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Europaeum - Historiography


Admission requirements

This course is designed for students enrolled in the Europaeum program.
If other students wish to follow this course, they should contact the instructor directly. Only students with a relevant BA degree may follow this course.


This course discusses major trends and debates in modern historiography through close readings of relevant texts. The discussions and assignments will focus on three aspects:
a.) The most important developments in modern historiography;
b.) Major concepts in the philosophy of history;
c.) Methodological issues involved in the writing of an MA thesis.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  1. The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;
  5. (ResMA only): The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;
    • in the specialisation Europaeum Programme – European History and Civilisation: Leiden-Oxford-Paris programme: state formation in Europe; European identity from a comparative perspective; the development of culture and society in Europe;
  2. (ResMA only): Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Literature Seminar

  1. To become familiar with the most important developments in modern historiography;
  2. To become conversant with major concepts in the philosophy of history;
  3. To become aware of the methodological issues involved in the writing of an MA thesis;
  4. (ResMA only): To develop knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and its position vis a vis other disciplines.


The timetable is available on the MA History website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Students are expected to attend all classes, read the required materials, and actively participate in oral discussions of the assigned texts.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Seminars (2 hours per week x 13 weeks): 26 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 20 hours

  • Preparation oral presentation: 32 hours

  • Writing of final assignment: 62 hours

Assessment method

All learning objectives will be measured through:

  • Attendance and participation (students will be expected to take active part in class discussions)

  • Oral presentation/peer review (students will present the topic and chosen approach of their final assignment; they will also provide comments on their colleagues’ presentations)

  • Final assignment (students will be required to write the introduction to their MA thesis or to another research topic of their choice; ca. 2500 words)


Attendance: 5%
Participation: 20%
Oral presentation/peer review: 25%
Final assignment: 50%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of all the assignments, with the additional requirement that the final assignment has to be marked 6 or higher for students to pass.

Research MA students are required to write a longer final essay, in which they are expected to engage more deeply with the theoretical concepts they use in their approach and ideally offer an inter- or multi-disciplinary perspective (their word limit for the final essay is approx. 3500 words). They are also expected to demonstrate these skills in their oral presentation and overall participation.


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


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Communication

  • Sharing readings

Reading list

Optional: Students who have attended no BA history courses and/or are insufficiently familiar with basic historiographical methodologies are advised to get the following book:

  • Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods (2001).

The mandatory readings that will be discussed in class (articles & book chapters) will be available online.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. Felicia Roșu