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Research Workshop: Unequal Citizenship and Emancipation in the Dutch Atlantic


Admission requirements

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


From a European perspective, the nineteenth century has been called the age of the citizen. Colonial subjects might have had similar aspirations, but the imperial structures created and maintained strict racial hierarchies. How and why did colonial states foster inequality? And what did colonial subjects do to mitigate the effects of exclusion and inequality? In this course we study the juridical, political and historical development of unequal citizenship and processes of emancipation. We will try to understand what citizenship could have meant to those who lacked it, and what steps they took to obtain it. The colonial archives hold many surprising documents revealing how this proces functioned in practice. In the context of an Erasmus+ exchange programme, lecturers from the Anton de Kom University in Suriname will join the course to teach about the emancipation of different colonized groups.

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 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. 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 *Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence**, including the subtrack Governance of Migration and Diversity: the interdisciplinary approach (application of theories, models and methods from social sciences and economics, when relevant), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Workshop

The student:

  1. will understand the structural inequality at the basis of nineteenth century imperial citizenship models;
  2. will familiarize themselves with debates on colonial and post-colonial citizenship;
  3. will obtain thorough knowledge of the structure and content of the colonial archives pertaining to the Dutch Atlantic;
  4. will be able to use colonial archival research to fill a gap in the literature on unequal citizenship in the Dutch Atlantic.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)

This means that students must attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is 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 (ca. 2.500-3000 words, based on research in primary sources)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-7, 14

  • Oral presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 4-6

  • Assignment 1 (Historigraphical essay)
    Measured learning objectives: 11,12

  • Assignment 2 (Archive plan)
    Measured learning objectives: 13

  • Assignment 3 (Research plan)
    Measured learning objectives: 14


Written paper: 60%
Oral presentation: 10%
Assignment 1: 10%
Assignment 2: 10%
Assignment 3: 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

  • Jack Harrington, The Uses of Imperial Citizenship: The British and French Empires (2020)

  • Charles W. Mills, Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (2017)


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.