nl en

Heritage protection in a global context (MA)


Admission requirements

Only students who have formally been admitted to the MA-programme in Asian Studies have access to this course.


This course explores the discourses and institutional practices surrounding heritage from an anthropological perspective, drawing on case studies from various parts of the world. In the past few decades, museums have been proliferating all over the world, many of them set up by and for previously disenfranchised groups, and often concerned with issues of culture, representation, and meaning. During the same time period, UNESCO has spearheaded globalized efforts to safeguard heritage, through projects like the World Heritage List and a series of conventions. In this course, we will ask how “heritage” gets constructed in specific instances through the various discourses (institutional, legal, national, international) around the concept as well as policies aimed at its preservation. Through reading and discussion, we will examine some of the key issues with which both anthropologists and heritage professionals are struggling, including: representation; strategies for “decolonizing” or “reclaiming” museums and heritage; repatriation and illicit trade; globalization, and tourism.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

demonstrate, in writing and oral presentation, a familiarity with key concepts from the institutional discourses and practices surrounding the concept of heritage preservation;
critically analyze institutional discourses regarding heritage preservation and the way in which these shape and are shaped by the specifics of social, political and economic realities on the ground;
carry out a small research project on a well-defined topic relating to heritage preservation, locating and using secondary sources (lit review);
clearly articulate your findings from the above mentioned project, both in written/visual form (poster) as well as in an oral presentation.


February 11 – May 12, 2016
Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Note: All-day field trip on April 7th; no class on May 5th

Mode of instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu):

Tutorials (12 * 1 = 24)
Literature study (839 pp. = 140)
Writing assignments (4 * 500 words = 32)
Field trip (8)
Research for poster project (40)

Assesment method

  • written assignments

  • Final research project, presented in the form of a poster

  • Active participation at all class meetings is required, including leading discussion for one class period

Registration in uSis

All participants must register in uSis for the lecture series of this course. (Registration for the exam is not required since there is no classical examination.)
Registration is possible between November 30th 2015 and January 24th 2016


Blackboard will be used to make information and assignments available.

Reading list

Stig Sørensen, Marie Louise and John Carman, eds, Heritage Studies: Methods and Approaches, Routledge, 2009.
Additional readings, available (electronically) via the Leiden university library. A detailed overview of required readings for each session is included in the course syllabus.
In addition to the common core of required readings, you will do your own library research to find additional readings as sources for your poster and poster presentation.

Contact information

Dr. Henrike Florusbosch:
Office hours: Thursdays 13-15h, room 3A45, Pieter de la Court Building