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Anti-immigration since the late nineteenth century


Admission requirements

BSA norm and a pass for both first year Themacolleges


Dutch anti-immigration politicians, most notably Pim Fortuyn and Geert Wilders, have featured prominently in discussions about migration and integration in the Netherlands since the early 2000s. Anti-immigration also featured prominently in explanations put forward to explain Brexit and Trump’s victory. But anti-immigration has a much longer history. This course will examine anti-immigration since the late nineteenth century around the world. Particular attention will be paid to Europe and North America, but examples from Australasia, the Middle East and Africa will also be discussed. We will look, for instance, at Australia’s imposition of its infamous White Australia Policy, the United States’ move to restrictionism in the early twentieth century, the hostile reception that German Jewish refugees often met with during the Depression-hit 1930s, and the varying treatment ‘postcolonial’ immigrants received after 1945. We will also study the rise of anti-immigration parties across Europe in more recent decades. This course will try to understand why anti-immigration rhetoric became prominent at certain times. Is anti-immigration a result of economic or cultural opposition, or both? Is anti-immigration inevitable when extensive immigration takes place? Is anti-immigration bottom-up or top-down? What role has the media, including social media more recently, played at times when anti-immigration sentiments rise? Most readings will take the form of journal articles, but primary sources will be provided to enable us to examine the rhetoric used by prominent anti-immigrant voices. Students are expected to use both primary and secondary sources for their research papers.

This course will be connected to the Kerncollege ‘Global Conections’.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

  • 1) carry out a common assignment

  • 2) divise and conduct research of limited scope, including
    a. searching, selecting and ordering relevant literature:
    b. organising and using relatively large amounts of information:
    c. an analysis of a scholarly debate:
    d. placing the research within the context of a scholarly debate.

  • 3) reflect on the primary sources on which the scholarly literature is based;

  • 4) write a problem solving essay and give an oral presentation after the format defined in the Syllabus Themacolleges, including
    a. using a realistic schedule of work;
    b. formulating a research question and subquestions;
    c. formulating a well-argued conclusion;
    d. giving and receiving feedback;
    e. responding to instructions of the lecturer.

  • 5) participate in discussions during class.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialization

  • 6) The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically in the specialisation Social History of the explanation(s) of differences between groups from a comparative perspective (local, regional or international; of class, gender, ethnicity and religion) and the role of individuals, groups, companies and (intenational) organisations (including churches) in processes of inclusion and inclusion from ca. 1500 until the present day.

  • 7) Knowledge and insight in the main concepts, the research methods and techniques of the specialisation, more specifically in the specialisation Social Historyof the application of concepts from the social sciences and the acquisition of insight in the interaction in social processes ased on research in both qualitative and quantitative sources.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific seminar

  • 8) The ability to apply the knowledge of theories related to anti-immigration to historical case studies

  • 9) The ability to compare the political and public reaction to immigration in different countries

  • 10) The ability to relate past political and public immigration debates with more recent discussions.


The timetable is available on the BA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (attendance required)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is required to notify the teacher 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 teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours

  • Seminar attendance: 28 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory weekly literature – much of which will be relevant for the research paper (6 hours x 14): 84 hours

  • Time to prepare seminar presentations, the most important of which concerns the research paper: 16 hours

  • Time to complete assignments (8 hours x 1 for literature review, 24 hours x 1 for interview and related short essay): 32 hours

  • Time to write and research the first draft of the research paper: 60 hours

  • Time to write and research the final draft of the research paper: 60 hours

Assessment method

  • Written paper (ca. 6000 words, based on historiography, including footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 2-4, 8-10

  • Oral presentation x 2
    measured learning objectives: 2-7, 8-10

  • Participation
    measured learning objectives: 3, 5, 8-10

  • Assignment 1 (Literature review)
    measured learning objectives: 1-3, 8-10

  • Assignment 2 (Interview)
    measured learning objectives: 1-3, 8-10


  • Written paper: 60%

  • Oral presentations: 15% (1 x 5% and 1 x 10%)

  • Participation: 10%

  • Literature review: 5%

  • Interview: 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.


Written papers should be handed in within the given deadline.


The written paper can be revised, when marked insufficient. Revision should be carried out within the given deadline.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • The course outline

  • Seminar readings (or links to the literature)

  • Submission of assignments.

Reading list

Most of the readings will take the form of articles that can be downloaded from the University Library. The list will be distributed via Blackboard in advance of the first meeting. Primary sources will also be provided for each week.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Irial Glynn


This course will be taught in English. It will give students the added advantage of enhancing their language skills.