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Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the present


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.


This seminar focuses on important and fairly recent scholarly views and insights in the field of Politics, Culture and National Identities. The basic assumption behind this seminar is that the study of politics, culture and national identity gains in significance once these aspects are considered from an international comparative perspective.

In this respect, the concept of ‘political transfer’ plays an important role, implying the adoption of inspiring foreign examples (e.g. social movements, symbols, political parties).
The course begins with some theoretical reflections on this field of research. Thereafter, the seminar focuses on important studies of the history of the western world in the nineteenth and twentieth century from an international comparative perspective.

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

The student has acquired:

  1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subtracks as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;
    -in the specialisation Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the Present: political practices, symbols and perceptions, nationalism, and national identities in a cultural and societal context from 1800.
  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

The student:

  1. has acquired thorough knowledge and comprehension of the approach of comparison and political transfer and their role in current historiography (Etc.)


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 teacher 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 teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, the student will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Written essay (2.000-2.500 words; which should incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired while writing the small assignments)
    measured learning objectives: 1-4, 6, 8 (ResMA also: 5 and 7)

  • 6 assignments (short written reflections on the required reading)
    measured learning objectives: 1-4, 6, 8 (ResMA also: 5 and 7)

  • Active participation in class
    measured learning objectives: 2-3, 8

  • For ResMa students only: extra assignment which demonstrates the ability to apply the knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines)
    measured learning objectives: 1-8


  • Written essay: 50%

  • Participation: 20%

  • Assignments (for ResMA: including extra assignment): 30%

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

  • Stefan Berger, The Past as History: National Identity and Historical Consciousness in Modern Europe (Basingstoke 2015).

  • Piet de Rooy, Ons stipje op de wereldkaart (Amsterdam 2014) or Tiny Spot on the Earth: The Political Culture of the Netherlands in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century (Amsterdam 2015, also online).

  • Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-1867 (Cambridge 2002).

  • Richard Evans, The Hitler Conspiracies (Oxford 2020).

  • Mark Mazower, Dark Continent. Europe’s Twentieth Century (London 1998).

  • Additional literature in the form of articles will be announced around the start of the course in class and on 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.


Not applicable.