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The Uneasy Relationship of the Left with Immigration: An International Comparison (1880 to the Present)


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Labour parties and unions have always had an ambivalent attitude towards immigrants. One the one hand they advocate international solidarity of workers, but on the other hand they depend on the support and votes of native workers, who at times express nativist attitudes towards what they regard as unfair competitors at the labour market, or worse as their inferiors, culturally and or racially. Examples run from late 19th century United States and France to present day populist anti-immigration feelings among significant parts of the working class. Key question of this seminar is under what conditions anti-immigrant sentiments can flourish, and the opposite, under what conditions labour parties and unions have been able to let class solidarity prevail.

We will start with three weeks of intensive reading, completed with a visit to the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam, which has the world’s largest collection of printed and archival materials on the labour movement. These materials will serve as the basis for the individual research projects, on the basis of which students will write a 7,500 words paper.

Course objectives

*General learning objectives

  • The student has acquired:

    1. The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;
    1. The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;
    1. The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
    1. The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
    1. 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;
    1. The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;
    1. 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;
    1. The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;
    1. (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

    1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following:
    • in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: 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);
    1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subspecialisation in question, with a particular focus on the following:
    • in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar
The student:

    1. Will learn how to select and master large textcorpora and archival materials and be able to find in a systematic way the relevant data needed for their analyses.
    1. (ResMA only): ResMA students have developed:
      a. The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources;
      b. The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates;
      c. Knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialization.


See Timetable and deadlines History

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hrs = 280 hours

  • seminar (inclusing visit to IISH and closing workshop): ca. 30 hours

  • Studying compulsory literature, sources and writing a paper: ca. 250 hours

Assessment method


  • Written paper (ca. 7500 words, based on research in primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-8, 11, 12, 13

  • Oral presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 3-7 and 9

Written paper: 80 %
Oral presentation: 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 sufficent.

Written papers should be handed in within the given deadline

Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.


Blackboard will be used to inform students and to post reading materials.

Reading list

To be added through Blackboard.


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


dhr. Prof.dr. L.A.C.J. Lucassen