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The Making of a Criminal Migrant: Migration, Gender and Otherness, 1700-1940


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.


Migration and criminality have often been linked: the fear of 'the other', the common tendency to accuse the outsider of committing an action against the welfare of the community and the representation by certain media of immigrants as inherently ‘bad’ led to further misconceptions about the relation between migration and criminality.

In relation with the concept of intersectionality, this research seminar is using an historical perspective to debunk the myth of the criminal migrant. The current debates and research on migration and criminality will be opposed to historical data. We will look at how state control was imposed upon migrants in Europe in the past two centuries and compare quantitative and qualitative data on foreign-born offenders. We will discuss the issues linked with illegal crossing of the border and smuggling, petty offending and the responses of the court to these forms of criminality. Any bias of the courts and the system put in place to deal with foreign-born offenders (for instance extradition) will be questioned. Parallel to the study of the legislation, students will be introduced to the issue of representation of the foreign criminals through the lens of newspapers.

The second part of this module will be dedicated to research in the archives and source critique. Criminal archives and contemporary newspapers will be analyzed to highlight the perception of ‘the other’ in a criminal setting. In addition, attention will be paid to the different ways we can work with sources, for example by means of quantitative or qualitative analysis.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) 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;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 10) (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 11) 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 Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the manner in which migrations (of people, goods and ideas) between and within states have led to shifts (in cohesion, ethnic composition, policies, imaging, culture, and power relations) in the period 1600-2000, with a focus on (urban) networks (within and across borders);

  • 12) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subspecialisation in question, with a particular focus on the following:

  • in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources;

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar

The student:

  • 13) Has developed knowledge of the debates in crime and gender history in relation to migration.

  • 14) Has developed knowledge of and skills for interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences) and the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic);

  • 15) The ability to work with a large variety of primary sources

  • 16) (ResMA only) – The ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources; The ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates.


The timetable is available on the MA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Lectures/seminars: 26 hours

  • Preparation tutorials/reading literature: 48 hours

  • Carrying out research: 90 hours

  • Preparation presentation: 16 hours

  • Exam/writing paper: 100 hours.

Assessment method


  • Written paper (ca. 7500 words, based on research in primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-9, 11-15 (ResMA also 10 and 16)

  • Oral presentation:
    Measured learning objectives: 3-7, 9

  • Participation in class:
    *Measured learning objectives: 11-15 (ResMA also 16) *


Written paper: 70%
Oral presentation: 20 %
Participation in class: 10 %

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


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

Exam review

How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Schedule and course information

  • Submitting assignments

Reading list

We will use articles and books that can be downloaded/ borrowed from the university library.
The list will be distributed during the first meeting.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr Marion Pluskota