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Personal profile

Personal information

Karel Davids is Full Professor of Economic and Social History in the Faculty of Humanities and the School of Business and Economics since March 1, 1994.

Email: c.a.davids@vu.nl

Telephone: + 31 20 598 6354

Citations and h-index:  https://scholar.google.nl/scholar?hl=nl&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=karel+davids&btnG=


Global history; maritime history; history of technology, history of relations between humans and animals, c. 1500 - present. 

  • comparative history of the development of knowledge in Europe, Asia and the Atlantic world,c.700-1850
  • losing knowledge: historical perspectives
  • cities and knowledge, 17th-21th centuries 
  • urban transformations and capitalism,  17th-21th centuries 

Current projects

Slaves, commodities and logistics. The economic impact of Dutch Republic transatlantic slave-based activities c.1700-1850. (with prof. dr. Marcel van der Linden, IISG, and prof.dr. Henk den Heijer,  University of Leiden) (NWO-funded) (2013-2018)

Ocean of knowledge. Globalizing forces and the growth of knowledge in the Atlantic world, 1660-1860 (partly KNAW(NIAS)-funded) (2013-2018)

The Senate and the People in small power constitutional monarchies in the North Atlantic c.1800-present (with dr. Wybren Verstegen VU and dr. Nikolaj Bijleveld (RU Groningen) (KNAW-funded) (2017-2019)


  • The world and the Netherlands: Economic and social history
  • The heart of capitalism (FGW/School of Business and Economics)
  • Social history of the United States
  • Commodity chains and consumption
  • Development of macro-economic thought (School of Business and Economics)
  • Globalizing knowledge (MA)
  • Travelling ideas (MA)

Ancillary activities

  • Brill Publishers | Leiden | Adviseur | 2014-01-29
  • Dr. C.Louise Thijssen-Schoute Stichting | Amsterdam | Chair | 2014-10-01
  • Stichting Willibrordusorgel | Haarlem | Chair | 2014-10-01
  • Tijdschrift Studium | Amsterdam | Adviseur | 2014-10-01

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Research Output 1973 2018

Navigation on wood: Wooden Navigational Instruments 1590 – 1731

de Hilster, N. 2018 815 p.

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VU

Open Access

Religie, techniek en global history: oude ideeen en nieuwe perspectieven

Davids, K. 2018 Geschiedenis aan de Zuidas. : Essays van VU-historici. van Lieburg, F. (ed.). Amsterdam: Prometheus, p. 138-145 8 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Review of Helge Wendt (ed.), The Globalization of Knowledge in the Iberian Colonial World

Davids, K. 2018 In : Isis. 109, 1, p. 151 152 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Bespreking van Louis Sicking, La naissance d'une thalassocratie

Davids, K. 2017 In : Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis. 130, 4, p. 669-671

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review