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Europaeum - Historiography


Admission requirements

This course is part of the MA History: Europaeum Programme. If other students wish to follow this course, they should contact the Coordinator of Studies


This course discusses major trends and debates in modern historiography through close readings of relevant texts. The discussions and assignments will focus on three aspects:
a) the most important developments in modern historiography;
b) major concepts in the philosophy of history; and
c) methodological issues involved in the writing of an MA thesis.

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

The student has acquired:

  1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subtracks as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following:
    -in the specialisation Europaeum: the European identity in comparative perspective; the development of European culture and society; international comparison; archival research; the perspective of one of the three different traditions – Leiden, Sorbonne and Oxford;

  2. (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:

  1. Becomes familiar with the most important developments in modern historiography;

  2. Becomes conversant with major concepts in the philosophy of history;

  3. Becomes aware of the methodological issues involved in the writing of an MA thesis;

  4. (ResMA only): develops knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and its position vis a vis other disciplines.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)

This means that students must attend every session of the course. Students who are unable to attend must notify the lecturer 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 lecturer will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, the student will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Attendance and participation (students will be expected to take active part in class discussions)
    measured learning objectives: 1, 3, 6, 8-11

  • Oral presentation/peer review (students will present the topic of their final assignment; they will also provide comments on a colleague’s presentation and participate in the general discussion following the other presentations)
    measured learning objectives: 1-3, 8-10

  • Final assignment (students will be required to write the introduction to their MA thesis or to another research topic of their choice; ca. 2500 words)
    measured learning objectives: 1-11


  • Attendance and participation: 25 %

  • Oral presentation/peer review: 25 %

  • Final assignment: 50%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of all the assignments, with the additional requirement that the final assignment has to be marked 6 or higher for students to pass.

Research MA students are required to write a longer final essay, in which they are expected to engage more deeply with the theoretical concepts they use in their approach and ideally offer an inter- or multi-disciplinary perspective (their word limit for the final essay is approx. 3500 words). They are also expected to demonstrate these skills in their oral presentation and overall participation.


Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Brightspace.


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

Inspection and feedback

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. 

Reading list

Optional: Students who have attended no BA History courses and/or are insufficiently familiar with basic historiographical methodologies are advised to get the following book: Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods (2001).

The mandatory readings that will be discussed in class (articles & book chapters) will be available online.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


  • For course related questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.


Not applicable.