Who Is Barbora, the Freelance Historian?

Kdo je vaše dějepisářka

I come from a city robbed of its history by the post-war era.
A city in the North of Bohemia, Liberec.
That might have been the source of my fascination with history from a young age.

At the age of twelve, I was reading biographies of Roman emperors by Allan Massie and Fury by Colin Falconer.

You can imagine the mess these books made in a teenager’s head.

But I was eager to learn, and my passion grew.

Dějepis s Barborou

History: a digression or the highway?

History was always supposed to be a mere hobby. A digression that can never sustain me in life.

Thus, I entered the Faculty of Education and added history as a second subject to English. You know, one can always earn a living with foreign languages.

However, when I sat in my first history class in 2006, and the teacher addressed us as “historians,” I felt my childhood passion grow again.

Really? Can I be a historian? Can I dedicate my life to history as such? Let’s do this!

When you are twenty, you rarely think about what you will do in life. You should, but you don’t. At the age of twenty, you dream. And my dream was to earn my living as a historian – enter the Ph.D. studies and then… then we’ll see.

I can teach; I am a teacher, and the academic career can be a side hustle.

In 2013, I started my PhD studies in history at the Faculty of Education. At the same time, I began to teach English at a primary school.

Soon, I understood that I didn’t want to teach. And most of all, I want to teach something other than history.

Why? How could I teach history that matters, with a schedule where history takes two lessons a week and the lessons are usually late in the afternoon? How could I, in these conditions, invite students to ask the right questions? To teach them historical thinking?

I know many excellent teachers who do just that. They are original; they teach children how to think and research independently.

They prepare unique projects and organize conferences and events for their colleagues and students.

These are the people the educational system relies on but does not value.

I knew this was not for me when I started maternity leave in 2016.

As the years passed, I dreaded the moment I had to return to my job as a teacher.

At home with a child, I relished that all I had to do was take care of my youngster and finish my Ph.D. I studied with a kid on my lap, wrote papers, participated in conferences, and started teaching history at the Faculty of Education.

It was a paradise for me, and I did not want to lose it.

But even then, the dream grew a little darker. I knew that an academic career could not sustain me; University teachers in the Czech Republic are paid miserably.

And as I struggled with my Ph.D. thesis, I slowly realized that I am not an academic. I felt shunned by my brilliant colleagues, who were patient enough to do the hard work in the archives. And there was no place for creativity in the academic papers.

I felt revived when an opportunity allowed me to write an article not for other academics but for the general public.

And I detested the whole scholarships and money distribution system in the academic world.

In 2020, I got my Ph.D. and realized with terror that I never thought beyond this moment.

And as my maternity leave drew to an end, I had to figure out what to do.

And first and foremost, what to do with history that I loved more than anything.

Výuka dějepisu s historičkou

A Freelance Historian?

At that time, I read an article by a Czech political scientist, Hynek Tippelt, provocatively titled: “Why and how should we stop supporting public education?”

I saw my doubts in clear letters before me. The author wrote about teachers’ burnout on all levels, bored students, narrow-minded curriculum, terrible pay rates of university teachers, and the stale and destructive system of assessing the academic work in the name of the “publish or perish” motto.

The article’s author implied that the only way to democratize the system is to support private schools. You see, in the Czech Republic, education is free, which is excellent. However, the finances dedicated to the schools are far from satisfactory. Private schools, on the other hand, face all kinds of obstacles and regulations.

For people in the Czech Republic, the mere thought of competition and free market rules in education is unthinkable.

But at the time, I started my business as a freelance copywriter and acquired a business mindset.

I have decided to run a freelance historian’s business. To teach history privately. I did not know what precisely to do, but I had a dream.

I heard from all sides how crazy the idea was.

“Nobody will pay you for history.”

But my answer shocked most of my colleagues: “If nobody is willing to pay for history, then what right do I have to take money from the state to teach it? What sense does it make to teach history if people don’t think it matters?”

I love history, and I want to teach it. But I swore that if society is unwilling to pay for historical knowledge, I will not take money from the state for my passion.

My first historical project grew in small steps. I had to learn everything from scratch: website building, marketing strategy, social media, graphics, e-book writing, podcasts, and running my own new business as a copywriter at the same time. Not to mention the kids.

And above all, I did not know what history to teach and write about.

It took me more than two years to find the way. To define the topics I want to write about and the forms of presenting them. I found my readers in the Czech language and got my first subscribers.

Now, I am finally opening an English website.

historik na volné noze

History Rattles, Only If It Matters

I don’t earn my living with history; most of my income comes from copywriting. But history makes me enough money to assure me that I chose the right path in 2019.

I write history that rattles. I open uncomfortable questions, explain what we experience today with history in mind, and disrupt the stale waters of black-and-white thinking.

I teach history that matters. I draw attention to real people in history. To events and moments you rarely find in textbooks; however, life was quite different before them.


I strive to create a world where people search history to find the key to understanding the present, where they value historical knowledge and have fun learning it.
I want to help create a society where historical arguments do not easily manipulate people because they value history and know that the truth is rarely black and white.
History provides answers, but we have to ask the right questions. Join me on my mission. Help me open up the most burning questions and encourage people to seek answers.



I will never give up on history. History matters; history is the key, and history is passion. A society knowledgeable about history is a confident society. Let everybody study history. Let us bring it to people, by all means.


Every human being is valuable as such. Every human has a right to form their own opinions—today and in history. I teach history as a history of individuals, not mass, humanity, or structures. If we understand people in history who thought differently, but their desires, needs, and suffering were the same as ours, we will become more tolerant. Then, we can tolerate our neighbors with different worldviews with more ease.


Curiosity never killed anybody. Those who ask uncomfortable questions are the driving force of a free society. Let us be curious. And let us enjoy the discomfort of those who are either scared or lazy to think and doubt.

Open mind

I am always ready to accept a different point of view. History is not black-and-white and consists of events nobody could have predicted at that time. Remember that, and every discussion will become more cultivated. And discussion is the engine not only of democracy but of all relationships of all time.

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History In Marketing

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