The HISTORY MANIFESTO and the Middle Ages

Study afternoon/get-to-know-each-other meeting “Theory and History of the Field” for PhD students and Research Master’s students of the Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies. (Please note the change of date.)
Coordination: Prof. Peter Raedts  and Prof. Catrien  Santing.

Utrecht (exact location to be announced),
9 January 2015, at 13.15 h.


This study afternoon is a compulsory part of the basic programme for PhD students of the Research School for  Medieval Studies (see Please register as soon as possible, but no later than  15 December 2014.

Introduction to the subject:

Recently American historians David Armitage and Jo Guidi published the History Manifesto, in which they argue that history matters for today’s problems and still is  a valuable topic of study. Next to that they propose to revert to a long-term history.  In that respect it is surprising that the Middle Ages don’t figure in their manifesto. This blind spot for our period  is a common phenomenon. For that reason, the last Medieval Studies Day (October 24, Gouda) addressed  ‘The Visibility of the Middle Ages’. The organizers asserted that medievalists are nowadays confronted with two parallel observations. In public culture medieval (historical, literary, artistic, intellectual, material) heritage does not play a recognizable role any more. And among academic professionals of medieval studies a clear consensus about the direction we have to take with our discipline is missing. They feel a certain embarrassment to tell a grand story about the Middle Ages, an embarrassment voiced eruditely and eloquently in Peter Raedts’s recent book De ontdekking van de Middeleeuwen (Amsterdam 2011).



Read the History Manifesto ( and look at the conclusion (Slotbeschouwing) in Raedts’s  book.  Foreign students can use his “A serious case of Amnesia. The Dutch and the Middle Ages’ in: R.J.W. Evans and Guy P. Marchal eds., The uses of the Middle Ages in modern European states : history, nationhood and the search for origins (Basingstoke 2011).

Write a 2 to 3-page response to the Manifesto (in Dutch or English) and submit this to the Research School secretariat via e-mail ( before 22 December 2014. This assignment is part of the School’s Training Programme (student workload: 1 ECTS).


The responses will be read by Peter Raedts and Catrien Santing and discussed after their “Introduction”.

There will then be time for a general discussion.  
The afternoon will be rounded off with a drinks reception.

Please register a.s.a.p. with Martin de Ruiter,