Historians at Universities and Institutions of higher education

Since 1800 historiography has been on university curricula throughout Europe, starting in Northern Europe but spreading very early on the continent. The teaching of history was an integral part of the new professional knowledge of history and the number of chairs grew with the introduction of history in the school curricula and the creation of archives and history sections in academies. During the 19th century, chronological specifications gained in importance but the real turn towards further specialization of chairs took place during the 20th century. After the First World War, the staff at history departments grew larger and universities offered more and more positions for junior scholars or senior fellows teaching and doing research. After 1945 these positions outnumbered the chairs and today the bulk of professional historians at universities and other institutions of higher learning are assistant professors, readers or post-doctorands with special teaching tasks.

However, even in 2005, teaching posts in history at most European universities were not highly specialized: only the chronological demarcations among the now four main subdisciplines are more or less rigid, while thematic or methodological specialization is only an additional element. This is indubitably an important factor in explaining the flexibility of the discipline in its response to new trends in research and public debate in European historiography.

Data Collection

Up to 1900

Included for 1830, 1850, 1878, 1900 are all university teachers of history with permanent positions. ‘Privatdozenten’ at continental universities are excluded.
For the nineteenth century, the database includes all history disciplines, also when combined with other disciplines such as archaeology, history of art, of literature, of law. Church history in theological faculties is excluded, as well as history of law in law faculties.

Since 1928

Included for 1928, 1955, 1980, 2005 are all levels of university teachers, assistant professors and researchers with permanent positions, as well as directors of institutes. Also included are teaching and research staff recruited to permanent posts. Excluded are all historians occupying only temporary posts on the basis of special research funding or specific projects.
Universities and colleges of higher education also comprise colleges for teachers of secondary schools (pädagogische Hochschulen), the majority of which have been transformed into universities since the 1970s.

Foto: Ancient library, reading room with green lamps. Colourbox.de

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