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Histories of Southeast Asia


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies or MA International Relations programme. Other interested students may be admitted at the discretion of the coordinator, David Henley . Please contact him if you are interested in taking this course but are not enrolled in either of the abovementioned programmes.


This course is offered in the form of a literature seminar surveying, in global context, current discourses on the history of Southeast Asia. Attention is paid to a variety of prominent historiographic debates, including ongoing controversies over the prehistoric origins of the region’s population, and over the historical roots of Southeast Asia’s authoritarian ideologies. Students learn to situate Southeast Asia in relation to global historical forces such as colonialism, the Cold War, and Islam, and in relation to the international literature on those topics. The course makes use of comparisons among the Southeast Asian countries, and also highlights their historical relations with China, India, and the Middle East.

Course objectives

Participants will gain a thorough understanding of key current discourses on the history of Southeast Asia, and are trained in critically examining key texts. Both oral and written presentations are required.


The timetable is available on the Asianstudies website

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • 5 ec variant: 140 hours

  • 10 ec variant: 280 hours

  • Lectures: 2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours

  • Reading, and preparation of presentations and assignments: 114 hours (5 ec) / 254 hours (10 ec)

Assessment method

Presentations and participation in class: 35 per cent
Written assignment: 65 per cent (5 ec: variant: 4000 words; 10 ec variant: 6000 words)

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. A new version of the final assignment may be written if the overall mark for the course is “5.49” (=5) or lower. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation. In the case of a re-write the overall grade will not exceed 6.0.

Exam Review

Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.


Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

To be announced


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Register A la carte
Register Contractonderwijs


Further information can be obtained from the lecturers: Prof.dr. David Henley and Prof.Dr. H. Schulte Nordholt