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.

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.

The first semester consists of the core courses Introduction to Asian Studies and Thesis and Methods Class, which are compulsory for all students of the MA in Asian Studies. 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 Thesis and Methods Class in your first semester and Introduction to Asian Studies in your second semester.

More info to be announced.

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Internship and study abroad options
  • Thesis
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, reports
  • Oral presentations

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 2019), 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 2019), students should attend the course Heritage and Museums Studies II, taught by Dr. Mariana C. Françozo. The first part of the course is on Critical Museology, the second one on Community Engagement. This course is offered at the Faculty of Archaeology.

Once a term, Professor Michael Herzfeld delivers a guest lecture and meets with all student 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 Double 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 Double Degree Programme is concerned, upon successful completion you will have obtained three diplomas in total: the Leiden University MA diploma, the partner university MA diploma and a separate certificate for the Double MA Degree in Critical Heritage Studies of Asia and Europe, issued by IIAS.

For more information about Critical Heritage Studies or the Double Degree Programme, please contact dr. Elena Paskaleva, or dr. Willem Vogelsang. 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.

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.”

Mirjam de Baar


Mirjam de Baar

“Time has taught us that solutions to social problems do not lie in technology, but in human potential. Technological solutions are essential, but so is the significance people attribute to this information through culture or language. Experience shows us that research within the humanities and social sciences often provides these solutions. This is why the research conducted by our humanities faculty is so highly relevant and important. I am very proud of the fact that Leiden University’s Faculty of Humanities is one of the world’s leading faculties in the field.”

Broad and relevant research:

“One of this faculty’s strengths is how incredibly broad it is. We conduct a wealth of relevant research in so many different fields and disciplines. We have egyptologists working on excavation sites in Saqqara and the Dakhla Oasis. We have linguists who are documenting, for the first time, languages that are spoken by vast numbers of people in the world today; others creating computer simulations of language acquisition by the brain. The extent and variety of the activity going on is tremendous.”

A stimulating environment

“When you join Leiden’s Faculty of Humanities you are joining a community of passionate, stimulated and ambitious students and staff from all over the world. Our academic environment is known for being conducive to interaction between individuals of all standing: at Leiden even the most junior researcher is treated as a valuable member of the community with important opinions to share. You also gain access to truly unique resources found nowhere else in the world, such as our famous collections at the University Library. Our lecturers and support staff are committed to your success, both now and in the future, and offer you the tools needed to develop into a critically-minded professional who can truly make a difference to the world.”

Detailed programme

For a 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.

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