses on the history of the early modern political culture of Europe, with special attention to legal, media and communication history aspects, as well as to the field of knowledge cultures of the 18th century and historical museology. Ao. Univ. Prof. Mag. Dr. phil. Marlies Raffler, the only historian at our university whose habilitation dealt with the field of historical museology, teaches in this section. For more than two decades, the section has been organising and administering the certified subject focus “Culture Management – Applied Cultural Studies”, which allows students of all disciplines in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities to acquire a practical additional qualification. The Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda & Security Studies, headed by Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Siegfried Beer, garners not only scientific but also great public attention. Further information on research and teaching of the History of the Early Modern Period can be found on the section's homepage.

Contemporary History

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christiane Berth

The Chair of Contemporary History with Special Consideration of Non-European Countries and Cultures, established in Graz in 1984, is devoted to researching and teaching the history of the 20th century including the pre- and post-history from primarily social and cultural-scientific perspectives. It emphasises a global perspective without neglecting the questions that arise from the history of the region. A further subject focus is on gender history, embedded into regional, national, and international networks. Further information can be found on the section's homepage

European contemporary history with a focus on conflict and migration research

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Barbara Stelzl-Marx

The teaching and research projects on European contemporary history with a focus on conflict and migration research which are designed and carried out at the University of Graz drive forward advances in knowledge in this context through innovative questions. This field of work is characterised, amongst other things, by international and interdisciplinary networking, as well as by socio-politically relevant issues. The partnership agreement concluded in August 2018 between the University of Graz and the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft also provides opportunities for close cooperation in research, teaching and dissemination. For example, students can complete internships at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on Consequences of War (BIK) or gain initial experience in the academic field.
For more information, see https://geschichte.uni-graz.at/de/zeitgeschichte/ and www.bik.ac.at.

History of Austria and Central Europe in the 19th Century


The History of Austria and Central Europe section at the Graz Institute of History sees itself as a historical longitudinal research subject. Research and teaching here focus on the investigation of historical phenomena in the entire region of Central Europe and in individual sub-regions, primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries. Central Europe is examined not only from a structural-historical perspective, but considerably more as a cultural-historical category (M. Csàky). Thus, the multi-ethnic, multi-religious, pluricultural and multilingual Habsburg realm during the saddle period of the modern era, the imperial character of Central Europe and the resulting asymmetrical (power) relationships between different nations, ethnic groups and their respective cultures form the starting point for theoretically and methodologically productive analyses of the (late) Habsburg monarchy as well as its successor states after 1918.

From this point of view, the research carried out here deals with cultural symbols, normative discourses, social institutions, and groups as well as with individual historical actors. The focus is on questions of political culture, affiliations, concepts of identity/alterity, relationships of remembrance, gender, materiality, knowledge transfer processes or broad social movements.

Southeastern European History and Anthropology

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heike Karge

Southeastern European History and Anthropology at the University of Graz is the only scientific institution in Austria that focuses on the history and anthropology of Southeastern Europe in research and teaching. This orientation makes sense for two reasons: First, the University of Graz has had a significant impact on Southeastern Europe due to its geographical location both in the past and present. This was also one of the arguments that led to the founding of the Chair of Southeast European History in 1970 – in addition to the Graz Institute of Slavic Studies, which has strong traditions in Balkan studies. Secondly, the university’s core focus on “Southeastern Europe” means that we have a duty to go beyond the immediate academic field: Establishing contacts and networks, organising scholarships for students from Southeastern Europe and designing and supporting research projects. Further information on research and teaching of Southeastern European History and Anthropology can be found on the section's homepage.

History Didactics

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Heuer

As the discipline of historical learning and teaching, history didactics is involved in the manifold cultural fields connected to the imparting and the reception of history(ies). Its aims are the generation of disciplinary knowledge orders to reflect and analyse in a domain-specific way the divers and complex processes of making historical meaning and historical understanding. Other objectives are to observe and capture these empirically as well as to guide and develop them based on competence-oriented standards.

In doing so, the department of history didactics is not solely responsible for the professional development in the context of history teacher education, but also encompasses the formal and informal historical learning and teaching happening in a society.

As a discipline, history didactics makes its disciplinary knowledge systems available in a discursive manner within its own scientific community and neighbouring fields, as well as to the actors within the associated spheres of study, as possible knowledge for orientation. Thus, the discipline of history didactics represents an important reference for professionals working in divers spheres of activity within society.

The department of history didactics at the University of Graz regards itself as an interconnected system between empiricism, theory, and pragmatics of historical and political education. Based on theoretical concepts, empirical modelling and pragmatic suggestions, teaching and research projects shall be conceived and realised in order to analyse and further develop the processes of impartment and reception of history(ies) in divers societal spheres of activity. Whilst at the same time promoting the advancement of knowledge within the disciplines of history and political didactics through innovative research questions.
Further information on History Didactics can be found on the section's homepage.

Digital History and Historical Information Science

Digital History and Historical Information Science (HFI - Historische Fachinformatik) as the science of formally processing of messages from the past and information about the past. The Digital History and Historical Information Science section primarily focuses on documenting, editing and analysing (written) cultural heritage. Further research addresses the theoretical and methodological foundations of the subject area as well as digital regional documentation and the creation of virtual communities. On a data-related technological level, efforts primarily focus on database-oriented processing of the non-relational world, complex information systems, applications of X technologies and software developments.

Digital History and Historical Information Science is a possible subject for theses in the bachelor's and master's degree programmes History and in the Doctoral Programme of Philosophy. The specially developed module “Angewandte Informatik” (Applied Computer Science) for applied cultural studies (cultural management) can also be completed as an elective module in ​​”Digital Humanities”. HFI has been in charge of the Joint Degree Master's Programme EuroMACHS since 2012 (http://euromachs.uni-graz.at).

Cultural and Gender History

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. phil. Heidrun Zettelbauer

In the working area ”Cultural and Gender History” we practice history as a “cultural science”, study cultural dimensions of society and social relations in the past and reflect on the historicity of present times. We therefore focus on processes of constituting cultural meanings, on fields of tension between normative sociocultural orders, societal institutions, collective or individual fe*male actors and their specific perceptions.

Research and teaching in the working area position within the context of postmodern science critique, which mentions the plurality of human existence, of knowledge, as well as the diversity of cultural orientations. In our projects we consider research as a culturally and historically situated practice and generally seek to include analysis of the institutional frames in which (historical) knowledge is generated.  

Within cultural theory, gender studies are currently one of the most innovative fields of research and studying gender in its historical dimensions characterizes the central focus of the working area. Analyzing gendered (power) relations in different epochs and different (sociocultural) spaces, we understand gender history as prototypical cultural science. Particularly, we work on gender history in a longitudinal perspective as well as in inter- and transdisciplinary contexts. We examine forms of gender oppression, (historical) logics of representing gender, body and sexuality, gendered processes of inclusion and exclusion as well as interactions of gender with other social categories of difference (intersectionality).

Current research within the working area deals first, with gender and violence in global war societies by taking the First World War as an example, second on body and sexuality in a gender history perspective and third, with gendered auto/biographical narratives in nationalistic contexts. These research foci are linked to (third-party funded) projects, workshops, conferences, scientific networks or publications.

For more information, see Cultural- and Genderhistory

Economic and Social History

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.phil. Walter Iber

The General Economic and Social History section, as a longitudinal subject, primarily focuses on the broad subject area of ​​human action in its respective political, social, economic and cultural contexts, both in terms of its historical meaning and of its current relevance. In research and teaching, the subject matter temporally and spatially encompasses the time from the late Middle Ages to the present, with particular emphasis on local, regional (Central) European, Atlantic and transatlantic communities (especially Latin America) as well as their networking in various areas. Regarding the thematic focus, the section addresses questions concerning markets, trade, mining, transport and technology; merchant networks between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean; the transfer of goods, culture and technology; and credit and money supply. These topics are particularly scrutinised against the background of a cultural-scientific approach.

Head of Institute

Univ.-Prof. Dr.

Christiane Berth

Institut für Geschichte

Phone:+43 316 380 - 2621

Deputy Head of Institute

Ao.Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.phil.

Nikolaus Reisinger

Institut für Geschichte

Phone:+43 316 380 - 2246

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