Cultural History

We conceive ‘modernity’ as a concept, as a problem, and as a period.              

The Utrecht Cultural History research group focuses on the international dimensions of cultural modernity in historical perspective.
Cultural modernity as a topical problem entails a critical discussion of its origins, trajectory, variations and perceived decline, from a global perspective.
Above all, modernity requires a serious practical effort. The ideas and theories that deal with modernity as a cultural phenomenon are not free floating intellectual artefacts: they confront real situations and actual dilemmas.

Main research lines

  • Transcultural connections in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in particular reference cultures and the history of communication.
  • Cultural citizenship in Europe, in relation to modern arts and politics, public history, and religion and modernity.
  • Modern thought, including the history of science and the humanities (Descartes Centre), and the socio-cultural history of knowledge.

Methodologically, the group focuses on both long-established and innovative approaches, ranging from text mining to praxeography.

Ostrich CCTV
Gezicht op de in aanbouw zijnde Neudeflat (Vinkenburgstraat 26) te Utrecht, uit het noorden. Op de achtergrond de Domtoren (1961).  © Het Utrechts Archief


30 May 2016
Willemijn Ruberg is the runner-up for the bi-annual prize offered by the Journal of Women's History to reward outstanding articles.
Religious Franks. Religion and power in the Frankish Kingdoms: Studies in honour of Mayke de Jong (2016)
30 May 2016
This volume in honour of Mayke De Jong offers twenty-five essays focused upon the importance of religion to Frankish politics.
Prof. dr. Joris van Eijnatten
14 March 2016
Van Eijnatten is ambassador of Utrecht University in the new Netherlands Center for Humanities and Technology (CHAT.NL).


Vik Muniz, Verso (Starry Night), 2008. Source:
2 June 2016 15:00 - 17:00
The fourth edition of the Technical Art History Colloquium will take place at the Mauritshuis, The Hague, in connection with the exhibition Vik Muniz – Verso.
6 June 2016 15:00 - 17:00
Sven Dupré will speak during this edition of the Descartes – Huygens Premodern History of Science Colloquium.
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Cultural History