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Digital Approaches to Historical Inquiry


Admission requirements

This class is restricted to BA3 students taking either the 15 or 30 EC package in Digital Humanities. Students are expected to have the skills taught in Data Visualization and the Humanities or Hacking the Humanities. If you are interested in taking this course but do not meet the prerequisite, please contact the lecturer.


This seminar course provides an opportunity to think radically about the modes and expectations of doing historical research in a digital age: originality, compelling questions, sources, analysis, interpretation, writing, presentation, and public engagement. Students will be encouraged to experiment with new methods and approaches to historical research enabled by digital technologies. Additional training in database design, text mining, data visualization, and digital storytelling will be given.

Course objectives

Students will learn how to think creatively and critically about the uses of quantitative materials, data visualization, cultural artifacts in digital form, and new media in building historical narratives. By the end of the course, students will have acquired the skills that will allow them to tell compelling stories using digitized and born-digital sources.


Timetable semester 2

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Seminar: 13 x 2 (26 hours)

  • Study of compulsory literature: (40 hours)

  • Assignment(s): (26 hours)

  • Paper/project preparation and writing: (40 hours)

  • Oral presentation prep: (8 hours)

Assessment method


  • Assignments

  • Paper (or online project)

  • Oral Presentation based on paper/project


  • Attendance and Participation: (10 percent of grade)

  • Assignments: (30 percent of grade)

  • Paper (or online project): (50 percent of grade)

  • Oral Presentation: (10 percent of grade)




Blackboard will be used for:

  • Provide course materials

  • Course communication

Reading list

The up-to-date syllabus, which includes all of the readings for the course, can be found at

Course materials will be distributed via Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren Contractonderwijs



Dr. P.A. Vierthaler