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Research Workshop: Xenophobia and labour migration: a global history


Admission requirements

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


This seminar focusses on xenophobic mob violence against labour migrants worldwide in the 19th-21st centuries. We will first of all look at the root causes and the conditions under which such violent erupts, and secondly at the sources that allow us to map and qualify such incidents. We will use secondary literature as well as primary sources from various parts of the world in a coherent comparative perspective. Students will choose certain cases and critically analyse both the context and explanations given by historians and social scientists, and secondly systematically evaluate the sources. What do they tell, what is left in the dark and to what extent do they allow us to deeply understand the phenomenon of xenophobic mob violence?

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 Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the manner in which migrations (of people, goods and ideas) between and within states have led to shifts (in cohesion, ethnic composition, policies, imaging, culture, and power relations) in the period 1600-2000, with a focus on (urban) networks (within and across borders);
  2. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subspecialisation in question, with a particular focus on the following;
    -in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources;

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Workshop

The student acquires:

  1. The skill to search and find relevant literature pertaining to the topic;
  2. An overview of the most important theoretical and analytical tools and insights;
  3. A good overview of the weaknesses and strengths of different kind of sources (from state document to newspaper accounts and oral evidence)


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Workshop (compulsory attendance)

This means that students have to 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, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Written paper (ca. 2.500-3000 words, based on research in primary sources)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-7

  • Oral presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 4-6


  • Written paper: 60%

  • Oral presentation: 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

  • Brubaker, R. (2002). "Ethnicity without groups." Archive of European Sociology 43(2): 163-189.

  • Wimmer, A. (1997). "Explaining xenophobia and racism: a critical review of current research approaches." Ethnic and Racial Studies 20(1): 17-41.

  • Hechter, M. (1994). "Reviewed Work: The Dynamics of Ethnic Competition and Conflict by Susan Olzak." European Sociological Review 10(1): 96-98.


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.