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Comparative Urban History: Global Questions, Local Sources


Admission requirements

There are no specific admission requirements


In this course, important socio-economic questions are answered by comparing cities and towns within and outside Europe between 1500 and 1900. The comparison of cities provides explanations of important historical developments, such as economic growth, the success of trade networks, migration patterns, crime, poor relief and the working of guilds.
The course starts with an introduction to comparative urban history and the most important questions and sources in urban history. In the following weeks the lectures will deal with economic and social historical debates in relation to various theories and concepts and the local context of cities in Europe and beyond. The courses teach students to link important questions in the field of social-economic history to the local context of cities, and to find explanations for such questions by comparisons.

Course objectives

*General learning objectives
The student can:

    1. organise and use relatively large amounts of information
    1. reflect critically on knowledge and understanding as presented in academic literature

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

    1. The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically of {choose from list below}
    • in the specialisation Economic History the worldwide interaction of trading networks in the early modern period, the nineteenth century industrialisation of the Netherlands in a worldwide perspective, and the political economy of a globalising economy in the twentieth century;
    • in the specialisation Social History the differences of class, gender, ethnicity and religion; the transfer of people, goods and ideas; connections between people (individually and collectively), companies, states and (international) organisations (including churches) from 1600. Insights from this are used to explain current events and developments;
  • Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific lecture series*

    1. Acquiring knowledge of cities in history and the relation between urbanization and social and economic developments in and beyond Europe.
    2. Acquiring knowledge of important social and economic questions, debates and concepts on urban history.
    3. Connect the literature to the weekly lectures .
    4. Connecting social and economic questions in history to the local urban context, and apply this to research in the BA and MA phase.


Zie Rooster Geschiedenis

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

Total course load: 5 EC x 28 hrs = 140 hours

  • Lectures: 26 hours

  • Reading literature/preparation for exams: 114 hours.


All learning objectives of this course will be assessed through two subtests:

  • Midterm examination: a written examination with 5 essay questions, based on the literature and the lectures of the first period.

  • Final examination: a written examinations with 5 essay questions, based on the literature and the lectures of both periods.

Midterm examination: 50%
Final examination: 50%

The final mark for the course is establised by determination of the weighted average.

Students are allowed to take again those subtests that were marked insufficient. The resit exam will take place on one single resit, at which both subtests are offered. For this resit three hours will be reserved, so that students will be able to retake both subtests, if necessary.
Please note that students can only take a resit when their final grade is insufficient. Subtests that were marked sufficient cannot be retaken.

Exam dates
See Rooster/aanmelding Geschiedenis (in Dutch)


Blackboard will be used for this course.

Reading list

The time schedule, reading list and other information regadering the course are available on Blackboard.


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte


mw. Prof.dr. M.P.C. van der Heijden
Huizingabuilding, room 209
Tel. 071 5272670