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Keys to the Treasure Trove


Admission requirements



Social and economic historians often apply models and theories from the social sciences to explain historical patterns and developments. This methodological course hands you the keys to the treasure trove, which contains the tools for doing professional research in social and economic history. A thorough knowledge of material and method will be a source of inspiration and will enable you to develop creative ideas and plan your future research. Experts from the field of social and economics history will learn you to the tricks of the trade. Several of the courses will be taught on site (for instance at archives).

This course is organized by the N.W. Posthumus Institute, Research School for Economic and Social History in the Netherlands and Flanders. ResMA Students from other universities that are member of the Posthumus Institute are encouraged to participate. This also means that the course ususally has an inspiring group of students from different universities.

Course objectives

Course objectives are:

  • Embedding your personal research interests in methodological traditions.

  • Training in the use of theories and various primary sources.

  • High level training in presentation skills, both in written and oral form.

The student will achieve:

  • The ability to independently identify and select sources

  • The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources

  • The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question

  • The ability to analyze and evaluate literature and sources for the purpose of producing an original scholarly argument

  • The ability to interpret a corpus of sources

  • The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates

The aim of the course is to develop knowledge and comprehension of the specialisation social and economic history or Migration and Global Interdependence and its historiography. Specifically knowledge and comprehension of the methodological tools applied in the specialization, for example: – statistics – network analysis – historical demography – large digitized text corpora – Geographical Information Systems (GIS) – discourse analysis – oral history


Timetable History

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load Total:(280 hours)

  • 7 sessions (each of 4 hours, scheduled bi-weekly) = 28 hours

  • Compulsory Literature 12 × 6 = 60 hours

  • Hand-in assignments: 12 × 10 = 120 hours

  • Additional Literature and final essay: 100 hours

Assessment method

  1. Written assignments demonstrating the following skills:
  • The ability to independently identify and select literature

  • The ability to give a clear written report on research results in English or Dutch

  • The ability to engage with constructive academic feedback

  1. A presentation and participiation in class discussions, demonstrating the following skills:
  • The ability to give a clear oral report on the research results in English or Dutch

  • The ability to provide constructive academic feedback

Assessment and grading method (in percentages):.

  • essay, assignments, etc. 80%

  • oral examination 10%

  • presentation, abstract 10%

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:

the final grade for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) the additional requirement that all assignments are handed in.



Reading list

The booktitles and / or syllabi to be used in the course, where it can be purchased and how this literature should be studied beforehand.
Distributed at first meeting


via uSis


mw. Prof. dr. Schrover
dhr. Dr. L.J. Touwen

Remarks All other information.