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Globalization and Empire


Admission requirements



The concept of First Global Age (1415-1776) has been broadly accepted as the first moment in history when one may speak of globalization as a historical process. This literature seminar will explore the relationship between concepts of globalization and the movement of European Expansion and the formation of Empires since the first steps of European expansion overseas until the decolonisation process many colonies underwent during the 20th century.

Course objectives

Students will acquire or increase their knowledge of:

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the specialisation Colonial and Global History and its historiography, more specifically:

  • comprehension of how global (political, socio-economic, and cultural) connections interact with regional processes of identity and state formation; hence insight in cross-cultural processes (including the infrastructure of shipping and other modes of communication) that affect regions across the world such as imperialism, colonisation, islamisation, modernisation and globalization (in particular during the period 1200-1940)

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialization Colonial and Global History, more specifically empirical research from a comparative and connective perspective

  • Acquire knowledge about the Great Divergence and global interdependence through the centuries and the historiographical debates surrounding these issues

  • Be able to discuss the connection between European expansion, formation of colonies and creation of empires and the on-going development of perceptions of historical globalization

  • Operationalize a range of concepts linked to discussions about globalization in history

Students develop and improve the following skills:

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

  • The ability to present accurately the views and ideas expressed in important studies in the field of Colonial and Global Historyhistory, and to express an opinion contributing to discussion

  • The ability to give constructive feedback on the work of others

  • The ability to write an essay

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

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar


Timetable History

Course Load

  • A total of 280 hours of both reading, participating in class and writing a final paper.
    There will be six sessions of two hours of intensive discussion and one individual meeting with one of the instructors to discuss the final paper.

Assessment method

Assignments will prove the following skills:

  • The ability to give a clear written report in English or Dutch.

  • The ability to give a clear oral report on the research results in English or Dutch

  • The ability to provide constructive academic feedback

  • The ability to engage with constructive academic feedback

Participation (30 % of final grade)

  • Write short-essays weekly

  • Give an oral presentation about one of the books

  • Act as commentator for an oral presentation by a fellow student

Final essay (70 % of final grade)

  • Write a book review incorporating the comments on the oral presentation



Reading list

  • David Held et al, Global Transformations. Politics, economics and culture, Cambridge: Polity, 1999.

  • G. Hopkins (ed.), Globalization in world history, London: Pimlico, 2002.

  • K. Ward, Networks of Empire : Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

  • Anthony Pagden, The Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France, c. 1500-c. 1800, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

  • Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra and Erik R. Seeman, The Atlantic in Global History, 1500-2000, London: 2007

  • Joseph Stiglitz, Making Globalization Work, New York: Norton, 2006


via uSis

Contact information

dhr. Dr. K.J. Fatah-Black
dhr. Dr. J.T. Lindblad