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History of Migration and Diversity


Entry requirements

  • Students from the LDE programme Governance of Migration and Diversity, tracks Sociology, Public Administration and Development Studies follow this course for 5 EC.

  • Students in the History track will follow the course for 10 EC.

Note: this course is only available for student who take the track Governance of Migration and Diversity. MA History students can only enroll for the course in the second semester (catalog number: 5774IMG07).


This course is given at and by Leiden University, and is part of the Governance of Migration and Diversity Master programme.

From the early 2000s onwards, the term migration management started to replace migration control.This was done in order to emphasise the fact that more parties were involved in managing migration, than only national governments. The term migration management was new, but attempts to control migration were not. Governance of migration goes back centuries. How did authorities try to manage or control migration? Who was trying to manage migration in the past?

In the past also non-state actors – such as public and private organisations including religious organisations, shipping companies, and employers – played a crucial role in these attempts. How, when and why was this migration management different from current forms of migration management? What can we learn from the past? How would you advice policy makers?

Migration led to shifts in the differences that made a difference within society. In the past, migration led to the introduction of new religions, new ethnic groups, new gender roles, and shifts in class relations. We will analyse how, when and why societies changed because of migration, and how migration changed because of changes in society. There were shifts in differences that made a difference because of developments that had little or nothing to do with migration, such as the rise and demise of emancipatory movements (feminist, religious, class), secularisation, colonisation and decolonisation, geo-political changes (i.e. Cold War) and economic changes.

In this master we will study shifts in the governance of diversity from a longitudinal perspective and within the context of large scale developments. For the class students can choose from a large number of very diverse sources: government white papers, newspapers articles, interviews, archives of organisations (local, national, or European).

Students can – but need not – take this class on the historical perspective on migration and diversity as part of the one-year sub-specialisation Master programme in Governance of Migration and Diversity, which integrates knowledge on migration from several disciplines (see beneath under ‘Remarks’).

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1 The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2 The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;*

  • 3 The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

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

  • 5 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;

  • 6 The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7 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;

  • 8 The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9 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;

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

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 11 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);

  • 12 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 has acquired:

  • 13 The ability to employ a interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences);

  • 14 The ability to study migration from a comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic);

  • 15 The ability to work with a large variety of primary sources;

  • 16 (ResMA only): The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources; the ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates.


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

  • Attendance: 26 hours

  • Preparing for class/reading literature: 48 hours

  • Preparing presentations: 16 hours

  • Carrying out research: 90 hours

  • Writing paper: 98 hours

Assessment method

  • Written paper (ca. 7500 words, based on research in primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 1-9, 12-15 (ResMA also 10 and 16)

  • Oral presentation
    measured learning objectives: 3-7

  • Participation and assignments
    measured learning objectives: 11-12, 13-15 (ResMA also 16)


  • Written paper: 70%

  • Oral presentation: 20%

  • Class participation: 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.

Additional requirements for the ResMa students:
The paper has to be based on more extensive archival research or research based on primary sources. The student has to show (especially in the paper) innovative insights.


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


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Course information

  • Literature

Reading List

Literature will be announced via Blackboard
No books need to be bought. Articles can be downloaded via the Leiden library website.


Not applicable

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Marlou Schrover


Information new sub-specialisation

The sub-specialisation Governance of Migration and Diversity offers:
Knowledge helping you address governance issues related to migration and diversity from a multidisciplinary perspective;
Courses offered by leading scholars from three universities and five academic disciplines;
Education that directly relates to current issues and trains students to contribute to the governance of migration and diversity in the context of very different organisations.

Unique combination

This master programme is a collaboration between Erasmus University Rotterdam (including the Institute for Social Studies in The Hague), Leiden University and Delft University of Technology. The cooperation between these universities provides a unique combination of varied expertise within a single master programme. Besides the general part with mandatory disciplinary courses, students can also apply to one of four tracks: History (Leiden University), Sociology, Public Policy (both Erasmus University) and International Relations & Development (ISS, The Hague). The general and the track-specific parts each comprise 50% of the master programme.

Career opportunities

This programme specifically develops professional skills in terms of designing governance strategies around concrete cases in the joint governance course, as well as within the master specialisations. Graduates of Governance of Migration and Diversity will be suited candidates for (research) positions in organisations in civic society (e.g., unions, political parties, research institutes), governmental organisations (policy-makers, policy advisors, lobbyists) and business organisations (e.g, HR, consultancy) on the local, national or international levels.

For the full programme of this sub-specialisation see the website of Governance of Migration and Diversity.