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Exploring the Past in the Digital Present


Admission requirements

This class is restricted to BA3 students taking either the 15 or 30 EC package in Digital Humanities. Staff and Graduate students are welcome to audit (parts of) the course, if space permits.
For any questions regarding the admission requirements, please contact the lecturer.


As quintessentially present-day phenomena, digital approaches provide many surprising opportunities for exploring the past. At the same time, in academic, public, and (creative) industry spheres, the past is becoming ever more important as (part of) digital products.
In this course we will look at a number of ways how this creation of digital histories and heritages opens up as well as shapes the study of the past. We will do so by discussing a wide range of topics, including the democratization of the past through online platforms, the visualization of temporal processes, video games as historytelling, historical ontologies, and agent-based-modelling. What these tools or media have in common is that they ask us to structure our understanding of the past in specific ways and thereby allow us to think and communicate more effectively about it.
In this course, the past ‘starts yesterday’ and is a shared space. In other words, you will be able to focus on a period, event, character or other aspect of the past, which you think is important and fun to explore. You can also do this as part of a team, if you choose to. The result of these explorations will be shared with your peers during the course and, if you like to, also with the public at large via the course website.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, you will:

  • Use computational thinking and tools to benefit and structure your understanding and communication of history.

  • Understand how digital approaches can power a variety of explorations into the past and be able to communicate their potential and pitfalls to peers.

  • Know where to find some of the inspiring media, projects, and thinkers in this field.

  • Plan and run an outward-facing digital historical project.

  • Have a working knowledge of a variety of tools that enhance the kit of a digital historian as well as other humanity researchers.

  • Critically reflect on the use of historical data or the reflection of past actors, events, and places in digital forms.

  • Share research results in a way that is accessible for a wider audience.-


Dag en tijd waarop de cursus wordt aangeboden of een link naar het rooster op de opleidingswebsite. De link naar de roosterpagina kan door de onderwijsadministratie gevuld worden.

Please visit MyTimetable

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Assignments

  • Participation

  • Final project


Assignments: 40 percent
Class Participation & Peer Feedback: 20 percent
Final project: 40 percent
Final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Students who have scored an overall insufficient grade for the course may take a resit for the assignments and the final project, in the form of a comprehensive take-home test (in place of assignments) and a project or paper assigned by the lecturer.

Exam review

Reading list

The reading and other resources for this course can be found at


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. Angus A. A. Mol