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Advanced Themes in Archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme.


Theme: A worldwide archaeological and anthropological perspective on colonialism, globalisation, decolonisation.

European expansion into the non-Western world at the end of the 15th century represents a landmark in global history. The colonisation of the Americas is one of the most transfigurative and infamous episodes in world history, as native societies were suddenly and dramatically transformed.

Indigenous people responded to the colonial invasion in various ways and attempted to negotiate, sometimes successfully, interactions with Europe. Yet indigenous voices often remain marginalised in colonial and post-colonial historiographies, overwritten by narratives of conquest and hegemony.

The archaeological record is perfectly suited to provide novel insights into these infamous histories by uncovering the indigenous perspectives hitherto biased by still dominant Eurocentric viewpoints and narratives.

While taking the Americas as a starting point, this thematic course also looks at the deep histories of Africa, and Southeast-Asia/the Pacific where similar processes of exploitation, domination and neglect have taken place.
It explores comparative trans-disciplinary approaches that allow the construction of bigger pictures, using a variety of methodologies and techniques, and emphasising the archaeological data critically juxtaposed with documentary and oral sources.

In this perspective, the course also discusses transformative processes related to colonialism and globalisation that involved Europe, the Mediterranean, and Eurasia.
The study of hitherto undisclosed indigenous histories can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the roles of the past in the present, and can reach multiple and perhaps competing stakeholders at local, regional, pan-regional, and global levels.

Course set-up

Each 2-hour class is composed of a lecture and includes an in-class presentation and discussion.
Lectures are arranged according to the spatial frames, and are related to the leading topics of this year’s theme of the course.

After an introduction of the theme by the course coordinator, case studies from several world regions will be presented by Faculty professors. Two readings are assigned on a weekly basis and serve as a backdrop for the in-class discussions.

Lecture 1: Introduction and Caribbean
Lecture 2: Middle and South Americas
Lecture 3: Europe
Lecture 4: Mediterranean
Lecture 5: Eurasia
Lecture 6: South Africa
Lecture 7: Australasia-Southeast Asia
Mini symposium

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the recent debates concerning the many facets of this year’s theme, i.e. a worldwide archaeological and anthropological perspective on colonialism, globalisation, decolonisation;

  • Ability to evaluate and discuss the lectures’ content, the relevant literature, and the many facets of this year’s theme;

  • Ability to present one’s view in class discussions, and to moderate a discussion;

  • Ability to write and critically evaluate a symposium presentation in teams;

  • Ability to better understand the multi-facetted roles of material culture in the interdisciplinary (re)constructions of the past.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

  • Interactive lectures;

  • Class discussions;

  • One presentation on assigned readings and moderation of class discussion;

  • Presentation symposium and peer review.

Course load

  • 7 × 2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 280 pages of literature (including) (2 ec);

  • Assignments (pitch of assigned readings plus one article of own choice, and moderation and participation in class discussions; 1,500-word essay; symposium presentation and peer review (500 words in team) (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • 1,500-word essay formatted as a (publishable) scholarly article, to be handed in 3 weeks after the end of the course (50%);

  • Presentation and peer review of mini symposium (20%);

  • Assignments (20%);

  • Participation in class discussion (10%).

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

Reading list

280 pages of compulsory literature will be announced at a later stage as we aim to include the most recent publications as possible. Readings will be associated to lecture themes.


Registration in uSis is mandatory. You can register for this course until 5 days before the first class.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace, but make sure to register for this course in uSis.

You are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time. The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, you are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. C.L. (Corinne) Hofman.


  • Compulsory attendance;

  • This course will be taught online.