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Queer History Since 1700


Admission requirements

BSA norm and a pass for both first year Themacolleges.


The history of homosexuality in Europe in intimately intertwined with economic, social, and political histories. Sexuality is often considered a private matter, but state regulations, church teachings, psychiatry, mass media, and popular culture regulate and shape our sexuality in various ways. Historically, homosexuality has been defined in terms of desires, behaviors, and identities. This course takes us from eighteenth-century sodomitical subcultures, through the long sexual revolution(s) of the 1920s‐30s and 1960s‐70s, to today’s heated debates about LGBTQ rights in a multicultural Europe. The course centers on cases and readings from the Netherlands, and contextualizes them with related histories from England, France, Germany and Scandinavia. The Netherlands has been on the forefront of transnational discussions of homosexuality, most notably since 2001 when the country became the first in the world to legalize marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. In many ways, this spirit of activism extends back to the Nederlandsch Wetenschappelijk Humanitair Komitee, founded in 1912 by (Leiden graduate) Jacob Schorer. Yet Dutch attitudes toward homosexuality have not always been so liberal; thus, we explore anxieties about homosexual sex in the Dutch colonies, or the widespread fear (in the early twentieth century) that teenagers were “seduced” into homosexuality. Today, attitudes toward LGBTQ rights structure Dutch and wider European public discussions about asylum rights, naturalization exams, and EU membership. In addition to tying historical discussions of homosexuality to current events, we will explore how our own sexualities are shaped by history.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

  • 1) carry out a common assignment

  • 2) devise and conduct research of limited scope, including
    a. searching, selecting and ordering relevant literature:
    b. organising and using relatively large amounts of information:
    c. an analysis of a scholarly debate:
    d. placing the research within the context of a scholarly debate.

  • 3) reflect on the primary sources on which the scholarly literature is based;

  • 4) write a problem solving essay and give an oral presentation after the format defined in the first year Themacolleges, including
    a. using a realistic schedule of work;
    b. formulating a research question and subquestions;
    c. formulating a well-argued conclusion;
    d. giving and receiving feedback;
    e. responding to instructions of the lecturer.

  • 5) participate in discussions during class.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialization

  • 6) The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically; - in the specialisation Economic History: the worldwide interaction of trading networks in the early modern period, the nineteenth century industrialisation of the Netherlands in a worldwide perspective, and the political economy of a globalising economy in the twentieth century; - in the specialisation Social History: the explanation(s) of differences between groups from a comparative perspective (local, regional or international; of class, gender, ethnicity and religion) and the role of individuals, groups, companies and (intenational) organisations (including churches) in processes of inclusion and inclusion from ca. 1500 until the present day.

  • 7) Knowledge and insight in the main concepts, the research methods and techniques of the specialisation, more specifically:
    in the specialisation Economic History of the use of economic concepts in history writing and insight in the interaction between policy and economy; the use of both qualitative and quantitative sources;
    in the specialisation Social History: of the application of concepts from the social sciences and the acquisition of insight in the interaction in social processes ased on research in both qualitative and quantitative sources.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific seminar

  • 8) Place current debates in a historical perspective

  • 9) Aquire awareness for diversity

  • 10) Link historical research to policy


The timetable is available on the BA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (attendance required)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is required to notify the teacher beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Lectures: 28 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature, preparing for classes: 30 hours

  • Assignment(s): 30 hours

  • writing paper: 192 hours

Assessment method

  • Written paper (5000-6000 words, based on historiography, excluding title page, table of contents,footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 2-4, 8-10

  • Oral presentation
    measured learning objectives: 3-4

  • Participation
    measured learning objectives: 5

  • Assignment 1 (review literature)
    measured learning objectives: 1,2, 4

  • Assignment 2 (draft paper)
    measured learning objectives: 1,2

  • Assignment 3 (section on current debates)
    measured learning objectives: 8-10


  • Written paper: 60 %

  • Oral presentation: 20%

  • Particiation:5 %

  • Assignment 1: 5%

  • Assignment 2: 5%

  • Assignment 3: 5%

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.


Written papers should be handed in within the given deadline, as published in the corresponding Blackboard course.


The written paper can be revised, when marked insufficient. Revision should be carried out within the given deadline, as published in the corresponding Blackboard course.

Exam review

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


Blackboard will be used for:

  • publication course outline

  • communication of deadlines for assignments and papers

Reading list

  • Literatuur wordt aan het begin van de collegereeks bekend gemaakt op Blackboard. Er hoeven geen boeken of syllabi te worden aangeschaft.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. A.D.J. Shield


Language: English, but papers and presentation can be done in Dutch