Area of Concentration: History

Learning Objectives

Using original documents and later interpretations, students can reconstruct, contextualise and discuss historical events and developments.

Students can explain current events and developments as the outcome of historical processes and, having grasped their causal and interpretive complexity, realistically gauge the consequences of ongoing transformations.

Whoever wants to understand the present and to shape the future must first of all come to terms with the past. The History concentration provides insights into the most important forces that have formed our era, enabling them to be understood as the outcome of historical processes. It focuses on topics such as capitalism and consumption, nationalism and populism, migration, the metropolis, colonialism and globalisation, revolutions and innovation.
As we investigate topics from the past that are significant for us today, we do what each generation must undertake anew for itself: we consciously accept our heritage, engage with it critically, and, in so doing, to some extent rewrite the past in our own image. In asking questions of history, we consider how people in earlier eras viewed their past, experienced their present and made plans for their future, what interests and ideologies were involved, and what power relations resulted.

Seminars at the Bachelor level provide an introduction to our major topics, drawing on a rich array of source material that includes a variety of texts, sound recordings, film and photography. They combine analysis of original documents with the study of important research, so that, through these examples, students can grasp the causal and interpretive complexity of historical processes. Some courses also extend students’ cultural competence by fostering their ability to understand the values and institutions of other cultures.

At the Master level, students can choose from a broad range of advanced courses, in which historical topics of great significance for our lives as citizens and professionals are analysed, and public debates with a historical dimension are scrutinised critically. Students should be motivated to work through historical material independently, to make their own comparisons between past and present, and to practise the art of objective discussion.


Caspar Hirschi

Prof. Dr.

Professor of History

Büro 52-7200
Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8
9000 St. Gallen

Florian Schui

Prof. Dr.

Senior Lecturer

Büro 52-7206
Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8
9000 St. Gallen

History courses in assessment

In the assessment year, we offer survey courses that examine historical developments in the long view, focus on national developments as part of historical macro-trends, and always relate to the core subjects. You can view the current course schedule here.

You can find more information about teaching on the pages of the history department.