Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS)


LIAS has a School of Asian Studies (SAS), a School of Middle-Eastern Studies (SMES) and a School of Religious Studies (LUCSoR). These designations, and the fields within them, remain foundational to our work. At the same time, the academic community benefits from the presence of cross-regional networks that are defined along thematic and disciplinary lines.

Research Projects

NWO-funded research projects

  • NWO Open Competitie | Forgotten Lineages: Afterlives of Dutch Slavery in the Indian Ocean World (2023-2027)

ERC-funded research projects

  • ERC Advanced Grant | PURANA: Mythical Discourse and Religious Agency in the Puranic Ecumene
  • ERC Starting Grant | Van Manen: Locating Literature, Lived Religion, and Lives in the Himalayas

Research networks

Ancient Worlds network
The Ancient Worlds Network brings together staff and graduate students in LIAS-LUCSoR working on the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world.

Canonical Cultures network
Religion, Philosophy, and the Pre-modern World

Dialogic Network
Dialogue among cultures and disciplines: past, present and future

Early Modernity Matters
This research network aims to promote cross-regional collaboration in the field of cultural history in early modern Asia at the intersections of visual, material, textual and aural culture.

Language Learning Resource Centre
Leiden University has a strong tradition in language teaching, in various settings: for instance in the BA and MA language and culture programmes, area studies programmes, international studies, minors and electives. Currently, 20 different languages are taught throughout different institutes and programmes.

Leiden Political Economy (LPEG) network
The Leiden Political Economy Group (L-PEG) is a network of scholars of political economy, development, economic history, economics, and international political economy across various Leiden University programs and institutes and beyond.

Histories Connected
Histories Connected seeks to explore social, cultural, and political issues that connect people of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Europe throughout different periods of time.

Comparative Religion Network
Within the Comparative Religion Network staff and graduate students from LIAS-LUCSoR (and beyond) discuss ongoing work and cooperate on key issues in the comparative and systematic study of religion.

Research Colloquium: SSEALS 
SSEALS (South and Southeast Asia Leiden Series) is a colloquium initiative stitching together three core concerns that animate scholars and researchers in the humanities and social science: space/detours, time/absence and people/encounters. 

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