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Reading Texts: Formative processes in Asia from Prehistory to early historic periods


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Degree students (including Dutch BA graduates): BA degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology or a relevant discipline.
SAP and Exchange Students: BA degree. Admission only after formal application.


This seminar will assess the latest research concerning the important formative processes that shaped the Asian past—for example changing hunter-gatherer lifestyles; the transition to agriculture; the development of new technologies; the processes behind urbanisation and early state formation; social or ideological changes and their impact (with the exception of issues of exchanges, trade and migration, which will be dealt with in the “Interaction” course, next semester). The reading texts will also include controversial topics, e.g. texts with different or opposing viewpoints or methodologies.
Per weekly seminar, one particular topic will be chosen. Students will read several articles (for example a more general theoretical or methodological paper, combined with one or two more specific case studies), which will be evaluated and discussed in class. Each student will also be asked to choose a topic and related research, and present it during the seminar. The results, experiences and insights are reported in an oral presentation at the end of the course, followed by a paper.
This interactive course aims to provide practice on how to carry out research and critically evaluate data and theories. Students are allowed to choose a topic that is relevant to (some aspect of) their master thesis research. In addition to evaluating the academic content and relevance of the articles, their writing styles and data presentation will also be assessed. Furthermore, students will receive feedback on how to give presentations (PowerPoint, overheads, etc.) and write papers in an academic style at MA level.

h3. Course objectives - In-depth knowledge of globally important economic, technological and socio-political processes;

  • Knowledge of and insight in how these processes affected Asian culture and history;

  • Knowledge of and insight in the latest research and controversial issues;

  • Ability to critically assess the advantages and disadvantages of the different theoretical and methodological approaches;

  • Ability to present one’s own properly argumented opinion of the different theoretical approaches in seminar discussions;

  • A deeper understanding of how to evaluate the reliability of the research data presented and the viability of the arguments and conclusions;

  • Ability to recognise (in)appropriate academic writing styles and data presentation;

  • Ability to discuss the background and relevance of these papers in a seminar context;

  • Ability to present a research topic on ca. 2-3 relevant papers;

  • Ability to write an analytical essay on the chosen topic;

  • Ability to critically assess the different presentations of fellow students.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Active participation during class discussions of the texts (including written evaluation of the articles, ca. 1-1.5 A4);

  • PowerPoint-presentation on a chosen case study;

  • Essay reflecting on the chosen case study, incorporating theoretical insights from the course.
    The presentation needs to take place during the exam week, submission of the essay 1 week later.

Reading list

Various articles, to be decided according to the research interests of the students.


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contractonderwijs: all information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw dr I.R. Bausch.