Blinken OSA offers postgraduate academic courses and specializations to Central European University (CEU) students, organized in cooperation with the departments of Legal Studies and History, and also for CEU's annual Summer University (SUN).
The regular courses seek to address a broad spectrum of archival matters concerning the historian’s craft, truth and objectivity, documentary works, or evidentiary, legal and cinematic archival practices related to human rights. Some of them require an active, hands-on approach to materials curated by Blinken OSA. The SUN courses have so far been conceived around access to information and archives, as well as managing, automating and accessing modern archives, and the challenges posed by electronic records and digital documents. Blinken OSA participates in the Open Learning Initiative for asylum seekers and refugees, and strives to build academic partnership with CEU’s Digital Humanities Initiative and the Center for Media, Data and Society. It provides introductory sessions on information retrieval and practical examination of sources from its archival holdings, and Research Data Management consultation services for CEU students.

Our current courses

  • Archives, Evidence and Human Rights
    Instructors: Iván Székely, Csaba Szilagyi, András Mink
    Winter Term AY 2021/22

    This course aims at looking at the roles and uses of human rights documentation in the context of preserving recorded memory and the history of human rights. Establishing facts by forensic methods, producing impeccable evidence to convict perpetrators, or understanding the roots of conflicts and working toward dialog and reconciliation are just a few areas where the availability of reliable records and archival activism can make a huge difference. Course description and Syllabus

  • History in the Visual Mode: Methods and Practices of Documentary Storytelling
    Instructors: Oksana Sarkisova and Jeremy Braverman
    Fall Term AY 2020/21

    The course focuses on representations of contested historical events in documentary cinema and combines theoretical and practical approaches. It introduces students to the basics of analyzing and producing moving images that use historical arguments and explore relationship between memory and public spaces. Theoretical part of the course surveys classical and experimental documentary films and addresses mechanisms of constructing historical narratives by visual means. In the practical component of the course students will learn the basics of camera work and editing and will do group exercises to develop their visual skills. The course aims to develop analytical, rhetorical, visual, as well as a range of practical skills, including collaboration and communication skills. The course introduces students to the basics of visual literacy and develops their critical thinking and ability to design interdisciplinary research projects.

  • "Is Coronavirus China’s Chernobyl?": Historical and Public Discourse about Hidden Phenomena/ Enemies
    Instructor: Ioana Macrea-Toma
    Fall Term AY 2020/21

    The seminar will loosely be based on the case study of the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl Power Plant from April 1986 and the seemingly comparable global event of the Covid-19 crisis in order to address questions about the very legitimacy of making analogies between different catastrophes and about the usefulness and adequate use of historical models and methods in understanding complex issues with lethal consequences. It will therefore provide insights into possible trans-disciplinary methodological perspectives coming from anthropology, epistemology, history of science and history of knowledge which have even merged recently in order to equip [public] historians with the critical tools to assess complex issues situated at the frontiers of humanistic and scientific knowledge. More specifically, the seminar will familiarize students with catastrophic epistemology, actor-network theory, styles of reasoning and archival ethnography.

  • Socio-Legal Research Methods
    Instructors: Mathias Möschel, Csaba Szilagyi and CEU faculty
    Fall Term AY 2021/22

    This seminar offered to SJD students will provide an overview of existing methods in legal and social sciences. Departmental and extra-departmental faculty will host single sessions on the key methodological approaches to a legal doctoral thesis but also more broadly in the field of social sciences, including comparative legal analysis, quantitative methods, interviewing techniques, discourse analysis and the archival method. The main aim of this course is to alert and sensitize doctoral students to the various methods existing in social sciences and legal scholarship. This will allow them to understand the different ways in which certain research topics can be approached, as well as to think about which method might be the most useful one for their own research.

  • Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization (available only for Master of Arts in Comparative History/2 years program students in AY 2022/23, after completing the Archives, Evidence and Human Rights course in the winter term of AY 2021/22)
    Instructors: István Rév, Iván Székely, Csaba Szilágyi, András Mink
    AY 2022/23

    The Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization is initiated by OSA and organized jointly with the Department of Legal Studies and the Department of History at the Central European University for the first time in AY 2016/17. The aim of the specialization is to provide students with theoretical grounding and practical skills in working and pursuing research in a contemporary and innovative archive. The knowledge and skills acquired during this program will open up for them additional avenues of pursuing a career not only in their chosen field but also in archives, libraries, and museums or in the multidisciplinary arena of the digital humanities. The detailed description of the specialization is available here. More information: Csaba Szilágyi at szilagyc@ceu.edu

  • Archival Practice
    Instructors: Csaba Szilágyi, Iván Székely, and OSA staff
    AY 2022/23

    The second part of the Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization includes a supervised practice in the archives’ professional activities. Students will spend 30 hours at Blinken OSA to familiarize themselves with the various stages of the archival workflow and the ‘invisible’ processes of creating the archives. It is conceived as a guided individual discovery of the archives under the supervision of assigned staff members, from the processing area to the AV studio, and from the electronic catalogs to the digital repository. The full program of the Archival Practice is available here.

  • Advanced Coursework
    Instructors: Csaba Szilágyi, Iván Székely, and OSA staff
    AY 2022/23

    The third part of the Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization is the Advanced Coursework, which brings in current archival theory and thinking in order to structure and contextualize students’ experience gained as researchers and practitioners in the first two chapters of the specialization. During the Advanced Coursework, students will attend online lectures, seminars and class discussions. In order not to disconnect completely from the archival setting, case studies selected from the 25-year practice of Blinken OSA will be explored and there will be two workshops when students will again have the chance to do hands-on exercises on primary source documents. The detailed syllabus of the Advanced Coursework is available here.

  • Media Design MA Project Development
    Instructors: Miklós Erhardt, Krisztina Erdei, Kálmán Tarr, János Szirtes, Zsuzsa Zádori
    Fall Term AY 2020/21

    The Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design (MOME) and Blinken OSA jointly organize this university course dedicated to the subject of archives in the Fall Semester of AY 2020/21. During the course, students of the Media Design MA program will examine the importance of archives in shaping historical consciousness and its role in contemporary art and culture. The theoretical classes are led by MOME professors, while researchers from Blinken OSA and other experts will be also invited to give guest presentations. In conjunction with the lectures, students are expected to develop independent projects based on the audiovisual collections of Blinken OSA, by remixing and creatively re-using the available materials.

Previous courses:

  • Archival and Documentary Practices
    Open Learning Initiative, Weekend Program (OLIve-WP)
    Instructors: Csaba Szilágyi and Anikó Kövecsi

    The Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) at Central European University focuses on opening access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers. This course aims at familiarizing participants with the possibilities of using a contemporary archive for documenting and understanding various stages of the global refugee experience through a set of hands-on, practice oriented sessions. It will seek to introduce and discuss 20th century examples of forced displacement and migration through archival documents and projects, and explore ways of documenting and publishing personal memories of the participating students’ current experiences.

    Using Blinken OSA as a model, the course will bring the structure, databases, catalogs, and documents of a modern archive closer to the students and give specific and practical examples on how to trace and research primary archival and other relevant sources, as well as evaluate the findings. Thus, the course will provide students with basic research and analytical skills, which will come in handy should they wish and have the opportunity to pursue further academic careers.  Course description and syllabus

  • Human Rights and Documentary Cinema
    Instructors: Oksana Sarkisova, Rénata Uitz

    By introducing ten recent well-crafted and engaging documentary films, this course addresses questions concerning the possibilities of cinematic investigation and advocacy with regard to politically and economically contextualized human rights abuses.

  • "Though this be madness, yet there is method in it": Cold War fantasies
    Instructors: István Rév, Ioana Macrea-Toma

    This course approaches post-World War II history through the lens of Cold War social science on both sides of the ideological divide, their interdependencies and mutual influences on each other. Using unique, up-till-now barely used archival sources, the course will explore how the social sciences contributed to the emergence of the fantasy of past, present and future that guided both the programs of the sciences and perceptions of the world. The course is accompanied by a series of fortnightly public film screenings, Cold War Fantasies: Film Laboratory at OSA, taking place September - December 2013.

  • The Archives of Living and the Dead Things
    Instructors: István Rév, Ioana Macrea-Toma, Simina Bădică
    This experimental seminar seeks to explore ways for dealing with the past through a theoretical and empirical interaction with the archives (plus libraries and museums), understood as complex transformative devices, due to their inscriptive materialities and practices. Objects, infrastructures, collecting and collections, relations and classifications, are not just privileged topoi of material history, but methodological and also epistemic entry points in the reconstruction of complex and meaningful worlds.

Central European University Summer University Courses