The expatriate Estonian visiting professorship has been created to invite acknowledged researchers of Estonian descent to work at the University of Tartu for at least one semester. The professorship aims to increase the global visibility of the University of Tartu, give its researchers more opportunities to cooperate with top researchers of Estonian descent and allow the students of the University of Tartu to attend their lecture courses.
Visiting professor in the 2020/2021 academic year
Lecturer of history and global studies at the University of California
David Ilmar Lepasaar Beecher
David Beecher is a historian and social scientist of Estonian descent, a lecturer with nearly 20 years of teaching, supervising and curricula development experience from the universities in the United States of America and Europe.
His main research focus is the cultural and intellectual history of Europe and Russia, focusing particularly on the 19th and 20th century. Four central themes emerge in his research: languages, universities, towns and states.
His doctoral dissertation “Ivory Tower of Babel: Tartu University and the Languages of Two Empires, a Nation-State, and the Soviet Union” won the Friends of Cal History Dissertation Prize at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2015.
Scholarship enables David Beecher to do research and teach at the University of Tartu Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies.
When the applicants to the scholarship were considered, David Beecher won the unanimous support from both students, faculties, and members of the expatriate Estonian community.
Rector of the University of Tartu Toomas Asser
Activities of the visiting professor at the University of Tartu
At the University of Tartu, David Beecher will teach two comprehensive lecture courses of interest for students of various curricula. He also plans to publish a monograph written on the basis of his doctoral dissertation, in which he emphasises the meaning of the University of Tartu – the most European university within the sphere of influence of Russia during four centuries – and deals with the development of the University of Tartu in the context of different regimes, various linguistic and cultural influences.
Autumn semester 2020
- Course “The History of Russia and Europe since 1700” (for students)
The course aims to offer a broader understanding of the history of Russia in the European context, discussing the mutual cultural and intellectual approaching of Russia and Europe from the reign of Peter the Great until today. The main focus of the course is on political, literary, and cultural texts of the 19th and 20th century that explore the common questions and different solutions provided in Russia and Europe to the main problem of the modern world: how to achieve a society based on the integrated ideals of development and democracy. Reading and discussing the key texts also helps to make sense of what is currently going on in Russia and Europe. The English-taught course “History of Russia and Europe since 1700” (course code P2EC.00.090) is aimed mostly at master’s students and runs at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies throughout the autumn semester.
- Guest lecture “’In God We Trust’: The world’s oldest secular state and youngest God’s nation" (guest lecture)
At the Estonian Business School at Hardo Pajula’s seminar “Great books” on 7 October.
- Talk “Language as the hero of our time: empathy and alienation in the linguistic century” (public event)
On 12 October at 16.15 at the seminar of intellectual history of the UT Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics (Jakobi 2-336, Tartu). The seminar of intellectual history is a forum for introducing research results and projects on Estonian and European intellectual history to colleagues, students and wider audience.
- Seminar “Major and minor stories of the Estonian diaspora, different meanings and contexts” (for students)
The seminar takes place on 30 October as a part of the course “Estonian Diaspora Abroad: An Archival Studies Perspective” (course code HVAJ.02.010) of the UT Institute of History and Archaeology.
- Series of club meetings "Dorpater Dozentenabend" (with invitations)
Dorpater Dozentenabend is a series of club meetings aiming to offer the international research and teaching staff members of the UT more opportunities to meet and exchange ideas. Typically an evening will begin with a talk, followed by a discussion. The events take place once a month and are moderated by the expatriate Estonian visiting professor.
- Assembly hall lecture in November
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Scholarship for expatriate Estonian visiting professor
The scholarship was created at the University of Tartu Foundation in November 2018. The scholarship is supported by the Foundation of the University of Toronto Chair of Estonian Studies, the University of Tartu Foundation in Toronto, and the Estonian Students Fund in USA.