Supervisors: prof. Mati Laur, prof. Karsten Brüggemann (Tallinna Ülikool)
Opponent: prof. dr. Jörg Hackmann (University of Szczecin)
The genesis and narratives of national history writing from the beginning of the 19th century up until World War II. Estonia in comparison with other non-dominant Nordic and Baltic nations
(Väikerahvuste ajalookäsitluste genees ja narratiivid: Eesti võrdluses teiste Põhjala ja Baltikumi mittedominantsete rahvustega 19. sajandist kuni Teise maailmasõjani)
The purpose of this dissertation is to map the narratives included in the historiographies (e.g. a Golden Age in the national history or rebirth) of small Nordic and Baltic nations (Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Finns, Norwegians, Icelanders) and to position the Estonian history writing in the aforementioned context. The study reviews school textbooks on history, and empirical historiography from the beginning of the 19th century up to the Second World War. In terms of the genesis of national historical thought, Estonian history texts were similar to other nations viewed. During the period under discussion, history was exceedingly more narrated in a national framework. The general outlook of the historiography grew more secular and militaristic at the same time. In the 19th century, historiography revealed the nations' desire of cultural emancipation, whereas in the 20th century, they demonstrated the wish for political emancipation. In narrating history, one had to consider the contemporary national expectations of authors, requirements for history as a discipline, and historical events described in sources. Although the positioning of various narratives in history can be said to have been a choice made by historians, it is granted that historical facts set several restrictions to this choice. This is also the reason for the considerably great variation of several viewed narratives across nations. Similar things were searched from history, but they were found from different places. In case of Estonia, the "task" of narrating history in national terms was one of the simplest among the nations in question. "Ancient Estonians" did not behave in a very Christian manner, whereas they acted in a rather nationally motivated way-this made narrating history in national terms easier than it was for other studied nations. Thus, Estonians created a national approach to history quite quickly despite the late start and history acquired such an important a position in Estonian national thought.