In the Polytechnic Institute educational programs the problems of philosophy, of cultural studies and sociology received special attention from the moment the Institute was opened in 1902. One of the founders of polytechnical education in Russia, the chairman of the Council of Ministers, Sergei Ulievich Vitte thought that “it is both immoral and destructive for the country to train a modern engineer without good humanitarian education”.
The first Polytechnic Institute’s rector prince Andrei Grigorievich Gagarin taught English culture. In the beginning of the 20th century the Institute constantly invited leading professors of the history and philosophy of culture, among whom there were many of world fame: Lev Platonovich Karsavin – a philosopher, culture researcher, historian-medievalist; Nikolai Ivanovich Kareev – a historian, sociologist; Nikolai Sergeevich Timashev – a sociologist; Maxim Maximovich Kovalevsky – a sociologist, historian, student of law; Pyotr Bergardovich Struve – a sociologist, philosopher, economist; Semyon Ludwigovich Frank – a culture researcher and religious philosopher.
After the 1917 revolution the social sciences in Polytechnic Institute became very ideological. But in 1988, in the very beginning of perestroika, the University’s Academic Council opened the Faculty of Humanities. In 2012 a new department was organized on the basis of the departments of philosophy, of sociology and law, of native and foreign culture. At present the department is headed by the Doctor of Philosophy, member of the Writers’ Union of Russia, professor Dmitry Ivanovich Kuznetsov.
The department’s major subjects are: “Philosophy”, “History of Native and Foreign Culture”, “Sociology”, “Cultural Studies”, “Sociology and Psychology of Management”, “Projects of Social Technologies”, “Conflictology”. Optional courses: “Architecture of St.-Petersburg”, “20th century Culture”, “Russian Figurative Art”, “Oriental Culture”, “Etiquette”, “Culture of Business Communication”, etc.
The Department’s scientific and methodical work can be illustrated by numerous publications in our country and abroad. The department’s staff regularly publish manuals, text-books, courses of lectures for the students, collections of articles; the computer version of modern text-book on philosophy, cultural studies and sociology is being developed now. In order to achieve good pedagogical results the emphasis is made on technological aspects of education, which include the integration of traditions and innovations.
The department organizes international scientific conferences and publishes their reports and papers. It cooperates with the Universities of Spain: University of Granada, Charles III University of Madrid, Madrid Polytechnical University, Autonomous University of Barcelona. The department has close ties with Chinese and German Universities and establishes educational and scientific contacts with the Universities of Great Britain and the USA.
Today the department makes special efforts to work out new effective forms of classes in the Hermitage, in the Russian Museum, in the Gallery of Modern Art, in the Academy of Fine Arts, in the artists’ workshops, in the palaces and parks in the suburbs of St.-Petersburg. The department very effectively uses innovative methods in the process of education of highly qualified specialist. The competences, formed at lectures and seminars, are additionally perfected by out-of-class activities. The students regularly take part in modernization projects. The game in organizational management “Human resources determine everything” (the Museum of Political History) included the preparation and presentation of students’ projects of reorganizing the city’s enterprises. The interactive game stories and role-playing games at classes of sociology, law, social management regularly involve students of humanitarian, technical and science faculties. Such innovative forms of classes allow:
· To develop abilities in communication and creative qualities of future specialists;
· To develop intellectual abilities;
· To educate future leaders;
· To work out behavioral habits in conflicts;
· To form the skills to work under the pressure of shortage of time and information.
The department plans to introduce new optional classes of Internet culture, Technogenic factor in Human mind and others.
In order to establish closer ties with the University’s technical faculties the department now plans to extend the framework of its traditional seminar “The role of cultural studies in forming the Polytecnical University students’ humanitarian culture” and started annual seminars “Philosophy of engineering culture and humanitarian security”.
The department employs highly qualified staff, including professors and associate professors.