University history

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The university history (including high school history ) is a research field within the historical science that deals with the historical development of the universities concerned in Europe and the world.


The focus is on the university as an institution and its internal and external organization (legal constitution, financing, administration, teaching staff, studies and students). The role of universities, professors and students in certain political and social contexts (e.g. Vormärz , revolution of 1848/49 , time of National Socialism ) is often the subject of historical research.

In terms of content and method, there are particularly close links to the history of science , but also to general educational , cultural and social history .


Since the early 19th century, university anniversaries in particular have given rise to relevant research (e.g. Johann Gottfried Ludwig Kosegarten's two-volume history of the University of Greifswald , which appeared in 1856/57 on the 400th anniversary of the university). The first comprehensive presentations were made at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century (e.g. Friedrich Paulsen , History of learned teaching , 1885; The German universities and university studies , 1902). Efforts (including by Paul Ssymank ) to establish the new discipline as " university studies " with the inclusion of student history , however, failed after the First World War.

As a result, occasional publications inspired by sociology or the history of ideas dominated for a long time, which often responded to contemporary challenges and reforms (e.g. René König , Vom Wesen der Deutschen Universität , 1935, or Helmut Schelsky , Einsamkeit und Freiheit , 1963).

Increased efforts towards institutionalization and professionalization have only been observed since the 1990s, for example through the establishment of the “Society for University and Scientific History” (GUW) in 1995 and the publication of the “ Yearbook for University History ” since 1998. The journal “ History of universities ”( Oxford University Press ). Also since the 1980s, on the initiative of the European Rectors' Conference, an international college of authors led by Walter Rüegg has been working on a four-volume history of the University in Europe , which was completed in 2010.

Current situation

In contrast to the history of science or economic and social history , university history in Germany cannot yet be studied as a subject; There are also only a few specially designated chairs (mostly in connection with the history of science, discipline or technology), e.g. B. in Munich , Berlin or Chemnitz .

See also


  • Stefan Fisch : History of the European University. From Bologna to Bologna. Beck, Munich 2015, ISBN 3-406-67667-7 .
  • Livia Prüll, Frank Hüther, Christian George (eds.): Writing University History: Contents - Methods - Case Studies , Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2019, ISBN 978-3-8471-0966-2 .
  • Walter Rüegg , Hilde De Ridder-Symoens (ed.): History of the university in Europe . tape 1 : Middle Ages . Beck, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-406-36952-9 .
  • Walter Rüegg , Hilde De Ridder-Symoens (ed.): History of the university in Europe . tape 2 : From the Reformation to the French Revolution (1500–1800) . Beck, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-406-36953-7 .
  • Walter Rüegg (Hrsg.): History of the University in Europe . tape 3 : From the 19th century to the Second World War (1800–1945) . Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-36954-5 .
  • Walter Rüegg (Hrsg.): History of the University in Europe . tape 4 : From World War II to the end of the 20th century . Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-36955-1 .
  • Fabian Waßer: From the "Universitätsfabrick" to the "Entrepreneurial University". Competition among German universities from the Late Enlightenment to the 1980s (Scientific Cultures III Volume 53). Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2020, ISBN 978-3-515-12487-4 .
  • Wolfgang EJ Weber : History of the European University. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-17-016482-1 .

Web links

Wikisource: University History  - Sources and Full Texts