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Prospectus

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Stateformation and dynastic rule, 1300-1800

Course
2014-2015

Admission requirements

-

Description

This research seminar will discuss the role of the dynasty as a ruling group in late medieval and early modern Europe. It intends to shed new light on two major developments: a) the consolidation and centralization of domestic power ; and b) the emergence of the European states system and its diplomacy. Recent research has shown that state formation was not a continuous march toward the ‘modern state’, but a haphazard development during which administrative fragmentation long survived and the king was a ‘chief negotiator’ rather than an ‘absolutist’ dictator. ‘New diplomatic history’ no longer focuses on the development of a professionalized caste of ‘diplomats,’ but rather on networks of informants, informal diplomacy and cultural exchange.

Both schools of thought do not allow sufficient room for the dynasty as a ruling group, that is, both the ruler and his/her relatives. This small group invariably supplied the most powerful persons in a state, capable of either hindering or stimulating centralizing tendencies. Internationally, the dynastic interests of rulers and their relatives dominated the scene well into the eighteenth century. We must ask what role these small power groups played in both the consolidation of state power, and the emergence of a European state system. To what extent did centralized rule imply the disenfranchisement of royal relatives? How were changes in succession practices – for instance, the introduction of primogeniture – negotiated between rulers, royal relatives and local elites? How did dynastic interests rank alongside religious objectives and reason of state in international relations? Students will engage with these questions, focusing on a particular dynasty and state, according to their own interests and language skills.

Course objectives

Abilities and knowledge:

  • The ability to independently identify and select sources, especially relevant to the history of Europe 1000-1800.

  • The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question

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

  • The ability to interpret a corpus of sources

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the historiography relevant to state formation and international relations in Europe, 1000-1800

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the history of Europe, 1000-1800, particularly with regard to the use of primary sources, historical debates regarding this period, and the relationship between political units on the one hand, and cultural, religious and economic networks on the other.

Extra course objective for Res Ma students:

  • The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources

  • The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates

  • Knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialisation

Timetable

View Timetable History

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total: 280 hours

  • Seminars and lectures: 28 hours

  • Self studie for seminars and lectures: 56 hours

  • Writing a paper and presentation: 196 hours

Assessment method

Participation and weekly assignments (15%), demonstrating the following skills:

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

  • The ability to provide constructive academic feedback

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the history of Europe, 1000-1800 and its historiography

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the the history of Europe, 1000-1800

Presentation (15%), demonstrating the following skills:

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

  • The ability to provide constructive academic feedback

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the history of Europe, 1000-1800 and its historiography

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the the history of Europe, 1000-1800

Paper (70%), demonstrating the following skills:

  • The ability to independently identify and select literature and sources and interprete and analyse them

  • The ability to give a clear written report on the research results in English

  • The ability to engage with constructive academic feedback

  • The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the history of Europe, 1000-1800 and the historiography of either state formation, or international relations

  • Knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the the history of Europe, 1000-1800

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:

  • The final grade for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements, that all subtests must be completed and the paper must be sufficient.

  • The first two additional objectives for Research Master students are assessed through the essay. The third one is assessed through their participation in class and presentations.

  • The course specific objectives are assessed through participation in class and presentations.

Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the teacher.

Blackboard

Blackboard is used for this course:

  • Dissemination of information

  • Sharing research result

Reading list

  • Hillay Zmora, Monarchy, Aristocracy, And The State In Europe 1300-1800 (London, New York 2001) (full-text in the digital library)

  • Paula Sutter Fichtner, Protestantism and primogeniture in Early Modern Germany (Yale 1989) (availably second-hand through bol, amazon, abebooks etc.)

  • Further reading will be announced on blackboard.

Registration

via uSis

Contact

mw. Dr. E.M. Geevers

Remarks

If only native speakers of Dutch participate, the course can be taught in Dutch.