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Ending civil war and rebellion, ca. 1300 - ca. 1700


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. Students from within the specialization the course belongs to have right of way. It is not accessible for BA students.


Recent history is replete with armed violence within states involving ordinary citizens, and with attempts to work through the consequences, for instance Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. In pre-modern Europe, war was not just the business of professional warriors and the princes and republics who employed them. During rebellions and civil wars, groups of subjects could also become involved in violent conflicts that could last for many years. Sometimes they fought in order to challenge local ruling elites, or protect group interests. On other occasions they used violence in order to challenge their peers in their community. In such situations, and especially when there was no clear winner, such conflicts were hard to settle, and peace-making could become very complicated.

In this class we will first study the strategies that Europeans used to try and restore civic peace, ranging from judicial violence and reparations, to agreements to ‘forget’ that conflicts ever happened. Having mapped these out collectively through secondary reading, we will then ask what primary evidence we can use to test the effectiveness of such strategies. You will put your ideas to the test by researching the primary evidence for a a case-study of your choice, on which you will write an individual paper. ResMA students will be given given additional responsibility for developing comparisons between the cases that the group is studying, and for exploring approaches to processes of peace making that have been developed in other disciplines.

Students are required to take an entry test for this course. Information on this assignment will be published through Brightspace two weeks before our first class.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  1. The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;
  2. The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;
  3. The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
  4. The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
  5. The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;
  6. The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;
  7. The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;
  8. The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;
  9. The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;
  10. (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

The student has acquired:

  1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the specialisation or subtrack as well as of the historiography of the specialisation Europe 1000-1800, with a particular focus on the broader processes of political, social and cultural identity formation between about 1000-1800; awareness of problems of periodisation and impact of ‘national’ historiographical traditions on the field.
  2. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation Europe 1000-1800, with a particular focus on the ability to analyse and evaluate primary sources from the period, if necessary with the aid of modern translations; ability to make use of relevant methods of quantitative and qualitative analysis to interpret sources in their textual and historical context.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminars

The student:

  1. will gain insight in the nature of rebellion and civil war in this period
  2. will gain insight in processes of retribution and peace-making
  3. will get acquainted with the primary evidence that can be used to study these processes in the period
  4. (ResMA only) will develop their comparative skills
  5. (ResMA only) will explore (theoretical) approaches to processes of peace-making that have been developed in other disciplines.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)

This means that students must attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, the student is required to notify the instructors beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the instructors will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. Students who do not comply with the aforementioned requirements, the student will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Written paper (6500-7500 words, based on research in primary sources, excluding title page, table of contents, footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 1-8, 11-15 (ResMA also: 16-17)

  • Entry test
    measured learning objectives: 4, 11-14

  • Oral presentation
    measured learning objectives: 2-7, 11-15 (ResMA also: 16-17)


  • Written paper: 70%

  • Entry test: 10%

  • Oral presentation and other assignments: 20 %

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficient.


Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Brightspace.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Inspection and feedback

How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.

Reading list

Course readings will be announced through Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • For course related questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.