As Holland celebrates its sesquicentennial and Hope College begins its 136th academic year, the department of history at Hope will be doing something new: offering a course on Dutch history.

The weekly, evening course will survey Dutch
history from the Middle Ages to the present. Areas of
concentration will include the age of Rembrandt, a time of
commercial and cultural achievement; religious developments;
and the Second World War. Each week will also be devoted to
issues in the contemporary Netherlands, such as drug
policies and euthanasia.

According to Dr. Albert Bell, professor of history
and chair of the department, this is the first time in at
least two decades that the department has offered a course
on Dutch history specifically. The college's department of
modern and classical languages has offered instruction in
the Dutch language for much of the college's history.

The history course's instructor, Dr. James
Kennedy, is new to the Hope faculty this fall and a
specialist in Dutch history. He sees the city's anniversary
as central to the decision to premiere the new course.

"I think there was a feeling that, especially in
Holland's sesquicentennial year, it might be appropriate to
offer a course in Dutch history," said Kennedy, who is an
assistant professor of history.

The course will meet Tuesday evenings from 7 p.m.
to 9:50 p.m. during the fall semester. Kennedy will give
the students an opportunity to examine 19th century Dutch
immigration patterns by having the students complete their
largest project using materials at the Joint Archives of
Holland concerning the immigration. The Joint Archives,
housed in the college's Van Wylen Library, is a joint
collection for Hope College, The Holland Historical Trust
and Western Theological Seminary.

"I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity
to have the students do something there," he said. "I think
it's an excellent resource."

In addition to his teaching duties, Kennedy is
also a research fellow with the college's A.C. Van Raalte
Institute for Historical Studies, which supports research
and writings on the history and heritage of the Holland
area. His work with the institute includes strengthening
its ties and contacts with scholars in the Netherlands,
developing its library of resource materials and helping to
enhance the institute's profile.

Kennedy was most recently at Valparaiso University
in Indiana, where he was a Lilly Fellow and lecturer in
history. He was previously at the University of Iowa, where
he completed his doctorate in 1995 and served as a teaching
assistant. His doctorate is in European history, and his
dissertation examined cultural change in the Netherlands
during the 1960s.

He earned a master's in religious studies from
Calvin College in 1988, and a bachelor's in international
affairs from Georgetown University in 1986.

Fall semester classes at Hope will begin on
Tuesday, Aug. 26. Additional information may be obtained by
calling the college's Registrar's Office at (616) 395-7760.