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Global History


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.

Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


Global History addresses the large, structural patterns or webs that shape human experience from prehistory until the 20th century. The course examines connections as well as comparison; connections transcending societies, borders, cultures and regions and comparisons highlighting the differences and similarities between cultures as well as between the larger webs that (also) define them. Webs channeled and coordinated everyday human ambition and (inter)action and still do, often over distances unimagined. The history of these webs of interaction, exchange, cooperation and competition is by definition global. In the weekly lectures, the information in The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History (J.R. McNeill & W.R. McNeill, 2003) is explained, added to, and contextualized. The bi-weekly tutorials under the guidance of tutors help students to gain an in-depth understanding of the material and offer an opportunity for questions and remarks.

Course objectives

  1. To familiarize students with the fundamental concepts of global history – its themes, currents and historical facts; as we; as to facilitate an understanding how those concepts are used in the construction of global history narratives.
    1. To familiarize students with a range of concepts linked to discussions about globalization in world history
    2. To familiarize students with a chronology of global history that emphatically leaves behind older eurocentric perceptions of global history.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials. Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover both issues discussed in the readings, and issues outside of the readings.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load is 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours, broken down as follows:

Attendance in Weekly Lectures and Bi-Weekly Tutorials: 36 hours
Time for Reading/Studying Compulsory Literature: 54 hours
Time for Preparing Tutorial Assignments: 30 hours
Time for writing final essay: 20 hours

Assessment method

  • Tutorials 30%

  • Midterm Exam 30%

  • Final Exam 40%


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.
To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
To pass the course, the average of mid- and end term exams (70%) has to be 5.5 at least.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

J.R. McNeill & W.R. McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History (New York: W.R. Norton, 2003)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Hum – OSZ Global History