This research project aims to understand how Dutch liberal Protestants perceived, analysed and tried to shape the on-going process of modernisation of Dutch society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. An in-depth and systematic study of an important but neglected historical source, the influential weekly ‘The Reformation’ ( De Hervorming ), will provide a unique vantage point to assess the key role of prominent liberal Protestants in the modernisation debates. The project uses modernisation theories that were developed by ‘Sozialhistoriker’ such as Hans-Ulrich Wehler and Jürgen Kocka as a new cutting-edge tool of research, focusing on the structural transformation of modern Western societies.
Liberal Protestants (or ‘vrijzinnigen’) such as C.W. Opzoomer, C.P. Tiele, A. Kuenen and F.W.N. Hugenholtz, held influential positions in society and dominated contemporary intellectual and political debates. Whereas emerging emancipatory groups such as the Neo-Calvinists (Abraham Kuyper) and the Roman Catholics are relatively well researched, liberal Protestantism received hardly any attention. The perspective of the modernisation theories used in this project allows for a systematic analysis of how liberal Protestants related to modernisation processes, such as the rise of political emancipatory movements, electoral reforms, a rapidly developing industrialisation, the emergence of new religious movements and individualised life styles, and the pluralisation and differentiation of societal spheres. The project will not only show the contribution of liberal Protestants to these debates, but also uncover ‘blind spots’ in their perceptions and analyses and show the broad variety of interpretations, ranging from the affirmation (of aspects) of modernisation to attempts to counter the negative sides of capitalist industrialisation.
Using an important but neglected source combined with the innovative introduction of modernisation theories to the field of historical study, the project’s broad-ranging approach will result in a better understanding of Dutch liberal Protestants’ analysis of and contribution to the late modernisation of the Netherlands in the period 1870-1930.
Contact Tom-Eric Krijger
Promotor: Prof.dr. M.P.A. de Baar
|Last modified:||14 July 2017 12.29 p.m.|