About Centre for the History of the Prague University of Economics and Business

The Centre for the History of the Prague University of Economics and Business (VŠE) is targeted to the mapping and documentation of the history of the Prague University of Economics and Business alongside university teaching in economic field in Czechoslovakia, not just after 1953 but also in previous eras, and especially in the period after the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak state. The research focus covers departments as well as institutions. The history of VŠE is investigate in broader context of global development of university education in Czechoslovakia and Central European region.

Important goal is the gradual digitalisation of relevant historical sources stored in the university registries and the creation of systematic integrated digital archive. Digital archive will contain digitalised internal archival sources covering over sixty-year history of the university along with selected academic publications relating to the development of university education in Czechoslovakia and Central Europe.

The Centre for History was founded in 2013 on the occasion of VŠE’s anniversary celebrating 60 years since establishment of the university. The research centre was involved in preparing and conducting of an exhibition that took place in late September/early October 2014 at the university in the Rajska Building atrium. The exhibition documented the history of our university since 1953, including the history of teaching of economic subjects since the 18th century. Current development of the university was also presented. Profile of the university and each faculty was introduced together with other university areas, including for example the successful VŠE’s folk group. In following months an exhibition catalogue was presented. You can still explore chosen texts from the exhibition panels in the VŠE’s main building at Žižkov.

The Centre for the History of VŠE also initiated the formation of several research teams and publication of a series of monographs describing and analysing the history of VŠE. Its first part, entitled “The History of VŠE in Prague I. The path to the establishment of VŠE in Prague. A history of economic higher education in the Czech lands”, was published in 2014 and maps the beginnings of the economic disciplines in university education in the Czech lands from the mid-17th century, the foundation and following activities of the Commercial College in Prague (Vysoká škola obchodní, VŠO), the predecessor to the later VŠE, the turbulent period immediately following the Second World War and after 1948, and the process of establishment of VŠE in Prague in 1953. The development of Slovak and Czech university education in economics between 1945 and 1953 is also compared and the development in other countries in Central European region is discussed in broader context. Attention is targeted mainly to Hungary and the German Democratic Republic. Currently, the publishing house Oeconomica is preparing the second part of the monograph series entitled “The History of VŠE in Prague II. VŠE in Prague at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s in the context of the history of higher education in economic subjects in Central Europe”. This part will primarily analyse the development of the university at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s. VŠE’s history at this time will be presented in the context of the history of Czechoslovak university education. The development of the partner university, University of Economics in Bratislava will be introduced and the development of similar university institutions in Central European countries, namely Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, Poland and Austria will be presented too. Since commemorations of the anniversary of the so-called Prague spring will take place next year, current research activities are focused primarily on VŠE’s role in the process resulting in the events of 1968. Results of this research will be introduced to the public in the third part of the series of monographs, which should be published in autumn 2018.

It is also planned to prepare a virtual presentation on Centre’s website. This will provide an interactive presentation of the atmosphere of 1968 in Czechoslovakia and at VŠE. Next year will also the 65th anniversary of VŠE’s foundation take place. Linked with this occasion the small exhibition mapping the university’s past and present will be placed in the university main building at Žižkov.

In 2017, Centre for the History of the Prague University of Economics and Business became a research centre at the Department of Economic History at the Faculty of Economics. The research centre will continue with cooperation with graduates and participants in important historical events linked with the development of the university. Also, the digitalisation of materials and archival sources relating directly or indirectly to the history of VŠE will continue.

Long-term objectives of the research centre:

  • Research of archival sources from the university registries, National Archive and other public archives
  • Participation in grant projects targeted to the history of university education in economic field in Czechoslovakia (Czech and Slovak republic) and in Central European states (Hungary, Poland, the GDR, Austria)
  • Bibliographic research (Zotero and Zotpress tools)
  • Digitalisation of archival sources stored in VŠE’s registries
  • Organization of academic colloquiums and workshops
  • Preparation of multi-volume series on the history of VŠE
  • Teaching of voluntary course explaining the history of VŠE in a Central European context
  • Realization of exhibitions mapping the history of VŠE