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Seminar 2: Future of SSEA


Admission requirements

Completion of first year of TCZZOA; students with other backgrounds may, however, be eligible for admission at the lecturers’ discretion.


Inspired by the growing literature on ‘virtual’ or ‘counterfactual’ history pioneered by writers like Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts, this seminar series is structured around intellectually fertile ‘what if?’ questions. What if besides Thailand, other South and Southeast Asian countries had also escaped European colonization? What if the partition of India, or the Vietnam War, had never happened? Or, less hypothetically: what will happen if current rates of urbanization, deforestation, and industrialization continue undiminished? Questions like these stimulate students both to expand their knowledge, and to use their imaginations. Together with its first semester counterpart Seminar I (South and Southeast Asian heritages), the course also meets 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.

Course objectives

The course aims to deepen students’ knowledge of historical and current events in South and Southeast Asia; to enable them to think independently and inventively about the significance of those events; to enhance their skills of presentation and debate; and to familiarize them with historiographic debates on determinism, contingency, and free will.


See website

Mode of instruction

Guided discussion seminars

140 hours in total for 5 ECs, of which 24 hours of guided seminars and the remainder to be spent on reading (average of 4 hours a week) and preparing one assignment and seminar presentation, and the final examination.

Assessment method

50 percent assignments, presentations and debate
50 percent final examination.


Blackboard page available

Reading list

To be announced.


Registration via Usis is required.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

David Henley