International Institute for Asian Studies
Meet Elena Paskaleva

New Coordinator for Critical Heritage Studies

As of 1 September 2015, Dr Elena Paskaleva is the new coordinator of the IIAS Asian Heritages Cluster. Elena will be paying special attention  to the development of the Graduate Programme and Double Degree in Critical Heritage Studies of Asia and Europe, for which she is also teaching the course Critical Approaches to Heritages Studies

Graduate Programme in Critical Heritage Studies of Asia and Europe
Over the last few years, IIAS has been intensively engaged with the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) and targeted Asian partners in the development of a special master’s track in the field of ‘Critical Heritage Studies’. The uniqueness of this initiative is that the MA in Leiden is combined with a parallel set of courses at a number of Asian universities, allowing for the students to obtain a double degree at the end of their training. To date, the Asian partners involved are National Taiwan University in Taiwan and Yonsei University in South Korea, and contacts with other possible Asian partner institutes have been established.  

MA programme at Leiden University
At Leiden University, students can already opt for a specialisation in Critical Heritage Studies of Asia and Europe within the MA Asian Studies track 'History, Arts and Culture'. Inspired and supported by the IIAS Asian Heritages research cluster, the curriculum allows students to explore the contested character of all representations of culture, the plurality of notions of heritage in Asian and European contexts, and the way distinct and conflicting values of indigenous, local communities and official state discourses are negotiated. An in-depth description of the curriculum is availabale in the University's E-Prospectus

The programme is supervised by Dr Elena Paskaleva (IIAS/LIAS), also teacher of the course Critical Approaches to Heritages Studies together with guest lecturer Prof. Michael Herzfeld of Harvard University. Elena Paskaleva works on material culture of Central Asia. Her latest interests involve architectural heritage along the Silk Roads. Michael Herzfeld has been been intimately engaged with the Asian Heritages cluster ever since the IIAS-ASEF roundtable on heritages in 2010, and is the Senior Advisor to the Critical Heritage Studies Initiative.

Double Degree
Apart from the Leiden MA programme, students can also engage in the Double Degree Programme offered by Leiden University, IIAS and one of the Asian partner universities. Upon successful completion of the whole programme, the students will obtain three diplomas in total: the Leiden University MA diploma, the partner university MA diploma (two-year programme, of which the Leiden MA qualifies as one year) and a separate certificate for the Double MA Degree in Critical Heritage Studies of Asia and Europe, issued by IIAS.


If you have any question about the Critical Heritage Studies specialisation or the Double Degree, please contact Dr Elena Paskaleva at or Dr Willem Vogelsang, Deputy Director at IIAS: 

More information about the MA programme at Leiden University is available on the University's Master's website: MA Asian Studies track History, Arts and Culture of Asia


Thursday, 10 September 2015
IIAS, Leiden, Netherlands