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Prospectus

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Democratizing Histories (10 EC)

Course
2021-2022

Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (60 EC, 120 EC or research). Students from other relevant MA programmes can be admitted if places are left; students from the MA Asian Studies have priority.

Description

What is history, what is it for, and whose is it? While all three of these questions are as old as the discipline of history itself, most recently, it is the last of the three that has increasingly come to occupy global center stage. This development in the writing of history, or historiography, reflects a more general global-historical pattern: Around the world, the last several decades have witnessed both a declining interest in traditional intellectual and political confrontations of “right” and “left” as such, and a dramatic rise in critical discussion and debate of notions that previously inspired little controversy, including modernity, globalization, Western dominance, gender, race, culture, nation-building and national identity.

Such academic shifts in turn reflect recent historical shifts and struggles in the global balance of power, including the decline of Euro-American dominance and the end of the Cold War on the one hand, and, on the other, the increasing global empowerment and assertiveness of groups, peoples and places whose active role in the making (and writing) of history was formerly ignored, denied, or suppressed. Asia, and the writing of modern Asian history, stands at the center and forefront of such developments, which can be summed up in the term “Democratizing Histories.”

This course explores these developments from a variety of methodological, thematic and geographical perspectives, drawing on a representative sample of scholarship. The instructors, specialists in South Asia and East/Southeast Asia respectively, address shared questions of Asia’s history and historiography drawing upon distinct regional perspectives as well as a common theoretical foundation. Themes include Marxian histories; the “Cultural Turn”; the local, the national and the transnational; the relationship between academic and non-academic histories; histories in the vernacular; centers and peripheries; and the possibility of post-Eurocentric histories.

Course objectives

Participants in this course will acquire the following:

  • A critical understanding of contemporary methods/ tools of history writing, alternative approaches, forms of narrativisation, and the ability to apply them in analysis;

  • An understanding of non-Eurocentric perspectives on historiography;

  • Improved research skills, presentation skills, composition skills, and ability to critically evaluate readings

Timetable

The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Seminar

Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Presentation/Attendance/Participation 25%
Webpostings 25%
Historiographical Paper 50%

The paper is written in two stages: a first version, on which the convener will offer feedback, and a final version. Feedback on the first version is conditional on this being handed in before the deadline. The grade will be determined on the basis of the final version only. (The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is for administrative purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convener.)

In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the research paper and for the course as a whole.

All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

Resit

Only if the total weighted average is 5.49 or lower and this is the result of a paper graded 5.49 or lower, a re-sit of the paper is possible (50%). In that case the convener of the course may decide to assign a (new) topic. The deadline for this version will be determined by the course convener, after consultation with the student.
A re-sit for other course components is not possible.

Inspection and feedback

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading List

A wide variety of readings are assigned, most accessible to students via the Leiden University catalogue or open-access online. Exceptions that require purchase are Edward Said, Orientalism and Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities.

Registration

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

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof

Remarks

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.