Core Course Text and Matter


Course Objective

Familiarizing students with one of the main theoretical and
methodological issues that brings together various approaches to the
ancient and medieval world: the integrated use of various sources, and
the implications this has both on general theory and on specific cases.
As a result, students should a) gain a better understanding of the
interdependencies among material, historical and literary sources, b)
acquire insights into the specific qualities and different potentials
and limitations of various sources about the past and c) acquire
insights into the main theoretical strands addressing interdisciplinary
discourse in historical studies. Moreover, students will encounter
various specific cases and will acquire skills useful in handling such
cases. The course is taught bi-annually and every time a specific set of
case studies and themes is adopted as a perspective on the general

Course Content

Traditionally, the occurrence and representation of warfare and
collective violence is studied for different reasons, by different means
and using different sources in a variety of disciplines: literary
studies, history and archaeology. However, increasingly all sources are
used by scholars of different backgrounds in order to acquire a better
insight into specific situations or subtopics. In this course, the range
of interdependencies among material, historical and literary sources are
actively explored, and specific possibilities and limitations of
combinations of various kinds of sources are considered, in combination
with more general reflection on the interdisciplinary use of textual and
material sources.
In this specific research domain, subtopics concern warfare and
migration, value systems, ideologies and rules of warfare, the topic of
genocide, commemoration of battles and heritage, representations of war
(iconography, emotions, protagonists, etc), warfare and the individual,
economy and warfare, identity and nationalism, strategic and social
skills as part of warfare.

Teaching Methods

The module is planned as a seminar, starting by building up a general
background (with reading assignments and group discussion) in which
important methodical and theoretical approaches and practices are
introduced and evaluated. This is followed by a series of case studies
taken from expertise or current research projects of the teachers and
guest speakers (lectures, literature study and group discussion). During
the last 7 weeks students will have to present cases of their own,
either taken from literature or (occasionally) based on primary
material. A list of possible subjects will be provided, but students are
free to come up with subjects as well. Supervision of the (preparation
of) the presentation and the final essay which is based on it will be
assigned to various teachers according to their expertise. Presentations
will also be scheduled thematically.
In the written final assignment, each student will have to present his
or her own case, also taking into account the more general issues and
approaches presented by the teachers in the first half of the course,
and the group discussions in the second part.

Method of Assessment

Take-home exam, in which the students use lectures and literature to
write a theoretical essay on text and matter, with a special focus on an
individual research question (20% block 1)
Presentation at colloquium (20% block 2)
Paper (60% block 3)

Entry Requirements

The course is open exclusively to students of the research master
Archaeology and the Research Master Classics and Ancient Civilizations.


Various articles and chapters from text books. To be specified.

Target Audience

Students admitted to one of the following Master’s programmes can take
this course: research MA Archaeology or research MA Classics and Ancient

Additional Information

This course (12 ec) alternates on a yearly basis with the other core
course ‘Ethnicity’(6 ec; in combination with a specialization module or
tutorial (6 ec)). The course will not be taught in 2017-18.

General Information

Course Code L_AAMPOHS009
Credits 12 EC
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. L.W. van Gils
Teaching Staff dr. M. Icks
prof. dr. N.G.A.M. Roymans
dr. L.W. van Gils

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: