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Global Memory Practices Since 1945


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.


When protesters in support of Black Lives Matter toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and threw it into Bristol Harbour in the summer of 2020, their actions represented the latest move in a remarkable shift in global memory culture: For nearly a century, survivors and opponents of genocide, political persecution, and imperial exploitation have made increasingly successful demands for space in the public sphere to tell their stories and make claims for justice and reparations. Our seminar will track dramatic shifts in what counts as a monument and which groups are considered worthy of remembrance. Each week of the syllabus is organized around major public and scholarly debates about history and its memorialization: First, what is a monument — should monuments be physical structures, or can archives, criminal trials, and other kinds of performance serve major public memorial functions too? What is the historic relationship between public monuments and nationalism, and how have contemporary memorial practices posed a challenge to this relationship? Do monuments always “matter,” and how has their public meaning shifted over time? How have survivors shaped (or been excluded from) public memory of their personal history? Finally, what are the ethics of representing traumatic history?
At the beginning of the course, students will have to turn in a brief writing exercise, due before our first class meets.

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:

  1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subtrack as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly in the specialisation Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the Present on political practices, symbols and perceptions, nationalism, and national identities in a cultural and societal context from 1800;
  2. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the Present: international comparison and transfer; the analysis of the specific perspectives of secondary studies; a cultural-historical approach to politics and a political-historical approach to culture.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar

The student has acquired:

  1. The ability to critically evaluate the relationship between history and memory across various national and trans-national contexts;
  2. Knowledge of how and why global memory practices have shifted over the last century;
  3. Knowledge of the interdisciplinary methods of memory studies, with particular attention to the critical role of historians in the field;
  4. (ResMA only) The ability to use a more complex corpus of sources in comparison to regular MA students; and/or the ability to set up and carry out original research which raises new questions, pioneers new approaches and/or and points to new directions for future research.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students must attend every session of the course. Students who are unable to attend are 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


  • 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: 10 and 16)

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

  • Active class participation
    measured learning objectives: 1-4, 8,9, 11-15


  • Written paper: 70%

  • Oral presentation: 10%

  • Class participation (including entry assignment): 20%

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

Readings will be made available on Brightspace.


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.