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Digital Approaches to Historical Inquiry


Admission requirements

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.

Please note Students of the Minor Digital Humanities have priority. Students from other programmes can only be admitted if there are places left. Students from other programmes interested in taking this course are kindly requested to contact the Coordinator of Studies and the Lecturer, if you are interested in taking this course but NOT a student of the minor Digital Humanities. See also under registration below.


As quintessentially present-day phenomena, digital data and tools provide many surprising opportunities for studying the human past. It would be difficult to find a line of historical inquiry that would not be open to a digital approach, be it through accessing and analysing digital data-sets, computer-driven modelling of “what-if” scenarios, or tools that allow us to explore and visualize the links between historical actors, events, and places. Digital media also allow us to communicate the results of our studies to peers and the public in exciting new ways: from sharing your thoughts on a text through the cloud, to interactive historytelling, and visualizations that play with historical perspectives. As you will see, digital history provides a space that can function both as a research laboratory and as a public playground.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, you will:

  • Understand how digital approaches can power a variety of historical inquiries and be able to communicate their potential and pitfalls to peers.

  • Link digital approaches with a historical perspective of (digital) culture and society.

  • Know where to find some of the inspiring media, projects, and thinkers in this field.

  • Plan and run an outward-facing digital historical project.

  • Have a working knowledge of a variety of tools from the kit of a digital historian.


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 literature and online learning: (38 hours)

  • Assignment(s): (26 hours)

  • Project presentation prep and peer Feedback: (10 hours)

  • Final project/paper: (40 hours)

Assessment method


Assignments: 30 percent
Course reading, discussion of literature: 15 percent
Class Participation & Peer Feedback: 15 percent
Final project: 40 percent

Final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Students who have scored an overall insufficient grade for the course may take a resit for the assignments and the final project, in the form of a comprehensive take-home test (in place of assignments) and a project or paper assigned by the lecturer.


Blackboard will be used for general course announcements and the distribution of some of the literature.
The full syllabus of the course can be found at

Reading list

The reading and other resources for this 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 à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. A.A.A. Mol