Dr. Van Ittersum was born and raised in The Netherlands. She read history at the University of Amsterdam and received a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in June 2002.
She specializes in Dutch overseas expansion in the early modern period, especially its implications for political thought and practice. She is also a book historian, with a particular interest in the social history of knowledge, the materiality of texts, the archaeology of archives, and canon formation. She has taught European, Atlantic and global history at the University of Dundee since September 2003.
Dr. Van Ittersum is a member of the Scottish Centre for Global History: http://globalhistory.org.uk/
- Member of the Helsinki Working Group on "International Law and Empire," The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki, Finland, October 2012 until present.
- Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, July 2014.
- "Imperial Locations" authors’ workshop at The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki, 29-30 October 2014.
The contributors to Imperial Locations and International Law ed. Prof. Martti Koskenniemi and Liliana Obregón (OUP, History and Theory of International Law series, forthcoming) will present their essay chapters at this authors’ workshop. My contribution is entitled ‘Debating Natural Law in the Banda Islands: A Case Study in Anglo-Dutch Imperial Competition in the East Indies in 1617’.
'Find out more about Martine on the One Dundee blog here:'
Martine's teaching focuses on European history prior to 1800, particularly Great Britain and the Low Countries.
In 2015 she won a DUSA Student Led Teaching Award in the category Best Teacher for Assessment and Feedback.
- Holland in the Age of Rembrandt
- Early Modern Europe 1400-1700
- Empire in the East
- Holland on the Hudson? The Dutch in the Atlantic World, 1600-1800
- History of the Book, 1500-1800
Dr. Van Ittersum is a member of the Scottish Centre for Global History: http://globalhistory.org.uk/
Unravelling the ideological justification of Dutch imperialism and colonialism and its political consequences in the early modern period has been a big part of her work ever since her graduate student days at Harvard University. The Dutch East and West India Companies succeeded in creating a truly global empire of trade in the seventeenth century, stretching from Yemen to Japan and from Dutch New York to the Cape of Good Hope. Her monograph Profit and Principle: Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Theories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the East Indies, 1595-1615 reconstructs the immediate historical context of the rights and contract theories of the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). Grotius’ early treatises, including Mare Liberum/The Free Sea (1609), were written in response to a set of practical problems faced by the Dutch East India Company. In a series of peer-reviewed articles, she extends this argument by examining Grotius’ defence of Dutch privateering in the Caribbean in the 1600s, his involvement in Anglo-Scotto-Dutch fishery disputes a decade later, and his informal support for Dutch overseas expansion during his long years of exile in Paris.
Dr. Van Ittersum became interested in the “materiality of texts” and “archaeology of archives” during her resident fellowship at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies in spring 2005. She did extensive research on Ms. BPL 917 in Leiden University Library, the sole surviving copy of Grotius’ De Jure Praedae/Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty. The manuscript’s watermarks, quiring and foliation suggest that the original text, written in 1604-1605, was substantially revised at least twice, in early 1607 and late 1608.
Dr. Van Ittersum was the grateful recipient of a nine-month Research Grant of the Leverhulme Trust in the academic year 2009/2010. As a Visiting Scholar at Huygens ING, she did research on Grotius’ working papers extant in The Netherlands, particularly the circulation of this material in the early modern period. One of the fruits of her labour was the article “Knowledge Production in the Dutch Republic: The Household Academy of Hugo Grotius (1583-1645),” which appeared in the Journal of the History of Ideas.
Dr. Van Ittersum served as Erasmus Lecturer in the History and Civilization of The Netherlands and Flanders at Harvard University in autumn 2011, and continued on as Visiting Scholar in the Harvard History Department in spring 2012. At Harvard, she investigated Grotius’ role in canon formation in both the early modern and modern periods. Her article ‘Confronting Grotius’ Legacy in an Age of Revolution: The Cornets de Groot Family in Rotterdam, 1748-1798’, which appeared in the English Historical Review, examines Grotius’ image as republican hero in the Dutch Republic in the late eighteenth century. How Grotius became a founding father of international law in the late nineteenth century –largely as a result of Dutch nationalism, American enthusiasm and the rise of modern international law-- was the topic of a public lecture delivered at Harvard University in November 2011. A revised version of her Erasmus lecture is forthcoming as an essay chapter in the OUP Handbook of International Legal Theory, ed. Anne Orford.
Dr. Van Ittersum has a book contract with Brill Academic Publishers for a monograph on the transmission and dispersal of Grotius’ working papers. These voluminous materials –thousands of folios are extant today-- moved in and out of public view over a period of three centuries. What has happened to these papers, who has used them and which purposes have been served by them is closely connected with Grotius' public image(s) in different times and places. Grotius has been many things to many people: a martyr of toleration for Dutch Remonstrants, a republican hero for Dutch Patriots and, most recently, a founding father of international law. How the interaction between Grotius’ public image(s) and the survival and study of his working papers has shaped our understanding of the nachleben of seventeenth century scholars –it is as much true for Hobbes and Locke as it is for Grotius— Dr. Van Ittersum intends to explain in her forthcoming monograph.
Suggested areas for postgraduate supervision
I am interested in the interaction of politics, political theory, culture, and society in the early modern period. The focus of my work until now has been the justification of economic interests in terms of natural law and natural rights theory. However, I encourage students to think about this material much more broadly.
AHRC funded studentships are available in my research area - more details
Publications & Funding
Many of Dr. Van Ittersum’s publications are now available in PDF on https://dundee.academia.edu/MartinevanIttersum.
- Profit and Principle: Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Theories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the East Indies, 1595-1615, Brill Intellectual History Series (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006)
Refereed Journal Articles
- ‘Confronting Grotius’ Legacy in an Age of Revolution: The Cornets de Groot Family in Rotterdam, 1748-1798’, English Historical Review CXXVII no. 529 (Dec. 2012) 1367-1403
- ‘Knowledge Production in the Dutch Republic: The Household Academy of Hugo Grotius (1583-1645)’, Journal of the History of Ideas 72 (4), October 2011, 523-548
- ‘The Long Goodbye: Hugo Grotius and the Justification of Dutch Expansion Overseas (1604-1645)’, History of European Ideas 36 (2010) pp. 386-411
- ‘The Wise Man is never merely a Private Citizen: The Roman Stoa in Hugo Grotius’ De Jure Praedae (1604-1608)’, History of European Ideas 36 (2010) pp. 1-18
- ‘Dating the Manuscript of De Jure Praedae (1604-1608): What Watermarks, Foliation and Quire Divisions Can Tell Us About Hugo Grotius’ Development as a Natural Rights and Natural Law Theorist’, History of European Ideas 35 (2009) pp. 125-193
- ‘Mare Liberum in the West Indies? Hugo Grotius and the Case of the Swimming Lion, a Dutch Pirate in the Caribbean at the Turn of the Seventeenth Century’, Itinerario 31/3 (2007) pp. 59-94
- ‘Mare Liberum versus The Propriety of the Seas? The Debate between Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) and William Welwood (1552-1624) and Its Impact on Anglo-Scotto-Dutch Fishery Disputes in the Second Decade of the Seventeenth Century’, Edinburgh Law Review X (May 2006) pp. 239-276
- ‘Hugo Grotius in Context: Van Heemskerck’s Capture of the Santa Catarina and Its Justification in De Jure Praedae (1604-1606)’, Asian Journal of Social Science 31 (2003) pp. 511-548
Essay Chapters & Source Editions
- “Kein Weiser is ein Privattmann. Die Römische Stoa in Hugo Grotius’ De Jure Praedae (1604-1608)” in: Kosmopolitanismus: Zur Geschichte und Zukunft eines umstrittenen Ideals ed. Matthias Luzt-Bachmann, Andreas Niederberger and Philipp Schink (Weilerswist, Germany: Velbrück Wissenschaft, 2010) pp. 59-100
- “Preparing Mare Liberum for the Press: Hugo Grotius’ Rewriting of Chapter 12 of De Jure Praedae in November-December 1608” in: Property, Piracy and Punishment: Hugo Grotius on War and Booty in De Jure Praedae – Concepts and Contexts ed. Hans W. Blom (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2009) pp. 246-280
- Hugo Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, trans. Gwladys L. Williams, ed. Martine Julia van Ittersum, Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2006)
- “‘Three Moneths Observations of the Low Countreys, especially Holland’: Owen Felltham and Anglo-Dutch Relations in the Seventeenth Century,” LIAS: Sources and Documents Relating to the Early Modern History of Ideas 27 (2000) pp. 95-151
- ----, Texts, edited with the collaboration of C.D. van Strien, LIAS 27 (2000) pp. 152-195
Book Review Articles
- ‘A Miracle Mirrored? The Reception of Dutch Economic and Political Thought in Europe in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review 127-4 (2012) 83-99
- Review of Enny de Bruijn, Eerst de waarheid, dan de vrede. Jacob Revius, 1586-1658 (Zoetermeer: Boekencentrum, 2012), BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review Vol. 128-2 (2013), review no. 49
- Review of Annabel S. Brett, Changes of State: Nature and The Limits of The City in Early Modern Natural Law (Princeton University Press, 2011), The Journal of Modern History 84, No. 3 (September 2012) pp. 707-709
- Review of Robert Parthesius, Dutch Ships in Tropical Waters: The Development of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) Shipping Network in Asia, 1595-1600 (Amsterdam University Press, 2010), Sixteenth Century Journal XLII, no. 4 (2011) pp. 1249-1251
- Review of (Un)masking the Realities of Power: Justus Lipsius and the Dynamics of Political Writing in Early Modern Europe ed. Erik De Bom, Marijke Janssens, Toon Van Houdt and Jan Papy, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 193 (Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2010) in Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4 (Winter 2011), pp. 1205-1207
- ‘Political Thought in the Dutch Republic in an Age of Decline’, review of Wyger R.E. Velema, Republicans: Essays on Eighteenth-Century Dutch Political Thought, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 155 (Leiden and Boston: Brill Publishers, 2007), Journal of Early Modern History 12, no. 1 (2008) pp. 77-83
- “Fernández-Armesto at the Crossroads” review of Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration (Oxford University Press, 2006), New Global Studies: Vol. 2 : Iss. 1 (2008), Article 7. Available at: http://www.bepress.com/ngs/vol2/iss1/art7
- [together with Victor Enthoven] ‘The Mouse That Roars: Dutch Atlantic History’, Journal of Early Modern History 10 no. 3 (2006) pp. 221-230
- Review of Voyages and Visions: Towards a Cultural History of Travel ed. Jás Elsner and Joan-Pau Rubiés (London: Reaktion Books, 1999) Journal of Early Modern History 9 (2005) pp. 398-400
- Review of K.W. Swart, William of Orange and the Revolt of the Netherlands, 1572-84 ed. R.P. Fagle, M.E.H.N. Mout and H.F.K. van Nierop, translated by J.C. Grayson, with introductory chapters by Alastair Duke and Jonathan I. Israel, St. Andrews Studies in Reformation History (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003) Journal of Early Modern History 9 (2005) pp. 415-419
- Review of Bartolomé de las Casas, An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies (With Related Texts) ed. Franklin W. Knight (Indianapolis, Ind.: Hackett Publishing Company, 2003), Journal of Early Modern History 8 (2004) pp. 160-162
- Review of David Ormrod, The Rise of Commercial Empires: England and The Netherlands in the Age of Mercantilism, 1650-1770 (Cambridge: CUP, 2003), Harvard Business History Review 77 (2003) pp. 552-558
- Review of Andrea Finkelstein, Harmony and the Balance: An Intellectual History of Seventeenth-Century English Economic Thought (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), Harvard Business History Review 77 (2003) pp. 174-177
- Review of Michael Wintle, An Economic and Social History of the Netherlands, 1800-1920: Demographic, Economic and Social Transition (Cambridge: CUP, 2000), Harvard Business History Review 75 (2001) pp. 235-239
- Royal Society of Edinburgh, European Visiting Research Fellowship (£1,990), Dec. 2012
- Harvard University, Erasmus Lectureship ($60,000), Autumn 2011
- Carnegie Trust, Scotland, Research Grant (£1,960), November 2010
- Leverhulme Trust, UK, Research Fellowship (£30,000, Sept.’09-May ‘10), April 2009
- Netherlands America Foundation, NYC, Research Grant ($2,500), December 2008
- Carnegie Trust, Scotland, Research Grant (£2,290), November 2008
- British Academy Small Research Grant (£2,000), December 2007
- British Academy Overseas Conference Grant (£400), August 2007
- Scaliger Institute, University of Leiden, Summer Research Grant (€2,000), June-July 2007
- Carnegie Trust, Scotland, Summer Research Grant (£2,000), June 2006
- British Academy Overseas Conference Grant (£400), December 2005
- Carnegie Trust, Scotland, Summer Research Grant (£2,000), June 2005
- Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, The Netherlands, Resident Fellowship (€10,000), Feb.-Jun. 2005
- Nederlands Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, copy-editing grant (€2,000), December 2004
- Carnegie Trust, Scotland, Summer Research Grant (£2,000), June 2004
- Harvard University, CORE Fellowship ($40,000), 2002-2003
- Harvard University, Packard Humanities Fellowship ($20,000), 1999-2000
- Fulbright Fellowship for Graduate Study at Harvard University ($4,000), 1992
Visiting Professorships and Stipendiary Fellowships
- Harvard University, Erasmus Lecturer in the History and Civilization of The Netherlands and Flanders, Autumn 2011
- Scaliger Institute, University of Leiden, Scaliger Fellow, June-July 2007
- Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, The Netherlands, Resident Fellowship, Feb.-Jun. 2005
- Huygens ING, Visiting Scholar, July-Aug. 2013
- Harvard History Department, Visiting Scholar, Spring 2012
- Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Honorary Research Fellow, Sept. 2011 until present
- Huygens ING, The Hague, Visiting Scholar, 20 June – 22 July 2011
- Huygens ING, The Hague, Visiting Scholar, Sept. 2009-June 2010
- Harvard History Department, Visiting Scholar, Feb.-May 2009
- Member of the Helsinki Working Group on "International Law and Empire," The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, Helsinki, Finland, October 2012 until present (by invitation)
- Scottish representative on the Executive Committee of the Association of Low Countries Studies (UK), July 2011 until present (by invitation)
- Swiss National Science Foundation, refereed a fellowship application, April 2011
- Brill Academic Publishers, refereed book manuscripts, June 2009 and August 2007
- Royal Historical Society, London, elected Fellow in October 2008
- Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society for Dutch Literature), elected Fellow in May 2008 in recognition of my contributions to the study of Dutch history
- Nederlands Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, refereed an application for research leave, September 2004
- Refereed articles for the following journals: European Journal of Political Theory, European Review of History, English Historical Review, Journal of the History of Ideas, Philosophy & Rhetoric, History of European Ideas, Itinerario, Journal of Early Modern History, Scottish Archives, International Journal of Maritime History, Harvard Business History Review and Law and History Review (American Bar Foundation)
Professional Editorial Work
- Associate Editor of Studies in the History of International Law, a peer-reviewed book series published by Brill Academic Publishers, May 2013 until present
- Associate Editor of the journal Itinerario, published by CUP, Nov. 2008 until present
- Book Review Editor, Journal of Early Modern History, Jan. 2004-April 2008
Roundtable Discussions and Invited Presentations
- Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, 21 March 2012, ‘Asia in Amsterdam’ roundtable discussion.
- Nieuw Waldeck Public Library, The Hague, 20 April 2010, ‘Hugo Grotius’ Justification of Dutch Interloping in the Iberian Colonial Empires, 1604-1645’
- Historical Museum of The Hague, 13 Dec. 2009, ‘The Legacy of Hugo Grotius’
- Peace Palace, The Hague, 11 Dec. 2009, ‘The Colonial Context of Mare Liberum’, delivered at a commemorative conference for the Quartrocentenary of the publication of Mare Liberum
- [Together with Jaap Jacobs], ‘Are We All Global Historians Now? An Interview with David Armitage’, Itinerario 36, no. 2 (August 2012) pp. 7-28.
- ‘Getting Dirty with Documents: Innovative History Teaching at the University of Dundee’ in: Discovery Days 2006 ed. Carol Pope (Dundee: University of Dundee, 2006) pp. 40-41.