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Seminar II: Heritage of South and Southeast Asia


Admission requirements

Successful completion of at least 45 EC from the first year of the bachelor's programme in South and Southeast Asian Studies, including Seminar I: Classical Cultures of South and Southeast Asia. If you do not meet this requirement but would still like to take the course, please mail both the course coordinator (David Henley) and the BASSEAS Coordinator of Studies, explaining the reasons for your interest.


This seminar will introduce students to some of the key concepts, issues, debates, and literature surrounding the idea and politics of heritage. Bringing together both theoretical literature and case studies from South and Southeast Asia, the seminar will focus on a multi-layered set of questions around the theme of heritage: collection, representation, 'museumization', historicity, modernity, identity, memory, and conflict. Students will be exposed to pertinent literature from various disciplines, including history, art history, anthropology, and human geography. They will be shown how to understand heritage in terms of objects, traditions, narratives, frames, agendas, claims, and negotiations, and how to place heritage issues in cultural, social, political, and economic context. The format is inclusive and participatory. The majority of the seminars in the series are structured around interpretations and discussions of specific primary sources, led by second-year student presenters. Other seminars take as their starting points presentations of ongoing dissertation research by third year students.

Course objectives

  • to give students a good conceptual understanding of the idea of heritage

  • to introduce students to key texts and arguments surrounding heritage

  • to teach students to apply general knowledge of heritage issues to specific case studies and debates from South and Southeast Asia

  • to give students instruction and experience in analysing primary sources

  • to improve students' ability to review secondary literature in a comprehensive and critical way

  • to improve students' ability to present and contest arguments

  • to encourage students to relativize culturally and historically specific assumptions

  • to meet the need for a regular gathering of, and discussion among, all students of the South and Southeast Asian Studies programme at a stage when most of its other components are optional and specialized

  • to allow second year students to benefit directly from the experience and knowledge of the third year cohort


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Twelve seminars including short lectures, student presentations, and participatory discussions.

Attendance and participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method


  • Active participation in the seminar sessions

  • 8 x short web postings (250-300 words)

  • 1 x brief oral presentation (20 minutes)

  • Written assignment (2000-2500 words, not including bibliography)

  • Written examination (2 hours, essay questions


  • General participation: 5%

  • Weekly postings in response to set readings: 10%

  • Oral presentation: 10%

  • Essay: 35%

  • Examination: 40%


In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (= 6) or higher. A resit of the final examination (40%) is possible.

Reading list

To be specified in the course syllabus.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.