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Political Culture and National Identities


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


This seminar focuses on important scholarly views and insights in the field of Political Culture and National Identities. The basic assumption behind 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 nineteenth and twentieth century from an international comparative perspective; in the last session we consider global comparisons and connections.

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;
    1. 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;
    1. The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;
    1. (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

    1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following:
    • in the specialisation Political Culture and National Identities: political practices, symbols and perceptions, nationalism, and national identities in a cultural and societal context from 1800;
    1. (ResMA only): Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines.


See Timetable and deadlines History

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hrs = 280 hours

  • 7 sessions: 14 hours

  • Literature: c. 160 hours

  • Assignments (excluding literature): c. 46 hours

  • Final essay: c. 60 hours

Assessment method


  • Final essay (this is a rather small essay, but it will incorporate the knowledge and skills acquired while writing the small assignments)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-6

  • 6 Assignments: short written reflections on the literature
    Measured learning objectives: 1-6

  • Participation in common discussion in class
    Measured learning objectives: 2-3

  • For ResMa students only: extra assignment which demonstrates the ability to apply the knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines
    Measured learning objectives: 1-6

Written final essay: 50 % (for ResMa students this will include the extra assignment)
Participation: 20 %
Assignments: 30 %

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficient

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


Blackboard will be used to post assignments, papers and for communication.

Reading list

  • H. te Velde, ‘Political Transfer: An Introduction’, European Review of History 12 (2005) pp. 205-221

  • Stefan Berger, ‘Comparative History’ in: Stefan Berger, Heiko Feldner and Kevin Passmore eds., Writing History: Theory and Practice (London 2003) pp. 161-180.

    • Ronald P. Formisano, ‘The Concept of Political Culture’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2001) vol 3, pp 393-426
  • Piet de Rooy, Ons stipje op de wereldkaart (Amsterdam 2014) or Tiny Spot on the Earth : The Political Culture of the Netherlands in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century (Amsterdam 2015, also online).

  • E. Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1875-1914 (London 1987).

  • M. Mazower, Dark Continent. Europe’s Twentieth Century (London 1998).

  • Chr. Clark, The Sleepwalkers. How Europe went to War in 1914 (London 2012)

  • Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (London 2004)

Additional literature will be announced around the start of the course in class and on Blackboard.


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Semester I: mw. Dr. N.K. Beyens
Semester II: dhr. Dr. P.G.C. Dassen