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Advanced studies in community heritage and global challenges


Admission requirements

Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline.


This course explores the impact of global issues on community heritage around the world. It deals with the relationship between communities and global and local heritage movements.
Critical heritage theory will be applied to understand the ways in which societies are advancing heritage debate across the globe. What are the current global challenges? For example, it examines how issues relating to migration, nationalism and citizenship affect human relations and identities. How can heritage address these issues? As archaeologists and heritage workers, we will explore why we do what we do, and for whom and with whom we do it.

This course explores the uses of the past in culturally specific context. It will present case studies on how the best practices involve intellectual and tangible exchange with communities. Heritage under threat around the globe will also be examined.
It combines visual data with tangible and oral cultural heritage and performances as a basis for interactive teaching. Theoretical approaches such as the notion of viewing cultural heritage, including knowledge, as a basic human need, is introduced, along with other heritage approaches from international perspectives.

In this course we will use (parts of) the Leiden University MOOC ‘Heritage under threat’ to illustrate global and local heritage movements.

Course objectives

  • Understanding the meaning and uses heritage has for different societies;

  • Understanding of the limitations of our best theories and practices;

  • Ability to critically engage with global challenges that underpin heritage debate, identity, destruction and protection of cultural material;

  • Understanding of the significance of bottom‐up community leadership in heritage preservation;

  • Gain knowledge of traditional heritage systems of local communities;

  • Understanding of the role of media and internet in shaping our ideas of the past and what archaeology is;

  • Understanding the impact of inequality, nationalism and migration on heritage and sustainable societies;

  • Insight into ethical-social aspects and their significance to society from an international globalising perspective;

  • Ability to apply the above-mentioned understanding and insight in a wider, multidisciplinary context;

  • Ability to analyse the challenges and pitfalls of cross-cultural communication in contested landscapes;

  • Ability to plan original research in or with indigenous communities that include innovative theoretical reflections and participatory/ decolonising methodologies;

  • Ability to encourage and conduct stimulating discussions as well as to give feedback to other students.


Course schedule details can be found in the RMA and RMSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Seminars;

  • Tutorial.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 28 hours of lectures (2 ec);

  • 250 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Final essay (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Final essay (60%);

  • Participation in assignments, assessed during class (40%).

Compensation between the grades is NOT allowed.

There is only a retake for the final paper, and only if all other requirements have been met.

All exam dates (exams, re-sits, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the RMA and RMSc examination schedule.

Reading list

To be handed out during class.


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. S. Mire.


Compulsory attendance.