Admission to the MA Asian Studies (60 EC, 120 EC or research). Students from other relevant MA programmes can be admitted if places are left; students from the MA Asian Studies have priority.
What is history, what is it for, and whose is it? While all three of these questions are as old as the discipline of history itself, most recently, it is the last of the three that has increasingly come to occupy global center stage. This development in the writing of history, or historiography, reflects a more general global-historical pattern: Around the world, the last several decades have witnessed both a declining interest in traditional intellectual and political confrontations of “right” and “left” as such, and a dramatic rise in critical discussion and debate of notions that previously inspired little controversy, including modernity, globalization, Western dominance, gender, race, culture, nation-building and national identity.
Such academic shifts in turn reflect recent historical shifts and struggles in the global balance of power, including the decline of Euro-American dominance and the end of the Cold War on the one hand, and, on the other, the increasing global empowerment and assertiveness of groups, peoples and places whose active role in the making (and writing) of history was formerly ignored, denied, or suppressed. Asia, and the writing of modern Asian history, stands at the center and forefront of such developments, which can be summed up in the term “Democratizing Histories.”
This course explores these developments from a variety of methodological, thematic and geographical perspectives, drawing on a representative sample of scholarship. The instructors, specialists in South Asia and East/Southeast Asia respectively, address shared questions of Asia’s history and historiography drawing upon distinct regional perspectives as well as a common theoretical foundation. Themes include Marxian histories; the “Cultural Turn”; the local, the national and the transnational; the relationship between academic and non-academic histories; histories in the vernacular; centers and peripheries; and the possibility of post-Eurocentric histories.
Participants in this course will acquire the following:
A critical understanding of contemporary methods/ tools of history writing, alternative approaches, forms of narrativisation, and the ability to apply them in analysis.
An understanding of non-Eurocentric perspectives on historiography
Improved research skills, presentation skills, composition skills, and ability to critically evaluate readings
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.
Assessment and weighing
In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the course as a whole.
All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.
Students are required to write a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 7 webpostings/reflections (out of a total possible 11 sessions). If they fail one of them, they can do a different one.
A re-sit for other course components is not possible.
Inspection and feedback
Feedback will be given on a rolling base. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the course results, a meeting with the convener of the course will be organized.
A wide variety of readings are assigned, most accessible to students via the Leiden University catalogue or open-access online. Exceptions that require purchase are Edward Said, Orientalism and Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities.
Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof