Particular attention is paid to the role of the EU, the history of corruption and good governance and the ‘politics of remembrance’ (including the remembrance of the holocaust, slavery and colonialism), as well as theory of history and the (mis)uses of the past for political purposes. Concerning the latter, in our perspective, political history requires a reflection on the historian’s societal task.
Questions we ask in our courses and research include: what was the impact of decolonization? How did European integration influence politics and policy-making? Why did ideas about corruption and legitimate governance change over time? How is the Holocaust remembered? And what is the value of history?
Our areas of interest:
- state formation - nationalism - international relations
- empire - decolonisation - historical injustice
- corruption - governance - democracy
- slavery - holocaust - memory
- ideology - religion - race
- theory of history - heritage - uses of the past
Our teaching focuses primarily on modern and contemporary history (1800-present). In the BA Geschiedenis and BA History & International Studies, we teach courses on European history, Decolonization, International Organisations, Global Political History of Democracy, Theory of History and Holocaust & Genocide. At the MA level, we teach courses such as Keyworks in Contemporary Historical Thought, Slavery and Compensation, Political Corruption and Good Governance, Applied History, and we coordinate the MA History: Politics and Sovereignty. Both in the MA and BA, we also teach courses that discuss sources and methods available to historians, such as ego documents, images, monuments, archives, parliamentary papers, digital data and oral history. In addition, we teach in the Humanities major of the Amsterdam University College.
- Chiel van den Akker works on the modern idea of history.
- Alessandra Bitumi works on European integration, the role of Europe in the world and cultural ties between EU and the US. She was involved in the prohect “The European model: past, present and future”, Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l’Europe (CVCE).
- Dienke Hondius is investigating the hiding of Jewish families in the Second World War based on the locations known to have been used has hiding places. Together with students, these locations are mapped, with the aim of acquiring further knowledge about and insight into patterns and trends by combining as many sources of information as possible. The Mapping Slavery research project shows how the Netherlands and Europe still have close ties to their history of slave trading, leaving visible traces in many different places.
- Ronald Kroeze is coordinator of the NWO funded project Colonial Normativity - Corruption and difference in colonial and postcolonial histories of empire and nations. Kroeze also coordinates, together with Inger Leemans and Joost Dankers, the NWO internationalisation project ‘Banking on History’ (on financial history and heritage). Furthermore, he is co-initiator and daily supervisor of the NWO-funded PhD project of Floris van Berckel Smit on The Rise of New Public Management at Universities since 1980. Earlier he participated in the EU funded fp7-project Anticorrp (on the history of anticorruption).
- Susan Legêne’s main task is dean of the faculty of humanities but she is also formal project leader of the NWO-NWA project Pressing Matter: Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums and of the NWO project Colonial Normativity. She was the project leader of BiographyNET (October 2012-2016) and of Sites, Bodies and Stories (2008-2013).
The personal webpage of each researcher contains more information about their research projects, publications and their role in teaching.
Expert comments, policy advice and public engagement activities
Members of the research group frequently take part in public discussions, appear in the media and are consulted as experts.
- Maarten Doorman writes essays and review-articles about history and philosophy for NRC Handelsblad and de Volkskrant.
- George Harinck presented historical documentaries about Abraham Kuyper’s journey in Om de Oude Wereldzee and about the United States in Varia America for NPO2. Harinck also frequently communicates about the relationship between politics and religion.
- Ronald Kroeze contributes to newspapers NRC Handelsblad, Het Parool and online platforms such as De Nieuwe Wereld and History & Policy. He is also consulted by media to comment on contemporary politics see for example NOS and New York Times (here, here and here).
- Susan Legêne comments on current issues, such as discrimination and the refugee crisis, see also Waterstof.
- Dienke Hondius publishes about her research on slavery and holocaust remembrance in newspapers.
- Bettine Siertsema appeared on television in VPRO Boeken for an interview about her book on holocaust survivors.
- Wim Manuhutu contributes to the platform Framer-Framed, comments on the impact of colonialism and co-organises public events, including interviews with writers such as David van Reybrouck.
- Alessandra Bitumi appeared in Le Monde, wrote a policy report for the Institut Jacques Delors and co-organized a Jean Monnet Teaching Module, financed by the European Commission.
Political History staff
Chiel van den Akker, Assistant Professor in Theory of History
Alessandra Bitumi, Assistant Professor in Political History
George Harinck, Professor in the History of Neocalvinism
Dienke Hondius, Assistant Professor in Political History
Ronald Kroeze, Associate Professor in Political History
Susan Legêne, Professor in Political History
Wim Manuhutu, Lecturer in Political History
Bettine Siertsema, Assistant Professor in Political History
Dr. Maarten Doorman, Endowed Professor in Historical culture of Germany: philosophy, art and literature, co-founded by the Germany Institute Amsterdam.
PhD candidates and external PhDs
Christoph van den Belt MA, Geschiedenis van christelijke pers in een seculiere samenleving.
Otto Linde MA, Corruption in the era of the ‘ethical policy’: concessions to private businesses and labour regimes (1870s-1920s).
Uji Negroho Winardi MA, Fighting corrupt colonialism: the nationalist movement and the formation of the independent Indonesian state (1920s-1950s).
Floris van Berckel Smit MA, De opmars van New Public Management in het Nederlandse en Vlaamse universitaire bestuur, 1980-2020.