What are Rare Disciplines?

"[The distinction of rare and common disciplines – and as a result the origin of the term 'Rare Discipline' – dates back to the development of the 'university of the masses' in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960's. Because growing numbers of students and in its consequence the increasing equipment as well didn't spread evenly among all disciplines, the disciplines now grown into 'mass disciplines' faced those like Egyptology or Pre- and Early History remaining small.] ..." (Source: https://www.kleinefaecher.de/kartierung/was-ist-ein-kleines-fach.html)

" [...] To distinguish Rare from Common and Rather Common Disciplines a quantitative criterion is used which refers to the number of chairs per location. According to this, a Rare Discipline does have no more than three permanent professorships per university location although there are up to two exceptions possible in all over Germany. Since not every branch of science constitutes per se a distinct discipline it is necessary to define disciplines towards those non-distinct subdisciplines.

For this purpose five criteria are used:

  1. self-conception as an independent discipline [...]
  2. [national/international] expert association[s] [...]
  3. [national/international] specialist journal[s] [...]
  4. Own permanent professorships [...]
  5. Own degree courses/areas of studies [...]"

(Source: https://www.kleinefaecher.de/kartierung/was-ist-ein-kleines-fach.html)

Video: University of Jena

Just orchids? – The Rare Disciplines of the Faculty of Arts at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Orchids are considered extraordinary and fastidious plants which are admired in many respects and collected by connoiseurs. Some specimens are under conservation due to their rareness. "Orchid Discipline" is the colloquial term for a rather uncommon, extraordinary discipline and therefore worth protecting. Official terminology lists these disciplines as "Rare Disciplines".

There exist altogether 37 so-called Rare Disciplines at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, 21 of them at the Arts Faculty which is Faculty of Founding and one of the biggest faculties of the university. 12 institues provide a place to study for more than 3400 students. The Arts Faculty considers itself a classic faculty with focus on language and literature, arts and philosophy, history and communication. The consequential range of studies is very multifarious and comprises more than 27 bachelor degree courses, 25 master degree courses as well as 11 teacher traning courses. More than one quarter of the Arts Faculty's  range of courses accounts for Rare Disciplines.

In spite of their specialisation, Rare Disciplines occupy important methodic and contentual hinge positions in teaching and research of different specialist disciplines. Their potentials often get clear not until closer examination with their content. Moreover they have a high social and cultural impact. At this point the Rare Discipline Weeks of the Arts Faculty in the Winter Semester of 2019/2020 beginAn diesem Punkt setzen die Kleinen Fächer-Wochen der Philosophischen Fakultät im Wintersemester 2019/20 an: Via a potpurri of events the range of study's variety is made visible and the topics and perspectives of the Rare Disciplines come into public focus. At the same time the interdisciplinary networking of the Rare Disciplines among each other is encouraged.

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