nl en

Footprints of the European expansion: Perspectives on shared cultural heritage


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Bachelor’s degree obtained. This course is not only intended for students of Heritage Management, but is also of interest for students of Archaeology of the Roman Provinces, Archaeology of East and Southeast Asia and Archaeology of the Caribbean and Amazonia.


The European expansion since the end on the 15th century has put a major weight on the history of international relations. An intensive trade and shipping network connected many countries worldwide. Famous are the Spice Route, Silk Road and the Slave Route, but over the centuries many other regions were also connected through trade and colonial rule. These activities left behind various cultural traces in buildings, shipwrecks, landscapes, archives and traditions. These cultural footprints are now considered “shared cultural heritage” by the Netherlands.

Important junctions in the network are often also recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their universal and global value (such as Robben Island in South Africa, Stone Town on Zanzibar and Galle in Sri Lanka).
In this course students will be introduced to the history of the European expansion, study the theory of shared cultural heritage and will explore the various perspectives on heritage. Terminologies such as mutual, common, global, guilty and contested heritage will be discussed. The acquired knowledge and insights will be applied in a research assignment on a subject of selected ‘shared heritage sites’.
There is a tentative possibility to conduct further research during a field school on the World Heritage Site Robben Island in South Africa, for Heritage Management students who take this course instead of Experiencing archaeological heritage management in practice.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the development of the European expansion between 1500-1900;

  • Knowledge of the most important material aspects of this history of European expansion;

  • Insight in aspects that play a role in the creation of heritage in general and ‘shared heritage’ in particular;

  • Insight in (current) debates on cultural heritage within this international context, and the ability to situate these debates within the complexity of academic research (e.g. contact archaeology, maritime archaeology, slavery and research into diasporas), heritage management issues, political frameworks and heritage interpretations by communities.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 16 hours of lectures (8×2);

  • 64 hours of preparation for class (8 lectures + literature + preparation of discussions);

  • 60 hours of research, preparation and writing of paper.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures/tutorial;

  • Possibility of participation in a (separate) field school, with priority for Heritage Management students.

Assessment method

  • Documented Research Proposal for research concerning heritage management and the European Expansion;

  • Participation during lectures and discussions.

Assessment deadline

The proposal needs to have been handed in by 1 June 2013.

Reading list

To be distributed in class.


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

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact dr R. Parthesius.