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Seminar III: Heritage of South and Southeast Asia


Admission requirements

Successful completion of at least 60 EC of the first year and 45 EC of the second year of the bachelor programme in South and Southeast Asian Studies. If do not meet this requirement but but would nevertheless like to be considered for admission to the course, please contact both course coordinator David Henley and BA SSEAS programme study coordinator Pui Chi Lai.


This seminar will introduce students to some of the key concepts, debates, and literature surrounding the idea and politics of heritage. Bringing together theoretical literature and case studies from South and Southeast Asia, the seminar will focus on a multi-layered set of issues including 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, featuring student presentations and debate as well as guest lectures on heritage-related topics by specialists in particular areas. 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.

  • To give third year students a group forum in which to present and discuss their ongoing BA dissertation research.

  • To provide third year students with supplementary support for their dissertation research in the form of a (mid-term) critical bibliographic essay assignment.


The timetable is available on the website of the Timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

140 hours in total for 5 ECs, of which 24 hours of lectures and student seminars, and the remainder to be spent on reading (average of 4 hours per week), preparing web postings in response to the set readings, preparing one presentation, preparing a mid-term essay, and preparing for the final examination.

Assessment method


Weekly web postings, classroom presentation (dissertation-related), participation in class, written assignment (dissertation-related critical bibliographic essay), written examination (essay questions).


  • presentation (10%), participation (10%), and web postings (10%) in response to set readings: 30% in total

  • mid term bibliographic essay: 30%

  • final examination: 40%


Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • all normal purposes

Reading list

There is no course textbook.


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


Prof.dr.David Henley
Dr. Sanjukta Sunderason


All other information.