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Reconfiguring Area Studies for the Global Age

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Author(s): Wolf Schäfer

Journal: Globality Studies Journal : Global History, Society, Civilization
ISSN 1557-0266

Volume: 2010;
Issue: 22/December 31;
Start page: 32;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Civilization and/or culture | Cold War | Ford Foundation | Horizontal historiography (Fletcher & Frank) | Macrohistory (global history and/or world history) | Multiple modernities (Eisenstadt) | Translational theory (Chakrabarty)

ABSTRACT
Area studies developed in the crucible of the Cold War. Yet when globalization became the context of contemporary history, area studies responded inadequately to the challenge. Unlike world history, which transformed into global history, area studies did not adapt sufficiently to the new global environment of weakened and deconstructed geopolitical and academic borders. Vital supporters like the Ford Foundation failed to reconfigure area studies for the Global Age. Hence, this essay argues for a strategic defragmentation of area studies into comparative studies of global problems in local contexts and vice versa (global/local studies). Following the proposition that area studies without global studies are blind and global studies without area studies are empty, the article identifies and reviews the contributions since Open the Social Sciences (Wallerstein et al. 1996) that can leverage the field’s progressive interdisciplinary structure and lead it toward the advanced transdisciplinary enterprise of global/local studies.
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