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Political Culture and National Identities


Admission requirements

There are no specific admission requirements for this course.


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

  • The ability to analyze and evaluate literature and sources for the purpose of producing an original scholarly argument

  • The ability to analyze and evaluate the methods used in the literature to be studied

  • Insight into the social relevance of history

  • Knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations and its historiography, more specifically: political practices, symbols and perceptions, nationalism, and national identities in a cultural and societal context from 1800;

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation, more specifically: international comparison and transfer; the analysis of the specific perspectives of secondary studies; a cultural-historical approach of politics and a political-historical approach of culture;

Extra course objective for Res Ma students

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis a vis other disciplines


View Timetable History

  • 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)

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 280 hours:

  • 14 hours of class

  • app. 20 hours writing essays

  • 20 hours writing the final essay

  • 226 hours reading and taking notes

Assessment method

The ability to give a clear written report on the research results in English or Dutch is asessed by short papers and a final paper; the ability to give a clear oral report on the research results in English or Dutch plus the ability to provide constructive academic feedback is asessed by class discussions and a presentation.
Course objectives 1 through 5 plus the ability to engage with constructive academic feedback are assessed by all of the above.
Course objective 6 (for RES-MA students) is assessed by an extra written assignment dealing with extra literature.

The course is assessed by presentation and participation (20%), short papers (40%) and a final paper (40%).


During the course Blackboard will be used for:

  • Publication of the programme

  • Communication with students

Reading list

See timetable.


Via uSis


Mr. Dr. B.E. van der Boom