Institute of History
The founding and growth of the Institute of History is interwoven in the history and development of the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje and the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University, and that is directly connected to the creation and development of the Macedonian state. The Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje, as the first institution of higher education in Macedonian, has its roots, in fact, as far back as 1920, during the time of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. However, there was no room for the study of the Macedonian history there, nor for the use of Macedonian, because our past was interpreted through a foreign prism, and in Serbian.
As a result of the Anti-Fascist National Liberation War, as well as the aspiration of the Macedonian people, it was on August 2, 1944 when the foundations of the Macedonian state were laid, on that part of the territory that was Ottoman Macedonia, which found itself within the framework of Serbia after the Balkan Wars and WWI, as one of the six federal units in the Yugoslav federation. In 1991, the people of Macedonia, using their right to self-determination, voted in a referendum for an independent Republic of Macedonia.
One of the objectives of the new state’s government was the organization of education in general, and, in that context, higher education. Hence, the Presiding Committee of the Anti-Fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia raised the question of opening a Macedonian university as early as September 1944. Not long after, in April 1945, a law was passed for the founding of a University, and, on November 7, a Founding Committee was created to work on the realization of that objective. After one year spent on organizational activities, December 16, 1946 marked the start of the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje as the first Macedonian institution of higher education, which represents, in fact, the core of the present-day “Ss Cyril and Methodius” University.
One of the first groups at the then Department of History-Philology within the Faculty of Philosophy was that of History and Art History, which was established on December 3, 1946, with the first lectures held on December 16 of that same year. In terms of the working day at the Faculty of Philosophy, the “Nova Makedonija” had the following to say on December 17, 1946: “In front of the Faculty entrance, inside, by the stairs, in the classrooms, amphitheaters, everywhere – there is joy and animation … Exuberance … A young professor is teaching the History students, in Macedonian. ‘For the first time ever, today we are learning and speaking in our mother tongue’ – he is saying, unable, himself, to overcome the overflowing exhilaration”. Commenting on the first working day at the first institution of higher education in Macedonia, the paper went on to write: “The first day is over. The students are going home. They will return once again tomorrow, and the day after, they will return every day. Countless new students will pass through the classrooms of our University, their number will increase day by day, and our University will develop more and more as the heart of learning and education of our people”. From today’s perspective, we may humbly state that the vision and the expectations of the previous generations have been achieved, and the “Ss Cyril and Methodius” University is not only the hub of learning and education in our country, but also an established institution in a wider context.
The History group at the Faculty of Philosophy, as was the case with the other groups, as well, began with a modest academic and educational potential, but with great enthusiasm. The following were among the first to be involved in the teaching here: Ljuben Lape, Dimče Koco, Metodija Sokolovski, and Tomo Tomoski. However, due to the insufficient number of teaching staff, at the beginning there was the need to call on associates from the other Yugoslav republics, such as: Petar Lisičar, Petar Popović, Stjepan Antoljak, Bogdan Stevanović, Andrija Lainović, Stevan Jantolek, Vladimir Mošin, whereas Gregor Čermošnik, Georgi Ostrogorski, Milko Kos, and others made guest visits.
In the meantime, local junior associates were engaged, who quickly met the criteria to become University lecturers, such as: Hristo Andonov Poljanski, Branko Panov, Voislav Kuševski, Aleksandar Apostolov, Slavka Fidanova, Dušica Petruševska, Hristo Melovski, among others. Toward the end of the 1960s and during the 1970s, the next generation of lecturers was getting ready to continue, such as: Dimitar Dimeski, Kosta Adžievski, Darinka Petreska, Kočo Sidovski, Margarita Peševska, Metodija Manojlovski, Dragan Velkov, Nade Proeva, Mihajlo Minoski, Svetozar Naumoski, and Violeta Ačkoska.
At the moment, the Institute of History is made up of the following academic personnel: Aleksandar Atanasovski (full professor), Vančo Gjorgjiev (full professor), Dalibor Jovanovski (full professor), Boban Petrovski (full professor), Nikola Žežov (full professor), Vojislav Sarakinski (full professor), Borče Ilievski (full professor), Toni Filiposki (full professor), Nikola Minov (associate professor), and Stefan Panovski (associate professor). It is evident that at the moment there are no junior associates engaged at the Institute of History, which is the case with the other Institutes, too, as well as the other Faculties within the “Ss Cyril and Methodius” University, which should be a cause for concern for the relevant institutions.
Until recently, the Institute of History was the only institution of higher education that prepared primary and secondary schools history teachers. The plethora of history teachers in the primary and secondary schools in our country are all graduates of this very Institute. In addition to this, the Institute of History, until one decade ago, was the sole institution educating professionals in the field of History. The first PhD obtained at the Institute of History was defended in 1958 by Hristo Andonov Poljanski. Post-graduate studies are offered at the Institute of History from 1971, which are the first of their kind to be organized at the Faculty of Philosophy. So far, 156 MAs have been defended at the Institute, and 108 PhDs. The majority of these candidates were from our country, and worked, and are still working here. However, not an insignificant number of them came from abroad, even as far as China.
Bearing in mind all the activities carried out by the Institute, as well as the contributions made by the few in number enthusiasts of 1946, it may be said with pride that the Institute of History has evolved into a true hotbed of teaching and academic professionals in the field of History science for all educational, academic, and cultural institutions in the country and abroad. Simply put, the Institute of History is the parent body of Macedonian historiography and History education in the country. In addition to all this, the members of the Institute have made great contribution in the founding of the Institute of National History, the State Archives of Macedonia, and other relevant institutions that store, preserve and present the Macedonian cultural-historical heritage.
The members of the Institute have been involved in the realization of a number of national projects of enormous historiographical significance, and more recently, in various interdisciplinary international projects.
The faculty at the Institute of History have authored a number of monographs, articles, academic papers, published in various academic journals and conference proceedings in the country and abroad. The members of the Institute participate in almost all of the academic gatherings organized in the country, and are eminent representatives of Macedonian historiography abroad, as well. In that sense, the Institute faculty have taken part in numerous conferences and study and research visits in various European countries, and throughout the world. Furthermore, the Institute has had the opportunity to host a number of professors and academic associates from abroad. Once the ECTS was implemented, the Institute has seen a rise in the number of foreign students from various European countries (the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria), and even from as far as Japan.
In terms of the activities of the Institute’s academic personnel, it is important that we note their significant contribution in the creation and development of the history programs of study for primary and secondary schools, as well as their involvement in the creation of course books and other additional learning materials.
A number of members of the Institute of History have held various roles in the management of the Faculty of Philosophy and the “Ss Cyril and Methodius” University, as well as other societal functions. Thus, the Institute counts from its faculty a Chancellor of the “Ss Cyril and Methodius” University (Hristo Andonov Poljanski), then, the first female Vice Chancellor (Slavka Fidanova), two Deans of the Faculty of Philosophy (Dimče Koco and Metodija Sokolovski), several Vice Deans, and three academicians (Ljuben Lape, Dimče Koco, and Stjepan Antoljak). A number of members of the Institute of History have received various state awards and other recognitions for their contributions and achievements, and in that context, the Institute itself received the “Goce Delčev” award.
Throughout its development, the Institute of History has undergone numerous organizational transformations, continuously working on improving its study programs in accordance with the current trends and needs. In the meantime, the academic year 1973/74 marked the separation of the Institute of Art History and Archaeology out of the Institute of History, evolving into a separate entity within the Faculty of Philosophy. The academic year 2000/2001 marked the start of the study program in History and Archival Science. At present, the Institute of History implements accredited study programs at all three levels of study – undergraduate, post-graduate, and doctoral.
Senior Library Associate
Phone: +389 2 3116 520 ext. 223