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Histories of Modern South and Southeast Asia


Admission requirements



This course aims to give students a concise knowledge of the modern histories of South and Southeast Asia from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, and to make them familiar with current debates on key issues with relation to those histories. These include for South and Southeast Asia: the character and institutions of the colonial state, the colonial economy, colonial instruments of knowledge, the late-colonial economic structure, the emergence of nationalism, decolonization, including the partition of the British Raj.

Part of this course involves for students in the BA in South and Southeast Asian Studies compulsory meetings on Academic Skills (tutorials about study skills and research skills) offered by the EAV.

Course objectives

General objectives

At the end of this course the student should be able to:

  • formulate a research question,

  • evaluate secondary sources

  • write a short essay following scholarly protocols

Objectives specific to the course

A student following the course will acquire

  • a basic knowledge of the modern histories of the South and Southeast Asia region

  • an understanding of the historical debates relating to South and Southeast Asia in the modern age

  • critical insights into the ideology and practices of colonial states


The timetable is available on the website of the Timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Lectures: 28 hs
Sessions Academic Skills: 10 hs
Preparation for lectures: 26 hs
Preparation for exam: 38 hs
Examination: 2 hs
Essay: 44 hs
Total: 140 hs

Assessment method


  • Written examination

  • Brief essay


  • Written examination: 60 %

  • Brief essay: 40 %


The final mark is made up of the essay (40%) and the written examination (60%). In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. There is a re-sit for the examination only (60%).
The course is an integrated whole. The written examination and the brief essay must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

Exam Review

If a student requests in writing a review of his/her examination answer script within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized


Blackboard will be used for:

  • submission of all written work

  • announcements and course documentation

Reading list

A selection of chapters from:

  • Crispin Bates, Subalterns and Raj, South Asia since 1600. (London: Routledge, 2007).

  • Norman Owen at al eds, The Emergence of Southeast Asia: A New History. (Hawaii Univ Press 2005).


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration (Contractonderwijs](


Prof.dr. N.K. Wickramasinghe

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).