Research areas

Department of History

The research programme of the Department of History consists of three pillars: Economic History, Historical Culture, and Global History. The key objective of these themes is to improve the understanding of developments in societies around the globe. In particular, by exploring and analysing long-term historical processes; the experiences, aspirations and struggles of the human past, how these were articulated, have been perceived, imagined and (re)mediated.


Economic History

This research strand focuses on processes of regional economic integration and transnational relations. While in recent centuries politicians were often nationalistic, companies became multinational or had intense trans-national relations.

The target of this programme is to analyse the tension between these two developments including the history of economic and political integration and disintegration. It combines applied economic theory, theories of international relations and combines traditional historical research with quantitative history and geographical information systems in historical research.


Historical Culture

Starting point for researchers working on this theme is a metaperspective on history: reflections on historical consciousness, the history of concepts, and narrativity. They analyse how people experience their multifaceted past in a globalising world since the eighteenth century, and how and why they use the past to articulate their identity with various media; encompassing everything from historical texts and exhibitions, to digital media.

The central question of the programme is: which cross-cultural interactions and constructions of identities have been involved in giving meaning to the past and what are the effects on historical cultures in the global and (post)colonial world?


Global History

Research performed within this theme starts from the premise that human interaction and movement have shaped both the past and the present. The encounters model is an alternative to the national and regional models. It emphasises cultural contact and exchange as agents of historical change and it uses a combination of methods, including oral history and applied anthropological and sociological theory.

In addition, the model explores changes in local and trans-local manifestations of
cultural and religious diversity, with a special concentration on issues concerning citizenship, migration, identity formation, heritage, gender relations, and entrepreneurship.