Current Debates in Global History


Course Objective

Students will learn to critically assess claims made in today’s public
debates, examine them in a historical perspective, understand key
positions taken by historians, learn to apply key analytical methods,
and stake out well-argued positions of their own in writing and

Course Content

We live in a time when the direction the development of human societies
is taking seems less certain than it used to. As authoritarianism,
protectionism, and social tensions spread, many feel that the world is
at a historical juncture. There are heated polemics around a number of
fundamental questions. Does the expansion of individual rights
inevitably cause social injustice? Is economic growth necessary? Is free
trade good? Does immigration threaten the integrity of nations? Should
capitalism be defended or ended? Should climate change make us look at
history differently? Is there anything good about colonialism?

Many of these debates have their roots in earlier historical periods.
Often, they are mirrored in disagreements among historians about the
causes and consequences of historical processes. This course brings
historical debates (in both senses of the term) to bear on our
understanding of some of today’s key questions.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, independent reading, group discussions and in-class exercises.

Method of Assessment

• Three written assignments (around 800 words): 3 x 10%
• Preparation and performance in debating team: 20% (group mark)
• Term paper: 50%
In the term paper, students will choose one of the six debates discussed
in the course and take a well-argued stand in it, framing the debate in
a short historiography. There will be two individual consultations for
students in the process of preparation and writing (one around the
middle and one towards the end of term).


A combination of media articles, academic journal articles and book

Target Audience

BA1 students History and International Studies.

General Information

Course Code L_GABAGES130
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. P.D. Nyiri
Examiner prof. dr. P.D. Nyiri
Teaching Staff dr. T.A.E.R. Vanneste
prof. dr. P.D. Nyiri
dr. F.D. Huijzendveld

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

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