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Advanced Themes in Archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme.


A worldwide archaeological and anthropological perspective on colonialism, globalisation, and decolonisation

European expansion into the non-Western world at the end of the 15th century represents a landmark in global history. During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, coloniality emerged as a new structure of power as Europeans colonised the Americas and built on the ideas of Western civilisation and modernity as the endpoints of historical time, and Europe as the center of the world.

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/Pacific where similar processes of exploitation, domination and neglect have taken place.
It explores comparative transdisciplinary approaches that allow the construction of bigger pictures, looking at a variety of methodologies and ontologies, 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 coordinators, case studies from several world regions will be presented by Faculty professors and their guests. Two readings are assigned on a weekly basis and serve as a backdrop for the in-class discussions.

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 scholarly article;

  • 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 pitch on own research related to the course topic and moderation of discussion on assigned readings;

  • Peer review.

Assessment method

  • 1,500-word essay formatted as a (publishable) scholarly article (50%);

  • Peer review of essay, 500 words (15%);

  • Assignments: presentation and discussion moderation (20%);

  • Weekly discussion point submission and participation in class discussion (15%).

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.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


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


  • Compulsory attendance;

  • This course will be taught online.