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Globalization and Empire


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.


This literature seminar will explore global approaches to the history of empire.
We will study six recent monographs by historians who each view a specific aspect of globalisation through an innovative lens. In class we will debate the implications of their methodological choices for the writing of inclusive global histories.

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

  • 6) 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 Colonial and Global History: how global (political, socio-economic, and cultural) connections interact with regional processes of identity and state formation; hence insight in cross-cultural processes (including the infrastructure of shipping and other modes of communication) that affect regions across the world such as imperialism, colonisation, islamisation, modernisation and globalisation (in particular during the period 1200-1940);

  • 7) (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

The student:

  • 8) Has acquired an understanding of different approaches to the history of empire;

  • 9) Has acquired an understanding of the tension between writing inclusive histories and the history of empire.


The timetable is available on the MA History website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours

  • Seminar attendance: 7 sessions of 2 hours: 14 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 250 hours

  • Assignment(s): 6 ACQI assignments: 6 hours

  • Final assignment: 10 hour

Assessment method

  • Essay (3000 words)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-4, 6, 8-9 (ResMA also: 5 and 7)

  • AQCI Assignments
    Measured learning objectives: 1-4, 6, 8-9 (ResMA also: 5 and 7)

  • Oral Presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 1-4 (ResMA also: 5)

  • Discussant
    Measured learning objectives: 1-4 (ResMA also: 5)


Written paper/essay: 60%
Weekly assignments (AQCI): 30%
Oral presentations and class participation (discussant): 10%

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.


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


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Submitting AQCI’s

  • Submitting the final paper

Reading list

  • Sebastian Conrad, What is Global History? (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016).

  • Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton: a Global History (New York, NY: Knopf, 2014).

  • Janet Polasky, Revolutions without Borders: the Call to Liberty in the Atlantic World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015).

  • Marlene L. Daut, Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865(Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015).

  • Su Lin Lewis, Cities in Motion: Urban Life and Cosmopolitanism in Southeast Asia, 1920-1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

  • Carl Nightingale, Segregation: a Global History of Divided Cities (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2012).


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. C.M. Stolte
Dr. K.J. Fatah-Black