RHI-52806 The making of Europe and the European Union


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work8
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. AJAM Schuurman
Lecturer(s)dr. AJAM Schuurman
Examiner(s)dr. AJAM Schuurman

Language of instruction:



Our contemporary societies are in a process of reorganization, redefinition and rearrangement. In this course we will discuss these processes from a historical viewpoint. We will focus on the process of European integration and its consequences. What is Europe? Why is it that after WWII France and Germany started to work together so closely? What did 1989 mean for the integration process? Will there still be a European Union in 2030 and what will it look like?

The history of the (un)making of Europe is situated within long-term historical developments like innovation, globalization, state formation, nation building, and sustained economic growth. Three developments are distinguished: the development of the EU itself, the development of the nation-states that form the EU and the general historical development. How are these three entangled? How do they influence each other?

Students will write a paper on the making of the European Union - topics may vary from a particular country (Germany, Italy, UK) to the role of the new social movements in Eastern Europe in the 1970s and 1980s (Solidarinosc, Charta77), to the role of individuals (Helmut Kohl, Jacques Delors, Berlusconi), to specific themes (migration, democratization, euro crisis) or to comparisons in time (the making of the United States, the difference between the European Community and the European Union) and in space (Africa, South America, Asia).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- explain and interpret the development of the European Union;

- explain the major scientific approaches to the study of the European Union;

- assess contemporary developments with regard to the European Union from a historical perspective;

- evaluate and critically reflect on the entanglement of national histories, European history and global history;

- evaluate and critically reflect on the distinction between structural and time specific causes of historical change;

- report on an independent scientific historical investigation.


- lectures;

- tutorials and independent study;

- students will have to read the relevant literature for the lectures and tutorials;

- they are expected to actively participate in class discussions;

- students also have to write and present a paper.


- written test with open questions (50%);

- an individual paper (50%).

Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


van Middelaar, Luuk. (2013). The passage to Europe. How a continent became a union. New Haven/London: Yale University Press. Other literature will be made available.

 A guide to the course and a list of relevant literature will be available at the secretariat of the chair group and at the first meeting. You also may consult our website.