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Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern European History II


Admission requirements

Relevant BA degree


In this course we will be examining current debates in the history of medieval and early modern Europe. Students studies two debates, over a total period of six weeks.

Semester II, weeks 1-3

Dr. Raymond Fagel
Dr. Anteun Janse

The Military Revolution debate

Although the concept itself had been introduced by Michael Roberts as early as 1955, it was especially during the mid-nineties of the twentieth century, that military historians conducted an extensive debate on the existence, shape and chronology of a ‘Military Revolution’ during the Early Modern period. In our classes we shall examine at the arguments used, but also ask how ‘revolutionary’ this development was, given that elements of it can be traced back to the fourteenth century. We will also explore the importance of state formation and the relation between military developments and the rise of the West.

Geoffrey Parker, The military revolution: military innovation and the rise of the West, 1500-1800 (Cambridge University Press 2003). ISBN: 521 47958 4.
A. Ayton en J.L. Price, The medieval military revolution. State, society and military change in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Macmillan 1998). ISBN: 978-1-86064-353-8; ISBN10: 1-86064-353-1.
Additional reading to be announced in class

Semester II, weeks 4-6

Dr. M.A. Ebben
Dr. L.H.J. Sicking

Power politics and diplomacy. New approaches in the history of Western Diplomacy

One of the oldest fields in the discipline of history is the study of diplomacy. It is also often considered to be one of the most old-fashioned, conservative and Eurocentric, isolated from other areas of investigation and not susceptible to the theoretical and methodological innovations that have transformed almost every other sector of the profession. These crititicisms are only in part true. In the last decades diplomatic history has been very much influenced by other disciplines, especially the study of politics and anthropology. This course aims to analyse the developments in the historiography of medieval and early modern diplomacy since 1950. Special attention will be paid to new initiatives to innovate the study of the practice of diplomacy, its evolution, theory and administration.

M.S. Anderson, The Rise of Modern Diplomacy, 1450-1919 (London and New York 1993) 1-102, 149-162, 204-235, 291-293.

G. Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy (New York 1988).

Additional reading to be announced in class

Course objectives

Students (a) familiarise themselves with some key debates in the field (b)learn how to analyse and contextualise a historical discussion © learn how to discuss and analyse such a debate succinctly (d) learn how to write a review


The course is taught twice a year and only runs for six weeks. In these six weeks, two topics will be discussed – see the course description for the topics on offer.
See course-schedule

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Students will be asked to prepare and sometimes to report in writing on the reading they do for the classes. They will also write a short essay or review article on each of the two topics they study

Reading list

See above


See enrolment-procedure

Contact information

Judith Pollmann