CEU courses

Blinken OSA Archivum offers undergraduate and postgraduate academic courses and specializations to Central European University (CEU) students, organized in cooperation with the departments of Legal Studies and History, and for CEU’s annual Summer University (SUN). The Archivum's teaching staff have been fully directing or co-teaching mandatory historiography courses or seminars on the uses of archives, history writing, and legal issues. The courses address broad themes concerning the historian’s craft, truth, and objectivity, documentary works, or evidentiary, legal, cinematic and critical archival practices related to human rights. The Archivum's collections related to the Cold War and post-1989 transitions, as well as history of human rights movements and violations usually serve as the documentary infrastructure of the seminars, but also as subjects on their own, whose histories are relevant for the understanding of the political, socio-economic and scientific production of information and knowledge. Our courses therefore are immersive, experimental, and laboratory-like, combining multimedia resources with hands-on archival exercises.

In each January, the Archivum also organizes a 5-week internship for the students within the Erasmus Mundus Program entitled History in the Public Sphere (HIPS). A mandatory part of the full program, the internship shows the broader and complex relationships and tensions between archiving, documentation, and knowledge transmission to (broader) publics for the students working on the connections between historiography, archival curation, public history and museology. An introductory course each fall prepares the students for the internship.

Every AY, Blinken OSA Archivum also offers an archival specialization to those attending the Archives, Evidence and Human Rights course (in collaboration with the Departments of Legal Studies and History). This elective program, which includes a week/long archival practice at the Archivum in the spring term, caters to students with profound interest in the practical and theoritacl aspects of the archival profession.

For more details about the specific themes of the internship and the archival specialization and the differences between the two programs please see below at current courses.

SUN Courses

Our SUN (CEU Summer University) 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. Recent SUN courses have also addressed the issue of expertise, its historical roots and current challenges, where the Blinken OSA Archivum Cold War collections featured as the knowledge touchstone of Cold War scholarship and policymaking.


Blinken OSA Archivum participated in the Open Learning Initiative for asylum seekers and refugees, and strives to build academic partnership with CEU’s Digital Humanities Initiative and the Democracy Institute. We provide introductory sessions on information retrieval and practical examination of sources from its archival holdings, and Research Data Management consultation services for CEU students.

From the onset, the Archivum has also collaborated with the Invisible University for Ukraine (IUFU), a certificate program for junior and senior undergraduate students from Ukraine launched by CEU in May 2022. István Rév and Oksana Sarkisova are further invited as guest lecturers within the History track and Culture/Heritage track in the 2023 fall semester, and Anastasia Felcher will be involved in mentoring students from the Culture/Heritage track.

Current courses taught at CEU:

  • A course on contested historical issues in documentary cinema
    History in the Visual Mode: Methods and Practices of Documentary Storytelling (fourth edition)
    Department: History, Visual Studies Platform
    Cross-listed with: MA in Comparative History (1 year and 2 years), MA in MATILDA, MA in History in the Public Sphere, Advance Certificate Program in VTP
    Instructor: Oksana Sarkisova, Jeremy Braverman
    Fall term AY 2022/2023

    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. The theoretical part of the course surveys classical and experimental documentary films and addresses mechanisms of constructing historical narratives by visual means. During class discussions we will analyze the use of first-person testimonies, found footage, and the role of editing and sound design in documentary films as means of storytelling. 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. Students will learn to film interviews, work with archival footage, and shoot observational scenes. Working on practical assignments, students are introduced to the basics of project development and organization, learn camera basics and basic post-production techniques. The course aims to develop analytical, rhetorical, visual, as well as a range of practical skills, including collaboration and communication skills. It introduces students to the basics of visual literacy and develops their critical thinking and ability to design interdisciplinary research projects.

  • A course on human rights documentation and its connected Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization

    A. The course Archives, Evidence and Human Rights (AEHR, 22nd edition)
    Department: Legal Studies
    Cross-listed with: MA in Human Rights, MA in Central European History, MA in Comparative History 
    Instructors: Iván Székely, Csaba Szilágyi, András Mink
    Fall Term AY 2023/2024

    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. In addition to attending classes and workshops, students can do individual research at Blinken OSA in Budapest. Course description and Syllabus

    B. The Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization comprises the AEHR course and the Archival Practice.
    Department: History
    Instructors: Csaba Szilágyi and Blinken OSA staff
    Fall Term AY 2023/2024

    The Archival Practice includes supervised practice in the Archivum’s professional activities. Students will spend 30 hours in Budapest to familiarize themselves with the various stages of the archival workflow and the “invisible” processes of creating archives. It is conceived as a guided individual discovery of Blinken OSA Archivum under the supervision of assigned staff members. Embedded in contemporary archival theory, the journey will cover, among others, analog and digital sources, textual processing and the AV studio, and archival databases and descriptive methods and electronic catalogs. The full program of the Archival Practice will be available soon.

    The condition for pursuing the archival specialization (max. five students) is the successful completion of the AEHR course. However, the course can be taken without necessarily opting for the archival specialization. The Archival Practice is also available as a stand-alone archival training course for a limited number of students (max. five) university wise.

  • A course on cultural heritage and memory
    The Power of Images: Memory, Heritage and Visual Culture
    Department: Cultural Heritage Studies
    Instructor: Anastasia Felcher
    Fall term AY 2023/2024

    The course introduces students to (a) the relationship between visual studies as an academic discipline and the use of images in various social and cultural contexts; (b) the intersection between visual studies, memory studies and cultural heritage studies; (c) the variety and evolution of media interpreted as part of visual culture, such as paintings, photography and moving images; (d) various types of functioning and uses of images in relation to present-day concerns and challenges, such as national identity, armed conflicts, pandemics, digitalization and artificial intelligence.

  • An archival internship for the students in the History in the Public Sphere program (third edition)
    Department: History
    Winter term AY 2023/2024

    In the five-week internship, the HIPS students will get acquainted with the theoretical background of archival work, the way archives operate unseen by the visiting public, the practice of historians and archivists working in archival institutions. Theoretical lectures and hands-on archival research work will help future public historians to further understand the logic and epistemic assumptions of Cold War data collections, and to translate issues having a Central and Eastern European relevance to larger global frameworks.

    Note: The HIPS internship comprises 18 intensive sessions of lectures, site visits and archival workshops organized on a yearly specific theme (since 2020); they will familiarize the future public historians not just with certain issues related to the archival work, but with the multiple ways and the conditions under which a record becomes a document and is ultimately publicly exhibited. The students develop their own public history projects on the yearly internship theme.

    The January 2024 theme to be announced soon.

  • A course on the history of cinema

    History of Film
    Cross-listed with: BA in Culture, Politics, Society, BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
    Instructor: Oksana Sarkisova
    Winter term AY 2022/2023

    The course introduces milestone films in the history of cinema from its beginning to the present day along with the institutional analysis of the film industry development, highlighting selected periods, movements, and national cinematic traditions (France, Britain, Germany, Russia, US, Japan, etc.). The course also includes discussions on the historiography of film history, considering the tension between transnational and national frameworks of analysis. It encourages individual research and teaches students the basics of visual analysis.

Blinken OSA Archivum staff also contributes to other CEU-wide courses by teaching one session within:

  • Socio-Legal Research Methods
    Department: Legal Studies
    Instructors: Markus Böckenförde, Csaba Szilágyi and CEU faculty
    Fall term AY 2023/2024

    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.

As of 2022, Blinken OSA collaborates with the Eötvös Loránd University and its Department of Media and Communication with a course on the uses of archival materials in the media. The course is entirely designed by the Archivum's staff.

  • From Kádár’s Megaphone to the Yugoslav Wars: Archival Sources, Media Products, and Propaganda
    Instructors: András Mink, István Rév, Oksana Sarkisova, Gábor Tóka, Zsuzsa Zádori, Miklós Zsámboki
    Department: Media and Communication (ELTE Budapest)
    Winter term AY 2023/2024

    The course provides both theoretical and practical introduction into the critical and perceptive uses of traditional and digital archival materials by news media, fact checkers and propagandists. The course prepares for a professional use of sources, independent archival research, and helps the participants to prepare their own original media products for a contemporary lay audience about a topic of their choice using archival sources from the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives. The products are expected to process their sources with appropriate reflection on their authenticity and perspetive-taking, and on the multiplicity of possible interpretations.