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Political Culture and National Identities


Admission requirements


The seminar focuses on important and fairly recent scholarly views and insights in the field of Political Culture and National Identities. The basic assumption of this seminar is that the study of political culture and national identity 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 19th and 20th century from an international comparative perspective; in the last session we will look at global comparisons and connections

Course objectives

Students will acquire a profound understanding of the scholarly discussions in a relatively new field of research. This in turn serves as a basis for the other courses within the specialisation. A number of influential works will be read which students are expected to have studied prior to the session in which they are discussed.


See course-schedule

Mode of instruction

Seminar and literature review

Assessment method

Short papers and participation



Reading list

  • Week 1: Introduction

  • Week 2: Theoretical Articles (in library): H. te Velde, ‘Political Transfer: An Introduction’, European Review of History 12 (2005) 205-221 and Stefan Berger, ‘Comparative History’ in: Stefan Berger, Heiko Feldner and Kevin Passmore eds., Writing History: Theory and Practice (Londen 2003) 161-180.

  • Week 3: Theoretical Article (in library) E. Hobsbawm en T. Ranger eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge 1983) chapter 7 Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870-1914 and George L. Mosse, The nationalization of the masses: political symbolism and mass movements in Germany from the Napoleonic wars through the Third Reich (New York 1975; or other edition).
    Students are expected to purchase and read the following books:

  • Week 4: R. Aerts e.a., Land van kleine gebaren. Een politieke geschiedenis van Nederland 1780-1990 (Nijmegen 1999). E.H. Kossmann, The Low Countries (Oxford 1978) chapters VI, VIII, X. (Dutch version can be purchased, English version will be available in the library).

  • Week 5: E. Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1870-1914 (Londen 1987)

  • Week 6: M. Mazower, The Dark Continent. Europe’s Twentieth Century (Londen etc. 1998)

  • Week 7: C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914. Global connections and comparisons (Oxford 2004)


See enrolment-procedure


With the tutors: Prof.dr. H. te Velde and dr. H.J. Storm