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Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the present


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.


This seminar focuses on important and fairly recent scholarly views and insights in the field of Politics, Culture and National Identities. The basic assumption behind this seminar is that the study of politics, culture and national identities gains in significance once these aspects are considered from an international comparative perspective.
In this respect, the concept of ‘political transfer’ plays an important role, implying the adoption of inspiring foreign examples (e.g. social movements, symbols, political parties).
The course begins with some theoretical reflections on this field of research. Thereafter, the seminar focuses on important studies of the history of the western world in the nineteenth and twentieth century from an international comparative perspective.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 2) 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;

  • 3) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 4) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 5) (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 6) 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 Politics, Culture and National Identities: political practices, symbols and perceptions, nationalism, and national identities in a cultural and societal context from 1800.

  • in the subspecialisation Political Debate: political debates and debating styles in the Netherlands and abroad, both from a historical and a current perspective.

  • 7) (ResMA only): Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Literature Seminar

The student:

  • 8) has acquired thorough knowledge and comprehension of the approach of comparison and political transfer and their role in current historiography.


The timetable is available on the MA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours

  • Lectures: 14 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 160 hours

  • Assignment(s): 46 hours

  • Final Paper: 60 hours

Assessment method


  • Essay (a relatively small essay, but it will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired while writing the small assignments)

  • 6 Assignments (short written reflections on the required reading)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-7

  • Participation (in class discussions)
    Measured learning objectives: 2-3

  • For ResMa students only: extra assignment which demonstrates the ability to apply the knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines
    Measured learning objectives: 1-7


Written paper : 50%
Participation : 20%
Assignments : 30%

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


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

Exam review

How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • posting assignments and papers

  • communication

Reading list

Stefan Berger, The Past as History: National Identity and Historical Consciousness in Modern Europe (Basingstoke 2015).
Piet de Rooy, Ons stipje op de wereldkaart (Amsterdam 2014) or Tiny Spot on the Earth: The Political Culture of the Netherlands in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century (Amsterdam 2015, also online).
Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-1867 (Cambridge 2002).
Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1875-1914 (London 1987).
Mark Mazower, Dark Continent. Europe’s Twentieth Century (London 1998).
Additional literature in the form of articles will be announced around the start of the course in class and on Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. M.J. Janse Dr. H.J. Storm