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Archaeology (Research): Religion and Society in Native American Cultures

Religion and Society is an advanced research master track in which you can actively contribute to current departmental research projects. The thesis is conceived as the basis for later PhD-research in the context of a Leiden research project, either in the Caribbean (excavation and surveys, post-excavation analyses) or in Mesoamerica (interpretation of ancient visual art and historical texts).
You will gain a broad knowledge of and deep insights into Native American cultural history, focusing on the relationships between religious worldview and social agency.

Prime characteristics of the track are its interdisciplinary perspective and ethno-archaeological interest. The study of the past (archaeology, anthropology, sciences, history, linguistics) is connected to an interest in the present.
It covers themes ranging from artistic expressions of religious narratives, concepts and rituals, via social organisation, trade routes and cultural interaction, to issues of heritage and identity. These major themes are applied to case studies in the context of specific research in tutorials and seminars on topics such as ancient American art and religion, or mobility and exchange. A special area of expertise is the reading of ancient Mexican historical and religious pictorial manuscripts. There is also the opportunity to combine this with the study of Amerindian languages or with sciences (e.g. geo-bioarchaeology).

The research master’s thesis is to be based on original research, which may include archaeological or anthropological fieldwork, as well as studies of museum collections, archives and other primary sources. It is possible to participate in Leiden field schools, related to long-term research projects, such as excavations in the Caribbean or ethnography in Mesoamerica.

Please note: in the first year the modular courses are derived from the MA-programme Mesoamerica & Andes, in the second year from the MA-programme Caribbean & Amazonia. You can also choose to follow these courses in the reversed order! Please consult your supervisor.

Coordinators: prof. dr. Corinne Hofman, prof. dr. Maarten Jansen.