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The History of Everyday Life under Authoritarian Regimes


Admission requirements

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


Over the last two decades research on the history of authoritarian regimes has acquired a new direction: attention has shifted away from ‘high politics’ to the arenas of everyday life. This new research has revealed that the role of the private sphere in these societies was more important than had been previously assumed. This seminar will discuss the trajectories of everyday life in societies in which the state sought to control citizens through surveillance and propaganda, while the citizens often devised imaginative ways to escape that control. The course will pay extended attention to communist Eastern Europe as a great deal of research has been undertaken recently on this region. Other case studies will include the Iberian dictatorships under Franco and Salazar and the Latin American dictatorships. As such, the course will raise the question if the ideological orientation of authoritarian regimes (whether left-wing or right-wing) made an impact on the lived experiences of their citizens. Topics to be discussed include various approaches and methodologies for the study of everyday life, the work sphere and domestic sphere, gender and sexuality, material culture and consumption, recreation, high culture and popular culture. Special attention will be given to the experiences of children and the young generation under authoritarian regimes, such as youth culture, counterculture and deviance.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) 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;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) 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;

  • 10) (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:

  • 11) 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 Politics, Culture and National Identities: political practices, symbols and perceptions, nationalism, and national identities in a cultural and societal context from 1800;

  • 12) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation Politics, Culture and National Identities: international comparison and transfer; the analysis of the specific perspectives of secondary studies; a cultural-historical approach of politics and a political-historical approach of culture.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar

The student:

  • 13) Will become familiarized with the methodologies used for research into the the history everyday life;

  • 14) Will become familiar with conceptual frameworks used to analyze societal attitudes under authoritarian regimes;

  • 15) Will develop the ability to provide and handle constructive academic feedback

  • 16) (ResMA only) Will be able to pioneer new approaches or new research questions on the topic.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he 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, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Written paper (6500-7500 words, based on research in primary sources, excluding title page, table of contents, footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 1-8, 11-15 (ResMA also 10 and 16

  • Oral presentation
    measured learning objectives: 3-7, 8, 11-15

  • Assignment: film or book review
    measured learning objectives: 1-4, 7-8, 11-12

  • Participation
    measured learning objectives: 5-7, 8-9, 15


  • Written paper: 70%

  • Oral presentation: 10%

  • Assignment : 10%

  • Participation: 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.


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

Required literature will be made available via Brightspace and in the university library.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Monika Baar