Life after the Pilot-study: A first Chapter and Teaching Responsibilities

Written by Hans Wallage | Published on 18/02/2020

Time flies when you’re having fun… or when you’re pursuing a PhD. Because – wow – even though it feels like we just started last month, it is has already been a year since we began our journey towards writing our dissertation. Although a lot happened last year, I will only summarize briefly our experiences and activities since publishing the last blog post. First of all, Gerdien, Lotte and I all have completed our pilot-study talks. We all did well and gathered new interesting insights and ideas. However, most importantly: we all have a job for the next three years and are able to complete our dissertation!            
            I remember the first time I discussed my subject with Geert; he promised me that my subject and associated thoughts would constantly be adjusted and would even completely change during the first of four years of my research. I  have to admit that my pilot-study indeed ensured the first “make-over”: I will now focus on different lobbying and charity initiatives of the Jewish community in Amsterdam during three specific periods of tribulation wherein Jews were forced to flee. I will focus on the letters – sent in the name of the Jewish community in Amsterdam – that were addressed to different actors within the Dutch republic and beyond. Specifically, I want to study the role and the influences of these letters on the policies of different governmental organizations in the Dutch republic and transnational Jewish communities in their decision to accept or deny the right of fleeing Jews to settle.
            Besides doing research and writing, we were involved in other, interesting, activities. We followed a Masterclass provided by Prof. Sheilagh Ogilvie called: ‘Norms and Practice’, we attended different Research Seminars in Leiden [Johannes Müller] and in Amsterdam [Annemieke Romein], and we partook in the courses English for PhDs and Paleography [learning how to read 17th century handwriting]   
            The next two months we also have to focus on something else: During February and March we’ll be teaching and convincing first year Bachelor students how helpful, interesting and, above all, fun studying early modern history is! We are now preparing for teaching ‘Early Modern History’ and even though we are certain that it will be a success, we are also a little nervous. After all, this is the first time we’ll teach a full course.

Our postdoc, David, recently defended his PhD-thesis on how refugees and their advocates employed the Dutch press. Follow this link for a short video about his research!

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