Area Studies in the Global Age : Community, Place, Identity

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This interdisciplinary volume is a new introduction to area studies in the framework of whole-world thinking. Emerging in the United States after World War II, area studies have proven indispensable to American integration in the world. They serve two main purposes: to equip future experts with rich cultural-historical and political-economic knowledge of a world area in its global context and advanced foreign language proficiency, and to provide interested readers with well-founded analyses of a vast array of the world's communities.

Area Studies in the Global Age examines the interrelation between three constructions central to any culture--community, place, and identity--and builds on research by scholars specializing in diverse world areas, including Africa; Central, East, and North Asia; Eastern and East Central Europe; and Latin America. In contrast to sometimes oversimplified, globalized thinking, the studies featured here argue for the importance of understanding particular human experience and the actual effects of global changes on real people's lives. The rituals, narratives, symbols, and archetypes that define a community, as well as the spaces to which communities attach meaning, are crucial to members' self-perception and sense of agency.

Editors Edith W. Clowes and Shelly Jarrett Bromberg have put into practice the original mission of US area studies, which were intended to employ both social science and humanities research methods. This important study presents and applies a variety of methodologies, including interviews and surveys; the construction of databases; the analysis of public rituals and symbols; the examination of archival documents as well as contemporary public commentary; and the close reading and interpretation of fiction, art, buildings, cities, and other creatively produced works in their social contexts. Designed for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students in allied disciplines, Clowes and Bromberg's volume will also appeal to readers interested in internationally focused humanities and social sciences.
Publication Date: 
February 29, 2016