nl en

Critical Area Studies: Placing Your Research


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research). Students in other Research MA programmes who are interested in taking the course may contact the programme coordinator.


Area studies is an approach to knowledge that starts from the study of places in the human world, through the relevant sources languages and with central regard for positionality. It is a dynamic synthesis of area expertise and what are generally known as disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences. Students will engage with the challenges of studying and writing about “other” cultures and societies, especially of scholars in “the West” studying “the non-West.” The regional and disciplinary diversity of the readings and the students’ projects will advance dialogue, and reflection on where the individual researcher inds themself in the wider landscape of scholarship.

Course objectives

Students will further develop

  • familiarity with the landscape of the humanities and the social sciences at large, and with area studies as an approach to knowledge

  • the ability to position their field of specialization and their individual research

  • the ability to direct and focus their individual research in meaningful ways

  • academic skills used in all aspects of knowledge production.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

The deadline in MyTimetable is set for administrative purposes only. The actual date(s) will be communicated by the lecturer(s) in Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Academic integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through Turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

ChatGPT: What is possible and what is allowed? Dos and Don'ts.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Two response papers 20%
Presentation 20%
Term paper 40%
Self-assessment 20%

In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for their term paper and for the course as a whole.

The research paper is written in two stages: an outline, on which the convener will offer feedback, and a final version. The grade will be determined on the basis of the final version only. (The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is for administrative purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convener.)

All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Only if the total weighted average is 5.49 or lower and this is the result of a term paper graded 5.49 or lower, a re-sit of the paper is possible (40%). In that case the convener of the course may decide to assign a (new) topic. The deadline for this version will be determined by the course convener, after consultation with the student.
A re-sit for other course components is not possible.

Inspection and feedback

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

A list of readings will be provided prior to the course


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.