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Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern History II


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.


In this course we will examine two current debates in the history of medieval and early modern Europe. The aim of the literature seminars is both to let students get acquainted with historiographical developments and have them think about the production of historical knowledge itself. We will therefore not just be charting how historical debates develop, but crucially also investigate why they do so.

Debate I: The History of Emotions (Den Hartog), week 1-3

In the last decade, the history of emotions has gained momentum, developing into a productive and intellectually stimulating area of historical research. The history of emotions is based on the assumption that both the experience and the expression of the emotions are learned. Culture and history are changing and so are feelings as well as their expression. The social relevance and potency of emotions is historically and culturally variable. Universal expressions must be understood within the specific context of a given society. In this part of the seminar, we will discuss the sources, methods and conceptual frameworks that scholars have used to make sense of the emotional life of the Middle Ages.

Debate II: Diasporas in Early Modern Europe (Lionel Laborie), week 5-7

The early modern period saw numerous episodes of forced migrations as a result of state persecution and religious violence. These communities have traditionally been described as ‘diasporas’ and studied separately from one another. In recent years, however, scholars have drawn attention to the existence of both intra- and extra-diasporic networks and increasingly questioned the very notion of ‘diaspora’ because of the the social cohesion, mutual trust and cultural homogeneity it implies. In this seminar, we will discuss some of the best-known examples of early modern diasporas (Huguenots, Catholics, Sephardim and Ashkenazim Jews, Mennonites, Moravians…) and compare what united them, while considering their heterogeneity and the cross-cultural interactions that ensued from it.

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:

6.Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisationsor subtracks as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;

-in the specialisationEurope 1000-1800: 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.

  1. (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. will have a thorough knowledge of two current historiographical debates on cross-cultural interactions in medieval and early modern history: one related to the history of emotions, the other to [diasporas].

9.understands the complexity of these debates in terms of the use of historical concepts; has the capacity to engage with current debates on the history of emotions as well as early modern diasporas.

10.will be able to develop her/his own critical view of a specific aspect of these debates through oral presentations and written papers, based on the reading of several recent monographs and a selection of articles.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

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, he is required to notify the lecturer 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 lecturer 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


  • Final written paper(s)

measured learning objectives: 1-6, 8-10 (ResMA also: 7)

  • Active articipation in class:

measured learning objectives: 2, 4-6, 8-10 (ResMA also: 5)

  • Oral presentation

measured learning objectives: 1-6, 8-10


  • Final written paper, debate I: 30%

  • Final written paper, debate II:30%

  • Active articipation in class, part I: 10%

  • Active articipation in class, part II:10%

  • Oral presentation, debate I: 10%

  • Oral presentation, debate II: 10%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written papers 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

Debate I:

  • Will be announced later.

Debate II:

  • Monge, M., & Muchnik, N. Early Modern Diasporas. A European History (London: Routledge, 2022)

  • Further reading will be announced later.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.

General information about course and exam enrolment 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.