Note: this is the course description of 2018-2019. An updated version will follow as soon as possible.
Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian Studies (research). Students interested in this course, but not a student from the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian Studies (research) are requested to contact the study co-ordinator, before registering for the course.
In contrast to the course which this logically follows, Theory and Issues in Area Studies, this course does not focus on Methodology, that is reflection on method, but rather assists Research MA students to materialise research topics, questions, and theoretical problems in tangible research activities. How can you make ideas work? What will you actually be doing in your project? How do you explicitly shape relationships between theory on the one hand, and everyday research practices on the other? The course does address epistemological concerns, helping you understand the broader spectrum of methodological approaches in which your research is located, but it focuses on practical applications rather than abstract reflection.
The course will offer sessions on key notions and methods taught by scholars focusing on, among other approaches, history, visual studies, literary studies, anthropology, and archaeology. These key notions and methods present different dimensions of a fluid discussion, not pigeonholes. The seminars are offered jointly for Research MA and PhD students, allowing interaction and the building of a strong research climate.
The objectives of this course are to:
1. Gain further insight into the theoretical and historical background of research methods used in Area Studies, their applicability and their relation to regional expertise, place, language, discipline, and positionality.
2. Learn how to use research methods reflexively by explicitly addressing their situatedness.
3. Learn how to translate theoretically embedded research questions into a feasible research project.
4. Learn why and how to go beyond a ‘cookbook’ or ‘toolkit’ approach to methods.
5. Learn to critically examine publications and data generated by neighbouring fields of enquiry, in terms of area and/or discipline and/or thematics. That is, students learn to be not only producers of research, via methods, but consumers of the research of others, which they can intelligently utilize through familiarity with research methods.
Mode of instruction
Attendance and participation are obligatory for seminars.
Students are required to attend all sessions. The convenor(s) need(s) to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.
A brief calculation of the course load, broken down by:
• Seminars: 32 hours
• Studying literature: 210 pages= 30 hours
• Assignments, papers and presentation, including research: 78 hours
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).
Details on assessment pending the appointment of convener.
Blackboard is used for communicating grades and information on the course structure and assignments. The readings and links to online sources will be available on blackboard.
Readings and links to online resources will be made available on blackboard.
ResMA students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.
Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.
PhD Students are required to register through Leiden Global.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
Studeren à la carte nor Contractonderwijs is possible for this course.
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.