The usefulness and political implications of Area Studies programs are currently debated within the Academy and the Administration, where they are often treated as one homogenous and stagnant domain of scholarship. The essays in this volume document the various fields’ distinctive character and internal heterogeneity as well as the dynamism resulting from their evolving engagements with funders, US and international politics, and domestic constituencies. The authors were chosen for their long-standing interest in the intellectual evolution of their fields. They describe the origins and histories of US-based Area Studies programs, highlighting their complex, generative, and sometimes contentious relationships with the social science and humanities disciplines and their diverse contributions to the regions of the world with which they are concerned.
Introduction: The Origin, Nature, and Challenges of Area Studies in the United States, David L. Szanton
Latin American Studies: Theory and Practice, Paul W. Drake and Lisa Hilbink
The Middle East in the Past and Future of Social Science, Timothy Mitchell
Area Studies in Search of Africa, Pearl T. Robinson
Japanese Studies: The Intangible Act of Translation, Alan Tansman
Soviet and Post-Soviet Area Studies, Victoria E. Bonnell and George W. Breslauer
Eastern Europe or Central Europe? Exploring a Distinct Regional Identity, Ellen Comisso and Brad Gutierrez
The Transformation of Contemporary China Studies, 1977–2002, Andrew G. Walder
South Asian Studies: Futures Past, Nicholas B. Dirks
The Development of Southeast Asian Studies in the UnitedStates, John Bowen
David L. Szanton worked for many years at the Ford Foundation and the Social Science Research Council before coming to the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as the Executive Director of International and Area Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago.