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Antisemitism and Racism from the Middle Ages to ca. 1800


Admission requirements

BSA norm and a pass for both first year Themacolleges.


Is there any kind of continuity between medieval European prejudices and more modern racism? Were the forms of marginalization and violence against minorities, in particular the Jews, the forerunners of modern equivalents? The question has since long been raised for antisemitism; it is now being explored, with controversies, for racism in general, countering the earlier orthodoxy that there is no such thing as "race" in the Middle Ages (just the religious binary christian-pagan and fluid ethnicities). Besides the longue durée ponderings about continuities and breaks we shall study issues of conjuncture: How does prejudice look when contextualized at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels?

The course connects in obvious fashion with the Kerncollege De grenzen van de macht/The Boundaries of Power’ (sem. I), as Antisemitism involves both “boundary setting” and the tactical or ideological function of accusations for power, either neighbourly or political.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

  • 1) carry out a common assignment;

  • 2) devise and conduct research of limited scope, including:
    a. searching, selecting and ordering relevant literature:
    b. organising and using relatively large amounts of information:
    c. an analysis of a scholarly debate:
    d. placing the research within the context of a scholarly debate.

  • 3) reflect on the primary sources on which the scholarly literature is based;

  • 4) write a problem solving essay and give an oral presentation after the format defined in the first year Themacolleges, including:
    a. using a realistic schedule of work;
    b. formulating a research question and subquestions;
    c. formulating a well-argued conclusion;
    d. giving and receiving feedback;
    e. responding to instructions of the lecturer.

  • 5) participate in discussions during class.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 6) The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically of:

  • in the specialisation Medieval History: the medieval origins of European history; in particular of ethnicity, state formation, international trade and shipping, and contacts with the non-European world.

  • in the specialisation General History: the place of European history from 1500 in a worldwide perspective; with a focus on the development and role of political institutions;

  • 7) The student has knowledge and insight in the main concepts, the research methods and techniques of the specialisation, more specifically of the history of Antisemitism

  • in the specialisation of Medieval History: the use of late medieval administrative sources and historiography in relation to the Netherlands in the broad sense; paleography, knowledge of primary sources.

  • in the specialisation General History: the study of primary sources and the context specificity of nationally defined histories.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific seminar

  • 8) The student gains knowledge of the history of antisemitism in western and central Europe from the Middle Ages to circa 1800;

  • 9) The student gains an understanding of the major social, cultural, religious and political dimensions of antisemistism;

  • 10) The student practices designing, documenting, and conducting his/her own historical research on a relevant topic that will be based primarily on secondary literature, as well as reports (orally and in writing) on it.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (attendance required)

This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If you are not able to attend, you are 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 you do not comply with the aforementioned requirements, you will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Seminar paper (5.000-6.000 words based on secondary literature, as state of the field on a sub-topic; does not include cover page, table of contents, bibliography, footnotes)
    learning objectives: 2-4, 7-8

  • Oral Presentation
    learning objectives: 3-4, 7-8

  • Participation
    learning objectives: 1, 5, 8

  • Assignment 1 (report on historiography)
    learning objectives: 6, 9

  • Comment on peer's paper
    learning objectives: 4d


  • Seminar paper: 60%

  • Oral presentation: 10%

  • Comment on peer's paper: 10%

  • Participation: 10%

  • Assignment 1: 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.


The written paper can be revised, when marked insufficient. Revision should be carried out within the given deadline, as published in the corresponding Brightspace course.

Inspection and feedback

How and when a final paper review (rewrite) will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review (rewrite) within 30 days after publication of the final results, a review (rewrite) will have to be organised.

Reading list

To be announced.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.


Not applicable.