Programme information

The Research Masters Asian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies provide intensive and comprehensive training covering the wide range of present-day Area Studies research, a field which requires of scholars the ability to articulate the politically charged relationships between knowledge and place, or between knowledge and power.

What is "Area Studies"?

The concept of ‘Area Studies’ is deeply contested, making it a singularly self-reflective field, seriously concerned with questions of the politics of knowledge. In particular, the field requires of scholars the ability to articulate the politically charged relationships between knowledge and place, or between knowledge and power. In one manifestation, this problematic demands of scholars and students a sensitivity to the relationship between scholarly method and the location of the objects/subjects of inquiry – i.e. a consciousness of the cultural, historical and even geographical contingency of (mainstream) disciplines and methodologies. Hence, the field of Area Studies is both multi-disciplinary (in so far as it draws on a range of different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences) and inter-disciplinary (in so far as it constantly tests the boundaries and parameters of the academic mainstream in Euro-American universities), as well as implicitly and explicitly comparative in nature. Hence, ‘Area Studies’ is not defined negatively as a space of inquiry into the ‘Non-West,’ but rather as an approach to knowledge that demands these reflexive sensitivities about the enterprise and practice of scholarship in/about any area in the world. In practice, within the Leiden Institute of Area Studies (LIAS) , the empirical data is drawn from studies of Asia and the Middle East (indeed, the research master’s is a creative and unique collaboration between these sub-fields). However, Area Studies is not restricted to these areas and scholars working on Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and even Europe or North America should be included in the field. Further co-operation of the research master’s in that direction in the future will be considered.

Master students in both Asian and Middle Eastern Studies will be required to develop sophisticated theoretical and methodological tools for scholarly reflexivity as well as tools specific for their research projects – which may be framed in more conventionally disciplinary and regional terms. Hence, the research masters provide core training in the Area Studies approach to knowledge, opportunities for the development of disciplinary skills (politics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, etc.), and also possibilities to build upon regional and language specialisation (Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.). Many students will need to understand the parameters of these disciplines and the ways in which they may be creatively combined into sophisticated forms of inter-disciplinarity, suitable to their subject matter. In terms of knowledge of specific areas, students will be required to develop in-depth knowledge of at least one of the regions currently represented in LIAS (Asia – East Asia, South or Southeast Asia – or the Middle East) and/or a transregional/comparative perspective that tracks particular themes through their relationship with ‘areas’.


The programme in schedule

1st year
Semester 1
30 EC
Common Core Course
10 EC
Core elective course
10 EC
Elective course
10 EC
Semester 2
30 EC
Common Core Course
10 EC

Core elective course

10 EC

Elective course

10 EC

2nd year
Semester 1 (Fieldwork and/or Study Abroad)
30 EC

Fieldwork or

course abroad

10 EC

Fieldwork or

course abroad

10 EC

Fieldwork or

course abroad

10 EC
Semester 2
30 EC
Thesis writing seminar  
5 EC

Thesis (including defense of the proposal)

25 EC

 


In the e-prospectus you will find more information on the courses on offer including course descriptions:

Last Modified: 15-06-2016