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Research Workshop: Historical Sources and Questions in the Urban Arena

Vak
2021-2022

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.

Description

Why is Leiden’s castle, situated in the city centre, without a roof? Why is its gate adorned with the coats of arms of seventeenth-century patricians? How come the Latin School is just a stone’s throw away from St Peter’s church? Our spatial and material surroundings constantly confront us with a myriad of historical questions. These can be triggered by the city’s spatial layout, its buildings and material infrastructure such as canals and bridges, but also by inscriptions or street names, the archival sources, chronicles, poems and visual images produced by the people living in the city. Departing from the city as a research arena, in this course we will train how to explore these questions by delving into the archives and special collections, museum depots and archeological digs. It addresses the dynamics of research practices, practicing how to work heuristically back and forth from questions, to sources, and back again to research questions, and hermeneutically interpreting primary sources.

Students must have read the following literature for the Entry test:

  • Christopher R. Friedrichs, Urban Politics In Early Modern Europe (Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2000);

  • Carol Symes, ‘Out in the Open, in Arras: Sightlines, Soundscapes, and the Shaping of a Medieval Public Sphere’, in Caroline Goodson, Anne E. Lester and Carol Symes (eds), Cities, Texts, and Social Networks, 400-1500: Experiences and Perceptions of Medieval Urban Space (Farnham, 2010), 207-301.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  1. The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;
  2. The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
  3. 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;
  4. The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;
  5. 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;
  6. The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;
  7. 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;
  8. (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 Europe 1000-1800: the 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;
  2. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subtrack in question, with a particular focus on the following;
    -in the specialisation Europe 1000-1800: the ability to analyse and evaluate primary sources from the period, if necessary with the aid of modern translations; ability to make use of relevant methods of quantitative and qualitative analysis to interpret sources in their textual and historical context.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Workshop

The student:

  1. will develop the ability to independently identify and select different types of sources (textual, material, spatial, visual), using traditional and modern techniques, pertaining to urban history in Europe 1000-1800;
  2. will develop the ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, reflecting on the typology of different sources and the data they produce, and to present the results concisely;
  3. will develop the ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources pertaining to urban history with a view to addressing a particular historical problem using different methods of analysis.

Timetable

The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Workshop (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

Assessment

  • Poster presentation (presenting research question based on primary sources)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-4, 9-13

  • Oral group presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 4-7

  • Assignment 1 (Written report on sources)
    Measured learning objectives: 1, 11

  • Assignment 2 (Written report on source analysis)
    Measured learning objectives: 2-3, 12, 13

  • Assignment 3 (Entry test)
    Measured learning objectives: 9-11

Weighing

  • Poster presentation: 40%

  • Group presentation: 10%

  • Assignment 1: 20%

  • Assignment 2: 20%

  • Assignment 3: 10%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the poster presentation must always be sufficient.

Deadlines

Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Brightspace.

Resit

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

  • Christopher R. Friedrichs, Urban Politics In Early Modern Europe (Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2000)

  • Carol Symes, ‘Out in the Open, in Arras: Sightlines, Soundscapes, and the Shaping of a Medieval Public Sphere’, in Caroline Goodson, Anne E. Lester and Carol Symes (eds), Cities, Texts, and Social Networks, 400-1500: Experiences and Perceptions of Medieval Urban Space (Farnham, 2010), 207-301

  • Additional literature to be announced.

  • Further reading materials to be announced at the beginning of the course.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Contact

  • 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.

Remarks

None.