Amsterdam: A Historical Introduction
This core course introduces urban history and urban studies concepts and theories by applying them to Amsterdam, and by drawing comparisons with other global cities, focussing on the period 1000-2000. We have lectures, readings and weekly city tours on foot and by bike. The written exam is in October, the resit in January.
Amsterdam: Global Historical Perspectives
Starting from Amsterdam as a case study, this core course presents developments in the waterfront and the harbour of global cities in international comparison in the twentieth century. It is a seminar where you write a research paper and present your research results in an oral presentation. It includes two excursions on bike in the waterfront of Amsterdam for exploring and experiencing the urban design and architecture.
Amsterdam: Comparative Heritage Projects
This core course presents recent research on urban history with a strong focus on heritage issues and debates. What is preserved, how and why? Who decides about heritage making, public or private institutions or inhabitants and other local stakeholders? You develop your own research project. This is for students who prefer in-depth study.
Amsterdam: Jewish Culture
The image of Amsterdam as a ‘Jewish City’ – Mokum – has become strongly connected to the city’s identity. In this interdisciplinary seminar you will study when and how this image took root and in how far this reflected the historical development of the city’s Jewish communities.
Dutch Literature and Culture in the Golden Age
This course focuses on Dutch literature and culture of the Golden Age (1550-1700) within the context of the Renaissance as a European movement. Literary texts will be related to other cultural products and to their historical, political and philosophical background. Among the questions to be answered are: How and why did Dutch authors respond to, and take part in, political and religious debates? How and why did Dutch artists cooperate in the making of books, prints, paintings and buildings? Many of the authors were active in Amsterdam. This course includes an excursion to the former 17th century Town Hall of Amsterdam.
Participants in this course explore the conceptual planning and factual building of famous cities and their key monuments from a comparative perspective: how do monumental architecture and urban planning materialize social, political and religious ideas? Attention will be paid to the theoretical and historical site-specificity of various global urban landscapes. For this course literature (primary sources and secondary sources) and visual material such as plans, sections and designs will be studied.
In this course, we will investigate the development of connections across the Atlantic Ocean in the period 1600-2000. Seven themes will be analyzed and discussed: cultural (music & language/literature), economic (mining & consumer culture), socio-political (diffusion of political ideas & role of human migration) and environmental (Columbian exchange). Large cities will be approached as contact zones between global regions, where the circulation of people, goods and ideas crystallize, for instance in Rio de Janeiro and Havana (South- and Latin-America), Kinshasa (Africa), Amsterdam and Antwerp (Europe), and New York (North-America). Case-studies include the effects of the travels of jazz musicians from the USA on new music trends in Africa and Europe, Jewish transatlantic diamond trade networks, comparing historical developments of immigration procedures and the inclusion of new professional and social groups in specific parts of the city.
For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.
International students: please contact the International Office at VU University, Amsterdam.
Dutch students: please contact: Prof. dr. Petra J.E.M. van Dam | firstname.lastname@example.org
"It was a very interesting and refreshing experience for me to get to know your field of study. Especially themes like waterfront and harbor were interesting. Besides the content, I got familiar with some research methodologies, and with styles of writing and presentation. The feedback was a great help to me as well."
1 semester (30 EC)
Gedrag en Maatschappij
Kunst, Cultuur en Geschiedenis