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Research in the Centre for Historical Studies

The Centre is devoted to research on a wide range of aspects of historical investigation spanning from Classical Antiquity to our own time. Research interests are mainly focused on the cultural, social, political and economic diversity of Western societies, but also expand to the non-western world (notably South East Asia, Africa) and cover issues such as post-colonialism and transnationalism.

Three research groups facilitate interdisciplinary research on themes which are at the heart of current debates in historical disciplines and the wider society. Researchers operate interdisciplinary and international.

  1. 'Sustainable societies: past and present' studies forms and practices, arrangements, cultures and institutions which explain and contribute to the social coherence and sustainability of societies from antiquity to the present. It is unique in its endeavour to lay bare the historical and cultural roots of the present-day relationship between politics, state and society. It addresses explicitly the role of literary, artistic and religious culture in these processes alongside that of the more familiar political institutions.
  2. 'Regions, Networks, Mobility': research in this theme group is based on the idea that money, goods, news, knowledge and beliefs function and become meaningful in networks of exchange within or crossing borders. The complexity of the historical processes involved is addressed interdisciplinary, thereby challenging economic, social, cultural and political historians as well as other researchers in the arts and humanities and beyond to cooperate and develop new and exciting insights and interpretations. The theme is embedded in Groningen's research strength in the history of regions and in the evolving new research area of the circulation of knowledge.
  3. 'Thinking about History and Historical Culture'. The University of Groningen has a long and internationally recognized expertise in the metahistorical reflection of history and culture. The aim of this research group is twofold: to surpass the limits of one single historiographical perspective and to analyze human memory as it manifests itself in (auto-)biographical writing, historical products of individuals or groups that collect, record or write 'their own' history such as game designers, historical novelists and film producers.
  • Testimonial van Alumna Keshia Hederman

    Consultant at ECP Platform for the Information Society

    Studying history was a conscious decision. I was drawn to media and culture and keen to study the lesser known subjects and stories, so I chose Media, Culture and Heritage as my specialist subject.

    I was particularly intrigued by the course units in Visual Culture and Documentation Techniques, which examine the power of imagery and explain how you can tell a visual story. The knowledge I acquired was very useful later on in the programme, while I was researching up-and-coming film culture in North Korea.

    At the moment, I am working as an advisor at ECP Platform for the Information Society, where I mainly concentrate on communication tasks and project management. On graduating, I worked as a researcher at the VPRO television company for a while, preparing various programmes and documentaries behind the scenes.

    The Master's programme teaches you how to deal with huge volumes of information. You also develop your capacities for analytical thinking and your writing skills to a very high standard. You learn to think critically, as this is an essential aspect of History. The small scale of Groningen and the friendly atmosphere in the city are what particularly appealed to me. But there's a lot more to it if you study History. I really enjoyed student life and had a terrific time in Groningen!

    – Alumna Keshia Hederman
  • Testimonial van

    Junior Research Consultant - Meines Holla & Partners

    In August 2013, I started a practical placement at Meines Holla & Partners in The Hague, a lobbying and public affairs office that provides a range of public and private parties with advice and support in setting agendas and representing interests. Both parties were happy with the placement and so after a traineeship lasting a year, I stayed on as a Junior Research Consultant.

    My job involves assisting consultants in various lobbying and public affairs processes, acting as a junior advisor on several accounts and conducting research (e.g. political feasibility studies and stakeholder analyses) for current and potential clients.

    I started considering my career options while doing my Bachelor's degree in History. I wanted politics to be part of my career, so I chose the specialization Policy, Administration and Politics as part of my History Today Master's track. I decided to stay in Groningen on account of the broad range of subjects and the possibility of gaining practical experience during a placement.

    The research and writing skills I developed during the Master's track now form the basis of my current duties. In addition, the methodology course units in quantitative policy analysis and interviewing now stand me in good stead during my day-to-day work in the political world of The Hague. 

    I work on the cutting edge of politics and industry and for the time being I'm in exactly the right place. The lobbying and public affairs sector suits me down to the ground and I'm very ambitious – I hope to realise my ambitions within this company in the years to come.

  • Testimonial van

    International Programmes Officer

    The practical Master's track History Today gives you a realistic idea of your options with a degree later on. This was a great help to me. The University of Groningen was a great place to do a Bachelor's degree in History so I decided to stay there for my Master's degree.

    One of the electives in this programme is the methodology course unit Life stories. You learn how to conduct an in-depth interview and write a compelling biography. The lectures are extremely useful as you have practical assignments and a lot of attention is paid to feedback. This was a great help in terms of my own personal development. In addition to this course unit, I also took the 'Dutch Travellers in Europe' research course unit, which was very interesting. It's all about how Dutch travellers saw other countries and populations, and what they wrote about them. The course unit dovetailed nicely with the subject of my thesis, 'Dutch travellers in Scotland in the nineteenth century.'

    On graduating, I worked at the Huygens Institute for Dutch History as a research assistant. I then took a job as a teacher, tutoring school pupils in history in the run-up to their final exams. At the moment, I'm working as an International Programmes Officer at Leiden University. I work in the Admissions department, where one of my tasks is to assess applications from international students.

  • Testimonial van Lieke Wouda

    De opleiding is ambitieus en gaat mee met haar tijd en vraagt dit ook van haar studenten. Dit betekent dat er wordt verwacht dat je als student veel tijd steekt in het voorbereiden van de colleges, maar ook dat je al je creativiteit er in kwijt kunt.

    De master History Today bevat datgene dat ik miste tijdens mijn bachelor, namelijk een antwoord op de vraag: wat kan ik nu met al die historische kennis en vaardigheden?


    Dit praktische aspect zie je vooral terug in de methodencolleges. Momenteel volg ik twee methodencolleges die betrekking hebben op publieke geschiedenis waarbij het omzetten van academische kennis naar begrijpelijke en behapbare informatie voor het grotere publiek centraal staat. Bij het college History Online houden we ons bezig met hoe nieuwe ontwikkelingen in het digitale tijdperk nieuwe platforms kunnen bieden voor het presenteren van historische kennis. Hierbij kun je denken aan digitale projecten in musea, maar ook aan lesmateriaal voor scholen en websites die historische kennis op innovatieve wijze toegankelijk maakt


    De opleiding is ambitieus en gaat mee met haar tijd en vraagt dit ook van haar studenten. Dit betekent dat er wordt verwacht dat je als student veel tijd steekt in het voorbereiden van de colleges, maar ook dat je al je creativiteit er in kwijt kunt. De hands-on-mentaliteit maakt de opleiding uniek en interessant voor studenten die zich niet alleen op het gebied van onderzoek willen ontwikkelen. Als jij je hierin herkent is deze master zeker aan te raden!

    – Lieke Wouda
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