In 1978, the “experimental” History of Society programme was launched in Rotterdam, an initiative of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Erasmus University. Unlike in other Dutch universities, this programme was not embedded in a humanities faculty because Erasmus University did not have one, and still does not. This was what made the programme experimental as, contrary to the rest of the Netherlands, history in Rotterdam was viewed as a social science, or at least a study that needed to be approached from the social and economic sciences.
Elsewhere in the Netherlands, some watched the Rotterdam experiment expectantly while others dismissed it from the start. Traditional historical scholarship in the Dutch context was based on, among other things, a Eurocentric periodisation and an emphasis on synchrony, elements that were not present in the History of Society programme. In its stead were new conventions such as a typology of societies and a more diachronic approach. Our aim then was to differentiate between various models of societies in world history which were not necessarily consecutive in time, and could –or still can – exist alongside each other and be studied by comparing them to one another. These types of societies were given names which were completely different from traditional categories, such as the History of Pre-Agricultural Societies (focusing on hunters and gatherers), the History of Agricultural-Urban Societies, and the History of Industrial Societies. The most interesting perhaps of all the new categories, and the most difficult to explain, was Agricultural-Metropolitan Societies, or AgMet. This described mainly non-Western societies in which agricultural, pre-industrial and urban structures existed simultaneously while usually being linked to a Western colonial metropolis. ...

A.A. van Stipriaan Luïscius (Alex) , G. Oonk (Gijsbert) , S.K. Manickam (Sandra)
Department of History

van Stipriaan Luïscius, A., Oonk, G., & Manickam, S. (Eds.). (2018). History @ Erasmus. (A. van Stipriaan Luïscius, G. Oonk, & S. Manickam, Eds.). Retrieved from