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Hindu and buddhist kingdoms in South and South East Asia


Admission requirements

Premoderne Geschiedenis van Zuid- en Zuidoost-Azië
Klassieke Culturen van Zuid- en Zuidoost-Azië
Introduction to Buddhism and/or Hinduism

Or after approval by the course coordinator.

Course description

The 5th to 14th century, sometimes referred to as the Early Medieval Period, is a time of great significance for the spread and development of the regional cultures of South and Southeast Asia. This long period is characterized by the formation of regional kingdoms all across the area, in which processes of state formation and religious development were closely intertwined. This course takes a broad look at the development of the Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms of South and Southeast Asia during this formative period, identifying shared and distinguishing features of the regions of South and Southeast Asia. Subjects dealt with include: processes of Indianization, the spread and ideology of Sanskrit, vernacularization, the role of regional cultures and traditions, the ideal of kingship, the rise of regional state temples, the interaction between Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and the a-historical character of many of the South and Southeast Asian sources.

The course has a seminar format and requires active student participation. Close reading and discussion of recent literature are key features of the course. Students are required to submit an A4 position paper each week, in which they summarize and discuss a specialist article on the week’s theme.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge and understanding of the history of early medieval South and Southeast Asia

  • Understanding of the social-historical dynamics of religious cultures

  • Understanding of the interconnection between state and religion

  • Dealing with a-historical sources

  • Ability to summarize and analyze scholarly literature, distinguish between main and side subjects, ask critical questions.


See the website

Mode of Instruction


Assessment method

  • Collected A4 position papers written during the course (40%)

  • Written exam with essay questions at the end of the semester (60%)



Reading list

Articles made available with Blackboard.


Registration via uSis is obligatory.

Registration A la carte en contractonderwijs

Registration for A la Carte
Registration for Contractonderwijs


Prof. dr. Peter Bisschop
Prof. dr. Marijke Klokke