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Asian Studies (Research)

More information can be found under the tab “More info” and on the department’s website.

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).

Start in September

Note that ‘Semester 1’ stands for Fall semester and ‘ Semester 2’ for Spring semester.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First year

Fall semester

Common Core Course

Theory and Issues in Area Studies 10

Core Elective Course (Choose one or more of the following courses with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Critical Approaches to Heritage Studies (ResMA) 10
From Inkwell to Internet: Text and Transmission in the Muslim World (ResMA) 10
The Information Age Across Asia and the Middle East (ResMA) 10
Modern China: Political Participation in China (ResMA) 10
Oral Traditions (ResMA) 10
The Politics of Culture in North Korea (ResMA) 10
Sacred Journeys: Pilgrimage and Holy Places (ResMA) 10
Sociology of Japan (ResMA) 10

Elective Course (Choose one or more courses from the MA Asian Studies (60 EC) programme with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Spring semester

Common Core Course

Research Methods in Area Studies 10

Core Elective Course (Choose one or more of the following courses with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Arts and Culture in Area Studies: Culture and Conquest: the impact of the Mongols and their descendants (ResMA) 10
Image/Text in Pre-modern Japan (ResMA) 10
Topical Readings in Korean (ResMA) 10
New Diversities in Asia (ResMA) 10
`Ulamâ’ in the Modern Muslim World (ResMA) 10

Elective Course (Choose one or more courses from the MA Asian Studies (60 EC) programme with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Second year

Fall semester

Fieldwork / Study Abroad (ResMA) 30

Alternatively, students take two or more core electives (with a minimum total of 20 EC) and one or more electives (with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Spring semester

Thesis Writing Seminar (Spring) 5
Research MA Thesis (Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies) 25

Start in February

Note that ‘Semester 1’ stands for Fall semester and ‘ Semester 2’ for Spring semester.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First year

Spring semester

Common Core Course

Research Methods in Area Studies 10

Core Elective Course (Choose one or more of the following courses with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Arts and Culture in Area Studies: Culture and Conquest: the impact of the Mongols and their descendants (ResMA) 10
Image/Text in Pre-modern Japan (ResMA) 10
New Diversities in Asia (ResMA) 10
Topical Readings in Korean (ResMA) 10
`Ulamâ’ in the Modern Muslim World (ResMA) 10

Elective Course (Choose one or more courses from the MA Asian Studies (60 EC) programme with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Fall semester

Common Core Course

Theory and Issues in Area Studies 10

Core Elective Course (Choose one or more of the following courses with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Critical Approaches to Heritage Studies (ResMA) 10
The Information Age Across Asia and the Middle East (ResMA) 10
From Inkwell to Internet: Text and Transmission in the Muslim World (ResMA) 10
Modern China: Political Participation in China (ResMA) 10
Oral Traditions (ResMA) 10
The Politics of Culture in North Korea (ResMA) 10
Sacred Journeys: Pilgrimage and Holy Places (ResMA) 10
Sociology of Japan (ResMA) 10

Elective Course (Choose one or more courses from the MA Asian Studies (60 EC) programme with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Second year

Spring semester

Fieldwork / Study Abroad (ResMA) 30

Alternatively, students take two or more core electives (with a minimum total of 20 EC) and one or more electives (with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Fall semester

Thesis Writing Seminar (Fall) 5
Research MA Thesis (Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies) 25

Elective courses

The courses listed are, in principle, open to all students admitted to the MA Asian Studies (research). However, some of them may have additional entry requirements such as, for example, a particular level of language sufficiency. Please, refer to the course descriptions for further details.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1 (Fall semester)

Specialisation courses offered by the MA Asian Studies programme:

General courses on Asian Studies

Asia through Consumption 10
Introduction to Asian Studies 5
Religious Themes in Asian Art 10
Cultures of Resistance in the Post-colonial World 10
Oral Traditions 10
Critical Approaches to Heritage Studies 5
Heritage protection in a global context 5

East Asian Studies (Japan, Korea and China)

Ecology in East Asia: Past and Present 10
Crime and Criminal Justice: East Asian Perspectives 10

Korean Studies

The Politics of Culture in North Korea 10
Buddhist-Confucian Dialogue in Pre-Modern Korea 10

China Studies

Modern China: Political Participation in China 10
China's International Political Economy 10
BRIC: emerging powers and changing global relations 10

Japan Studies

Sociology of Japan 10
Linguistic diversity in and around Japan 10

South and Southeast Asian Studies

BRIC: emerging powers and changing global relations 10
Politics of Culture in Southeast Asia 10
Histories of Southeast Asia 5
Economic development and social change in Southeast Asia 10

Buddhist Studies

Buddhist-Confucian Dialogue in Pre-Modern Korea 10
Buddhism and Psychology (Sacred Texts) 10
Religious Themes in Asian Art 10

Beginner's Level Language Courses

Students of the MA Asian Studies (Research) can opt to take beginner’s level language courses, but need the approval of the Board of Examiners if they want these courses to count towards their degree. Note that the number of available places may be limited.

Beginner's level Japanese 10
Chinese 1 10
Korean 1 10
Indonesian Language 1 10
Hindi 1 10
Tibetan 1 10
Sanskrit 1 10
Language Acquisition Turkish (beginner's level) 5
Language Acquisition Turkish 2 (beginner's level) 5

Advanced Language Courses

Modern Chinese Oral/Aural Proficiency A 5
Modern Chinese Oral / Aural Proficiency B 5
Language Training: Modern Chinese Reading / Writing 5
Advanced Readings in Classical Chinese 5
Advanced Reading & Writing in Japanese 1 (60 EC) 10
Advanced Korean Language Training: Reading 5
Advanced Korean Language Training: Translation 5
Advanced Readings in Sanskrit Literature 10
Hindi Literature 10

Semester 2 (Spring semester)

Specialisation courses offered by other MA programmes.

General courses on Asian Studies

Democratizing Histories: Asia and the World 10
New Diversities in Asia 10
Hands-on Research Experience in Museum Volkenkunde 10
Chinese Art History 10
The Material Culture of Food and Drink: Interaction and Exchange between Asia and Europe, 1500-1800 10

East Asian Studies

Identity and Security in East Asia 10

Japan Studies

Image/Text in Pre-modern Japan 10

China Studies

Chinese Modern History 10
History of Chinese Linguistics 10
Chinese Art History 10
The Cultural Revolution(s) of China 10

Korean Studies

Colonial Modernity and Gender in Korean Literature and Film 10

South and Southeast Asian Studies

Political Economy of Southeast Asia 10
Contemporary Indian Politics 10
Environment and Development 10

Beginner's Level Language Courses

Students of the MA Asian Studies (Research) can opt to take beginner’s level language courses, but need the approval of the Board of Examiners if they want these courses to count towards their degree. Note that the number of available places may be limited.

Hindi 2 10
Sanskrit 2 10
Tibetan 2 10
Indonesian Language 2 10

Advanced Language Courses

Advanced Modern Chinese: Writing 5
Advanced Modern Chinese: Reading 5
Advanced Modern Chinese: Listening and Speaking 5
Advanced Reading & Writing in Japanese 2 (60 EC) 5
Korean Translation 5

More info

Programme Details
Objectives
Structure
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
Contact Information

Programme Details

Title: Master of Arts
Duration: 2 years, full-time
Start dates: September and February
Language of instruction: English
Responsibility: Programme director Master Asian Studies (research), Prof. Dr. J.A. Silk

Objectives

This research master provides core training in an Area Studies approach to knowledge, opportunities for the development of disciplinary skills (politics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, etc.), and possibilities to build upon regional and language specialisation (such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Sanskrit, and Tibetan). Master students in Asian Studies develop sophisticated theoretical and methodological tools for scholarly reflexivity as well as tools specific for their research projects – which may be framed in more conventionally disciplinary and regional terms. They are guided to understand the parameters of the various disciplines and the ways in which they may be creatively combined into sophisticated forms of inter-disciplinarity, suitable to their subject matter. Students develop in-depth knowledge of one of the regions of Asia (East Asia, South or Southeast Asia [including Tibet]), and/or a transregional/comparative perspective that tracks particular themes through their relationship with ‘areas.’

Structure

Introduction

Preferably during the first weeks after the start of their studies, the students of the MA Asian Studies (research) are coupled with a “consultant”, one of the professors involved in the programme who (preferably) works on a topic of interest to the individual student. Together with his or her “consultant” the student composes a programme which caters to her or his interest.

Common Core Courses

The programme consists of four semesters with a course load of 30 EC each. The courses have a weight of 10 EC each (some language courses have a weight of 5 EC) and students generally follow three courses per semester. During the first year students have to take two Common Core Courses: ‘Theory and Issues of Area Studies’ (Fall Semester) and ‘Methods in Area Studies’ (Spring Semester). These courses are obligatory for students of both the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) and the MA Asian Studies (research) and attended by them jointly.

Core Electives and Electives

Besides these Common Core Courses students take elective courses. The programme offers two kinds of electives: “core electives” and “electives”. Every student needs to choose at least one “core elective” in each semester.
These core electives are courses which are also attended by regular MA students, but they aim at the same time at offering an extra intellectual challenge to the students of the research MA: during the course more challenging literature is read and extra tutorials are offered by the convernors of the courses to discuss the literature read. Moreover, the assignments are assessed at a higher level to cater to the higher intellectual need of research MA students. The remaining regular “electives” are courses attended jointly with the students of the regular MAs and lack the extra challenges offered by the “core electives”.
It is also possible to take courses from other programmes, but when students choose to do so, they need to obtain approval from the Board of Examiners first. Students should be aware, though, that for some of the courses a certain level of knowledge of a particular language is required (see course descriptions).

Fieldwork / Study Abroad

Students are expected to spend the third semester of the programme abroad doing fieldwork and/or studying at an affiliated institution.

The last semester: Thesis Writing Seminar and MA-Thesis

After their return from Fieldwork or Study Abroad, the students write their MA-Thesis. The process of writing is supported by a “Thesis Seminar” which is obligatory and offered bi-weekly. Students present their research during this seminar and discuss relevant issues with their peers.

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In the third semester students start working on their individual research (and if they want to do fieldwork in the third semester, even earlier). This will result in a master’s thesis. The thesis must be based on the student’s own research, including primary data. Whether this material is gathered during fieldwork and/or a study-abroad period depends on the road chosen by the student. The fourth semester is entirely reserved for the writing of the thesis. During this semester, the students gather on a regular base under the guidance of Prof. E.J. Zürcher in the Thesis Writing Seminar to discuss their progress. This “course” has a weight of 5 EC and is obligatory for all students in the fourth semester. In order to graduate, students need to have successfully completed the 120 EC programme including having completed the thesis (25 EC) as part of that programme. The thesis should be related to the expertise of at least one of the members of staff involved in the programme.

Contact Information

Mailing address

MA Asian Studies (research) programme
Secretariat Vrieshof 4, rm 112a
P.O.Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Visiting address (also address for courier services)

Matthias de Vrieshof 4, 2311BZ Leiden
Witte Singel 25, 2311BG Leiden

Secretariat

Matthias de Vrieshof 4, room 112a

Opening hours

Phone +31 (0)71 527 2253
E-mail secrVrieshof@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Coordinator/Student adviser

N.A.N.M. van Os, PhD
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 2937
E-mail: stucovrieshof@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Office hours: upon appointment on Mondays (until 13.00 hs), Tuesdays, Wednesdays