STUDIES IN ETHNOLOGY IN LITHUANIA IN 1927-2005
Studies in ethnology as a separate university specialization in Lithuania began at universities in the two major Lithuanian cities, Vilnius and Kaunas: in 1927, at the Stefan Batory University (SBU) in Vilnius, and in 1934, at the Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) in Kaunas. Although at that time the two universities were situated in different countries, the SBU in Poland and the VMU in Lithuania, the areas and topics of studies in ethnology that developed at the universities were quite similar. In 1939, the activities of SBU were suspended by the Lithuanian legislature, Seimas, and a new university, Vilnius University (VU), was established in Vilnius, but the two currents in ethnology were not reunited, because although the decision of the Seimas also moved the Faculty of Humanities from the VMU to VU, the scholars of the humanities and ethnology at the SBU had left Lithuania. After the WW II, studies in ethnology continued to be pursued only at the VU, as in 1950 the Soviet authorities had merged the VMU with two other higher schools, the Kaunas Polytechnical Institute and the Kaunas Institute of Medicine, thus practically abolished the VMU. Ethnology at the VU was the offered as a subject of studies at the departments of Ethnography, Museum Studies, Archaeology and Ethnography, and finally, from 1964 onwards, the Department of the History of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, where history students could specialize in ethnography. The content of the teaching of ethnology was largely influenced by the work of a SBU graduate of 1939, Franciszka Stukienasówna (Prané Stukenaité), M. Phil., later - Prane Dunduliené, Professor at the VU.The subjects dealing with folklore were transferred to the VU's Department of Lithuanian Literature, where they were included in the programme of studies in philology. The traditions of the studies in ethnology at the SBU and VMU came together in 1992, with the founding Department of Ethnology and Folklore at the VMU, re-established in 1989. The B.A. programme in Ethnology was started in 1992, and the M.A. programme in Ethnic Culture, as well as the Ph.D. programme of studies in ethnology, in 1993. According to the Statute of the VMU, two years of the B.A. studies are devoted to obligatory and optional (elective) subjects, while the third year to the student's specialization (major). The M.A. and Ph.D. programmes are focused mainly on specialist subjects, and the M.A. programme offers optional courses (electives) in ethnology, history and philosophy. Those in charge of studies in ethnology at the VMU have been former students of Professor P. Dunduliené.
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