For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.

Social and Cultural History

Social and Cultural History combines two historiographical trends:

Sociale & Culturele geschiedenis
The Oval room, Teylers Museum Haarlem, around 1800.

1. Social History, which focuses on the history of all societal groups.
2. Cultural History, which explores the behaviour and cultural expressions of said groups.

Social and Cultural History is interdisciplinary in character and regularly combines social history with social geography or economic history, and cultural history with cultural anthropology. Both have a transcending approach as regards time and area of expertise. This approach manifests itself in topics such as ‘The Rise of the West’. However, Social and Cultural History can also focus on shorter time spans. The UvA is the only university in the Netherlands with such a combined specialisation.


The research of Social and Cultural History is geared among others towards:

  • urban history
  • the bourgeoisie and civil society
  • the social and economic dimensions of state formation processes
  • leisure time activities and consumption
  • deviant behaviour and civilizing processes
  • environmental problems and globalisation

The period explored varies from the late middle ages to the twentieth century, with special emphasis on the seventeenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Researchers have a close relationship with the International Institute of Social History (IISG) and the Amsterdam City Archives. They also participate in the (inter)national networks of urban historians, as well as the N.W. Posthumus Institute (which is an interuniversity partnership for social and economic history).


Lecture themes include global history, urban history, civil society, capitalism, reading clubs, economic elites, fin-de-siècle, revolutions, drug use and the prevention thereof, leisure time activities, the construction of public space, globalisation and the global positioning of the Netherlands.
Apart from compulsory courses of the Master’s programme, such as History Master  Atelier, students also participate in seminars of their choosing in the field of Social and Cultural History.     


dr. C.M. (Clé) Lesger