The Institute

The Institute of History consists of the Board of Directors, the Executive Board and its seven departments. Its activities are governed by the organisational regulations of the Institute of History.


Main Focus

The Institute of History of the University of Bern is the only institute of its kind in German-speaking Switzerland, which combines the approach of a modern political history with insights from cultural and gender history as well as economic, social and environmental history.

  • Thematically, the focus is on the social and cultural history of the political
  • Spatially, the focus is on: European history in global contexts
  • In cultural terms, the Institute of History not only considers the German- and English-languages, but also the Romance (especially Francophone and Italian) and German-language historicographic traditions.

This orientation takes account of the following criteria:

  1. Switzerland's central location in Europe at the crossroads of different cultures, languages and transport routes, and as the headquarters of many international organisations.
  2. the location of the University of Bern within the Capital of Switzerland and ist subsequent requirement for knowledge of politics and administration
  3. the possibilities of connection, networking and cooperation in a number of interdisciplinary, inter-faculty and inter-university contexts
  4. the thematic and methodological diversity of the thematic focuses:
  • Systems of rule, statehood and governmentality
  • Relationships between nation states and citizens
  • Dictatorships in the 20th century
  • External relations from a social, cultural and gender historical perspective
  • Transnational exchange (migration, diaspora, trade, etc. in the mediterranean region)
  • Globalisation, international organisations, borders
  • War, the military, violence in the broader sense including forced migration
  • european expansion, imperialism and colonialism
  • Gender, politics and knowledge
  • Cultural and social history of the economy
  • Social movements
  • Social transformation processes, especially in rural areas
  • Aristocratic culture
  • Church and religion
  • Environmental and climate history
  • History of transport
  • Social history of education and the learned world since the Middle Ages
  • Historiography
  • Perception of Antiquity and the Middle Ages in Modern Times