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Research seminar: Heritage and the quality of life 2


Admission requirements

Admission to the RMA 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, cultural landscapes and meaningful places, visual arts and (oral) traditions) in relation to current issues pertaining to “the quality of life”, on the basis of in-depth case studies with a comparative, interdisciplinary approach.

One 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 landscape designers, urban planners and (other) interest groups within society, increase the potentials of heritage for meaningful place-making, the revitalisation of landscapes and urban (re)development programmes?

Another part focuses on local (indigenous) people’s access to and engagement with heritage, the meanings and values of both tangible (visual arts) and intangible heritage (oral tradition), paying specific attention to the knowledge, perspectives and experiences of descendant communities. This part explores issues such as how to create better conditions for anchoring local interest, identity and social memory in ancient objects, places and traditions?
Case studies are 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 the setting up, structuring and executing of 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.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 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 %).

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

Reading list

Partly indicated during the seminar, partly to be identified by the students themselves.


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. M.E.R.G.N. Jansen or prof. dr. J.C.A. Kolen.