Universiteit Leiden

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History, Arts and Culture of Asia (MA) (60EC)

About the programme

The one-year master's in History, Arts and Culture, a specialisation of Leiden University’s MA in Asian Studies, allows you to focus on one or more countries or regions of pre-modern, modern or contemporary Asia.

Programme structure

Courses (September start)
Course EC
Introduction to Asian Studies 10
China's New Workers and the Politics of Culture 10
Comparative Asian Linguistics 10
Critical Approaches to Heritage Studies 5 EC 5
Critical Approaches to Heritage Studies 10EC 10
Cultural Heritage in East Asia: Dealing with the Past in Present and Future 10
Democratizing Histories (5 EC) 5
Democratizing Histories (10 EC) 10
Histories of Southeast Asia (5 EC) 5
Histories of Southeast Asia (10 EC) 10
Pilgrimage and Holy Places 10
Pure Land Buddhism 5
Sound as Heritage of Asia 10
The Premodern in the Modern: Historicizing Gender and Sexuality 10
Topical Readings in Historical and Literary Chinese Texts 10
Urbanism and Digitally Across Asia 10
Hindi 1 10
Indonesian 1 10
Sanskrit 1 10
Tibetan 1 10
MA Thesis Asian Studies (60 EC) 15
Art and Power in China 10
Buddhism seminar 10
China and Global Cyberspace 10
Culture and Conquest: the Impact of the Mongols and their Descendants 10
Cultures of Resistance: South Asia and the World (10 EC) 5
Cultures of Resistance: South Asia and the World (10 EC) 10
Ecofeminism in Island Asia and Oceania 10
Material Culture, Heritage and Memory along the Silk Roads in Central Asia 10
Oral Traditions 10
Sinographics: Chinese Writing and Writing Chinese 10
The Past in the Present: Nation-building in Modern China (5 EC) 5
The Past in the Present: Nation-building in Modern China (10 EC) 10
The Politics of Destruction: Targeting World Heritage 10
Word and Image in Premodern Japanese Culture: Reworking the Classics 10
Hindi 2 10
Indonesian 2 10
Sanskrit 2 10
Tibetan 2 10
Internship MA Asian Studies 10
Critical Heritage Studies
Course EC

For a more detailed programme, see the Prospectus.

Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

The first semester consists of the compulsory core course Introduction to Asian Studies that all students of the MA in Asian Studies have to take. You must also choose two or more elective courses that introduce the issues, debates and methodologies of one of the humanities disciplines within Asian Studies.

If you start the programme in the spring semester (February), you will take the Introduction to Asian Studies in your second semester.

In your second semester you will again take one or two electives for a minimum of 15 EC, or fulfill this partially by an internship, and write your MA-Thesis (15 EC).

If you have a special interest in heritage studies, it is possible to focus on Critical Heritage studies of Asia and Europe within the History, Arts and Culture programme. Inspired and supported by the Asian Heritages research cluster of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), these courses allow you to explore the contested character of all representations of culture, the plurality of notions of heritage in Asian and European contexts, and the way distinct and conflicting values of indigenous, local communities and official state discourses are negotiated.

The curriculum includes courses in critical approaches to heritage studies, and heritage and policy making, and a number of electives that focus on heritage management, specific subjects/regions of Asia, and/or the study of Asian languages.

In addition to the curriculum of the MA Asian Studies/HAC programme, there are two compulsory courses for the focus on Critical Heritage Studies:

  • In the first semester (start September), students should attend the course Critical Approaches to Heritage Studies, taught by Dr. Elena Paskaleva. This course is offered at the Faculty of Humanities.
  • In the second semester (start February), students should attend the course The Politics of Destruction: Targeting World Heritage, taught by Dr. Elena Paskaleva. This course is offered at the Faculty of Humanities
  • Once a term, Professor Michael Herzfeld delivers a guest lecture and meets with all students during individual appointments. For more information regarding his visits, please contact Dr. Elena Paskaleva.

Following the MA degree at Leiden University, you also have the opportunity to pursue a Dual Degree Programme, which is offered by Leiden University, the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and one of our Asian partner universities, including the National Taiwan University and Yonsei University in South Korea.

As far as certification in the Dual Degree Programme is concerned, upon successful completion you will have obtained two diplomas in total: the Leiden University MA diploma, the partner university MA diploma and a separate certificate for the programme in Critical Heritage Studies of Asia and Europe, issued by IIAS.

For more information about Critical Heritage Studies or the Dual Degree Programme, please contact dr. Elena Paskaleva. If you would like to apply for admission to Critical Heritage Studies, you are required to indicate this in your motivation letter with your application.

The curriculum of the MA in History Arts and Culture of Asia consists of core courses, electives, and a master's thesis. The programme’s modular structure, which includes elective courses in each of the two semesters and an individually-supervised thesis, gives you considerable freedom to tailor the curriculum.

Anne Gerritsen

Professor of Kikkoman Chair for the study of Asia-Europe Intercultural Dynamics

Anne Gerritsen

“I challenge my students to take responsibility for their own choices, by letting them select their own objects of study from museum collections, and providing them with hands-on experiences in museums and storerooms.”

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's Programme?

Check the entry requirements

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