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Literature seminar CMGI: History of Inequality


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.


In this course we will study various themes relating to the history of inequality, which is the core subject of the research programme Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence 1500 - Now. We study the history of inequality at local, national and global levels and from an intersectional perspective. How do inequalities emerge, endure or change? What are the wider repercussions of inequality, either at an individual level or for societies at large? We will examine how and why inequalities changed, how these changes affected the lives of people and by which means actors influenced these changes, and the restrictions they encountered. The course will provide a forum for extensive debate about key theories, concepts and analytical tools in social and economic history and in particular the history of inequality, including theories related to gender and sexuality. Themes such as inequalities between countries, in the labour market, and in cities will also feature in the assigned literature.

The course is compulsory for students who are completing the MA in Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  1. The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  2. 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;

  3. 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;

  4. The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  5. (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 Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence, focusing particularly on 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); when focusing on an economic subject, on the origin and outcomes of the Great Divergence, developments in political economy since ca 1600, increasing global interdependence throughout the centuries, and the development of global governance in the twentieth century.

  2. (ResMA only): Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Literature Seminar

The student:

  1. Has knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialization, more specifically: the application of concepts, research methods, theories and models relating to the history of inequality;

  2. Has insight into the argumentation of current debates on inequality in social and economic history

  3. Is informed about and take part in the on-going historical debate on this subject.


The timetables are available through 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


  • Weekly essays based on literature

measured learning objectives: 1-4, 6, 8-10 (ResMA also 5,7)

  • Individual performances in class/ active participation (preparation and discussion, providing and engaging in constructive academic feedback)

measured learning objectives: 1-4, 6, 8-10 (ResMA also 5,7)

*Final essay/book review

measured learning objectives: 5, 8-10(ResMA also 5,7)

Research Master students will be given an additional assignment at the organizational level.


  • Written essay(s): 60%

  • Individual performances in class/ active participation:15%

  • Final essay/ book review: 25%

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

The required readings will be published 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 course coordinator listed in the right information bar.

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