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PhD Coursebook

Core Courses for PhD Candidates

The Core Courses (CCs) constitute the mandatory core curriculum for PhD candidates. Candidates are expected to participate in the full 10 EC programme, which they can supplement with an additional 2 ECs by organising an event during CC3.

Core Course 1: Positioning and Designing your research (4 EC)

During CC1, PhD candidates who have just started their PhD research are introduced to the broad field of cultural history. In six sessions, they meet their fellow PhD candidates and various inspiring experts to discuss and reflect on the methods, theories and practices in the field, on interdisciplinarity, and the relevance of their own work. They learn to better position their project in a highly interdisciplinary environment, and to access experts and expertise that might be relevant to their project’s success.

The course is concluded by a position paper of 2000-3000 words that builds towards their end-of-year Go/No-go Evaluation. At the end of the course, students have joined or committed to set up a research network of Huizinga members, which functions as a sounding board throughout the remainder of their PhD.

At the end of this course, candidates feel equipped to deal with the practical challenges of being a professional cultural-historical researcher. In addition they:

  • Can position their project amongst the various existing and new fields in cultural history.
  • Have a clear sense of the available expertise in the field and the possibilities for interdisciplinary cross-fertilization.
  • Can explain their project and its relevance to various audiences both within the broader cultural historical community and in society at large.
  • Expand their methodological and theoretical knowledge.

The course consists of six sessions. The first sessions constitute a full-day programme, the other ones take the form of three-hour workshops. Each year, course elements may vary according to evaluations and the needs of the candidates.

  • Introduction: (Harald Hendrix): During this session, candidates are introduced to the course as well as to the Huizinga Institute and what it might offer them. Candidates present their projects in 10-minute presentations. The main goals are 1) to get to know each other’s research and 2) to learn how to best present a complex project to a diverse academic audience.
  • Working in Cultural History (Anna Thomas Tijsseling): During this session, academic coach Anna Tijsseling helps candidates to identify the practical challenges awaiting them in cultural history, and how best to respond to them.
  • Positioning Your Research (Jan Hein Furnée)
  • Interdisciplinarity as a Challenge [TBC]: Almost all research in cultural history draws or bears on several subdisciplines within the humanities. Some might even engage with other domains altogether, especially with the social sciences. This session teaches you to deal with the challenges of interdisciplinarity. How to navigate two or more fields at once? How to determine your audience and conversation partners?
  • Getting the Question Right, and Answering It (Erika Kuijpers and Judith Pollmann): This session will focus on narrowing down the research questions in your project, and on how to best operationalize them.
  • Final session (Harald Hendrix): Afternoon session devoted to discussing the papers and closing discussion.

Core Course 2: The Cultural Historian’s Toolbox

CC2 focuses on concepts, sources, and methods in cultural history. It enables candidates to develop their methodological skills, based on their own research objects and interests. The course consists of small modules which alternate every year to ensure optimal choice. Only the reviewing course recurs every year. New modules will be added over time, based on the interests and needs of our candidates. PhDs follow two modules to obtain 4 EC.

Each of the modules takes the form of a workshop of three sessions, organised in cooperation with the Huizinga Research School’s partner institutions, such as the Rijksmuseum and the Huygens Institute. The modules are open to both PhD candidates and RMA students. In case of oversubscription, PhDs take precedence over RMAs.

  • Memory culture, 2 EC, Barbara Henkes (RUG), Dienke Hondius (VU) and Susan Hogervorst (EUR). Partners (TBC): KITLV, NIOD, Anne Frankhuis.
  • Material and visual culture, 2 EC, Ann-Sophie Lehmann. Partners (TBC): Rijksmuseum
  • Digital Text Analysis, 2 EC, Huygens Institute
  • Cultuurhistorisch recenseren, 1 EC, Floris Cohen

Core Course 3: Cultural History in Action

The CC3 course allows PhD candidates to develop their interests and work on their professional competencies within research networks and the larger field of cultural history, benefitting RMA students as well. It consists of various activities, in different stages of their education. Each PhD candidate participates in part 1 and 3 for 2 EC. PhDs can additionally select module 2 to obtain 4 EC in total.

Participation in Research Network (mandatory)
At the end of CC1, each PhD candidate selects a research network in which to participate. Within the research networks, which consist of both senior and junior members of the institute, recent work is discussed during informal seminars and conferences. If candidates feel that there isn’t a research network that best suits their interests yet, they can start a new one for additional credits, provided that there is sufficient interest within the Institute.

Participation in the Huizinga PhD Conference (mandatory)
PhDs are encouraged to participate every year. In their third year, they present their research (2 EC). RMA students participate at least once as auditors and write a short report on the symposium (1 EC). The PhD Conference offers an exciting opportunity to get to know your fellow Huizinga graduate students and their research interests.

Organisation of cultural historical event or research network (optional)
Each PhD candidate should participate in the organisation of at least one cultural-historical event or group. Organisational teams should consist of two to three candidates. Together with the Huizinga Institute Office, they work on the entire process, from conceptualisation and applying for financial support from the Institute to making practical arrangements and hosting the event. In order to obtain the study credits, students submit a brief final report to the office.

Organise Masterclass, workshop, or seminar: 2 EC
Organise Lecture: 2 EC
Setting up research network: 2 EC

Short report organisation cultural-historical event

In order to obtain study credits (2 ECTS) for the organistion of an event, students submit a brief final report to the office (approx. 400-500 words, Include a reflection on (at least):

  • The organization process and working together with fellow organisers;
  • How the organization of the event helped develop your professional competences and/or helped build your network;
  • What you’ve learned from the event on a cultural-historical level.