Research

All research done by students of the Master’s in Historical Studies will be supervised by a researcher at the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH) in Nijmegen. RICH focuses on the dynamics of the interconnected world from historical, cultural, literary and artistic perspectives. Researchers from a variety of humanities disciplines collaborate in thematic groups to explore the cultural practices, beliefs, ideas, texts, networks, and infrastructures related to the dynamics of an interconnected world. As a Research Master's student, you choose to join one thematic research group and take part in its discussions, meetings, and activities. 

For additional information on the instructors of the RICH Research Master's, take a look at their research profiles.

Thematic research groups

Historians participate in almost all of the thematic research groups of the Faculty of Arts. In our experience, the following groups are of special interest to the Historical Studies students:

Applied History

Applied History entails a broad range of practices in which researchers bring historical research to bear on current affairs, translate social issues into historical research questions, and formulate policy advice and interventions based on their research. Currently, researchers are working on this across the entire spectrum of RICH. The research group Applied History provides a framework to bring this expertise together by strengthening mutual exchange and embedding RICH-wide.

Colonial Relations and Structures

The multidisciplinary group Colonial Relations and Structures - consisting of researchers in Art & Culture Studies, Art History, American Studies, History and Literary Studies - aims to increase societal knowledge about colonial relations and structures in past and present societies. Our research focuses on continuities and discontinuities of colonial relations, structures, interactions, and imaginaries. We aim to include the agency and knowledge of (formerly) colonized peoples in our research and narratives.

Cultures of War and Liberation

What is the meaning and impact of War? And how can we understand the interdependencies of freedom, liberation and democracy? In past and present? This research group at Radboud University brings together experts, historians and literary scholars, from different fields. Our aim is to get a better understanding of the political, social and cultural impact of war and liberation through history, with the Second World as a particular point of interest.

Patterns of Political Interaction

The research group Patterns of Political Interaction studies the interaction between the governed and those who govern from ancient history to the present. Our researchers develop concepts and strategies to analyse the perspectives of subalterns, broader socio-political movements and political institutions. In particular, the focus on non-institutional and non-singular actors requires new and creative research methods. In addition, we explore the wide range of (historical) sources available to reconstruct the interaction between formal and informal politics. In doing so, we reflect on the issue of representativity and encourage interdisciplinary cooperation, in particular between history, literature, political science and political philosophy.

Radboud Group for Historical Demography and Family History

The Radboud Group for Historical Demography and Family History studies family, life course, health, migration and slavery in a historical, international and comparative perspective. We are dedicated to combining our teaching in the broad fields of economic, social and demographic history (ESDG) with specialized research with an international profile. Our research has two interconnected strands: historical demography and colonial social history.

Representations of the City

The research group Representations of the City approaches the city from a broad comparative perspective, taking European and non-European worlds into consideration from a long diachronic viewpoint. We study the similarities and differences between these areas in terms of loyalties, the reciprocal relationships between different cities, cities and rulers, and cities and the countryside, and the functioning of networks. The city has been an engine of innovation throughout European history. The formation of loyalties and identities and of narrative traditions that give shape to the city, are important starting points for our research.

The Ancient World

The Ancient World group made it its goal to take care of the disclosure and publication of literary and non-literary texts and remains of material culture. Additionally, the group aims to study the processes of the formation and transmission of culture and perform historiographical analyses and reception studies of the ancient world.

The Eighties: Austerity, Reform, Conflict

By organising discussion meetings our research group engages in the lively historiographical debate about the meaning and significance of the 1980s in Dutch history, also offering the opportunity to interpret key socio-cultural, economic, political and institutional developments in Netherlands within a European and global context. ‘The Eighties’ is the successor of ‘The Seventies’ research group, as the CPG has now commenced research into the period of the Lubbers cabinets (1982-1994).

Tourism, Travel and Text

Tourism, Travel and Text is the largest interdisciplinary research group in the field of tourism, travel and culture in the field of the humanities in the Netherlands. We share a particular interest in the relation between touristic practices and representations in literary and other texts. Members contribute to RICH’s research agenda by focusing much of their work on tourism and travel on social processes of in- and exclusion and on the meanings of art and creativity for people and society.

Transnational Europe

Transnational Europe approaches transnationalism as a longue durée phenomenon, seeking to define new methodologies (including digital humanities) to study transnational networks and transnational political and cultural developments, as well as processes of transnational interaction. Our research addresses several key issues, including intersections between regionalism and transnationalism; transnational memories and registers; transnational political and cultural networks; the shifting perceptions of communities under the influence of multiculturalism and migration; transnational reading and interpretative communities; and the new methodologies required to study these long-term processes.

 

Master’s thesis topics in Historical Studies

For their Master’s thesis research, students can work together with researchers from one of the RICH research groups or choose a topic in a non-related area.

A small sample of thesis topics that you could research in this programme:

  • The Pope under Pressure: Papal Propaganda during Times of Severe Crisis 1494-1549
  • The Dutch Communist Party and the question of Apartheid. Analysing the CPN’s position in relation to South Africa’s Apartheid and the anti-Apartheid movement in the Netherlands
  • Christian Suburbs: Conceptions of Constantinople’s Religious Topography at its Limits, 330-1204
  • Dogmatic democracy. Direct elections for the European parliament debated, 1958-1961
  • 'Komt voor de deur op straat'. A spatial analysis of eighteenth-century Amsterdam violence