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Premodern History of South and Southeast Asia


Admission requirements



This course provides a long-term history of South and Southeast Asia from 3500 BCE to 1850 CE. After a historiographical (sources & concepts) and geopolitical (la longue durée) introduction the lectures engage (in chronological sequence) with themes that connect the various regions of South and Southeast Asia. We will compare the most prominent regional developments of settlement, state-formation and cultural developments and connect them through various trans-regional processes of migration, trade and conquest.
The course will also reflect on the unity and diversity of the SSEA region as a whole by discussing three regional varieties of globalization: Indianization, Islamization and Colonization

Course objectives

Students will gain basic knowledge of the main historiographical concept and discussions and of the developments of the pre-modern history of South and Southeast Asian history. They will be able to understand what long-term conditions and historical processes unified and divided the SSEA macro-region. Students will gain a sense that history itself is not somewhere out there but part of an ongoing process.



Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

Total: 140 hours

  • Lectures (incl. learning): 40 hours

  • Literature: 100 hours

Assessment method

Midterm exam (written examination with short essay questions, 40%) and exam at end of the term (written examination with short essay questions, 60%); re-sit (written examination with short essay questions, 100%) at the end of the term.


Blackboard is used for providing extra course materials, practical instructions, and discussion.

Reading list

  • Thomas R. Trautmann, India: Brief History of a Civilization. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011): pp. 1-182.

  • M.C. Ricklefs et al., The New History of Southeast Asia. (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010): pp. 1-238.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. V.A. van Bijlert