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Research Seminar: Heritage and Museum Studies


Admission requirements

Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme.


This is the central seminar for the RMA track Archaeological Heritage in a Globalising World, which is to be followed during 2 years.
You will examine theoretical, interpretative and social dimensions of heritage (archaeological sites, museum settings, cultural landscapes and meaningful places, etc.) on the basis of in-depth case studies with a comparative, interdisciplinary approach.

The first part focuses on new approaches to and philosophies on heritage, exploring recent insights, theories and concepts, starting with “close reading” of recent publications and current debates within heritage and museum studies.
The second part, “Heritage and the qualities of landscape and place”, focuses on the role of heritage in the experience, use, design and assessment of cultural landscapes. Landscapes, in this context, are perceived as both historically grown and as socially constituted within people’s life worlds. This part explores the many ways in which heritage and biographies of place and landscape can be used to create a better, more sustainable and livable environment for the future.
How can heritage experts, together with local inhabitants, landscape designers and (other) interest groups within society, increase the potentials of heritage for meaningful place-making, the revitalisation of landscapes and urban (re)development programmes?

Case studies can be based on staff research and on-going PhD projects, which include field research in the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
Students with a specific regional interest are expected to follow (e.g. in their Free Choice part of the RMA-programme) courses concerning the culture area and/or relevant language in question within the Faculty of Archaeology or elsewhere.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of and insight in setting up, structuring and executing academic research projects, on the basis of detailed knowledge of the relevant theoretical concepts, empirical data, research problems, recent literature and current issues under consideration;

  • Insight in how high-ranking international research is conducted;

  • Critical assessment of current research and publications with respect to applicability and background;

  • Ability to express one’s opinion on these topics in discussion;

  • Ability to design and conduct research and generate new knowledge;

  • Insight in the applicability of relevant theoretical concepts and models in archaeology, anthropology, history and (cultural) geography;

  • Ability to give an oral presentation of research;

  • Development of well-argumented texts on research;

  • Critical review of one’s own research and that of fellow students, in a constructive manner.


Course schedule details can be found in the RMA and RMSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

Seminar on current issues and theoretical aspects with students’ reports, commenting on the structure of research and thesis, with analytic discussion of recent publications and progress reports on research practice.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the mode of instruction may change before or during the course.

Course load

  • Lectures and discussions (4 ec);

  • Literature study with presentations and written assignments (4 ec);

  • Writing of research proposal (year 1) / review article (year 2) (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Presentations + written assignments (60 %);

  • Research proposal / review article (40 %).

A retake consists of the improvement of the proposal/article within 6 weeks after the first submission, but only if all other requirements have been met.

One midterm paper has to be delivered before the end of the first part, and a final essay at the end of the second part. Both parts will contain presentations by students and intensive discussions.

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the RMA and RMSc examination schedule.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the assessment method may change before or during the course.

Reading list

The reading list will be partly indicated during the seminar, and is partly to be identified by the students themselves.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. J.C.A. (Jan) Kolen.