"Self-Reflexive Area Studies: Perspectives on their history (not only) in the Socialist world"

December 11, 2013 | 11:00 h - 12:30 h

Crossroads Asia Lecture (via skype) by Steffi Marung (University of Leipzig)


Venue: Right conference room, Walter-Flex-Str. 3, 53113 Bonn



It has been rightly argued, that what is known of and critiziced about the history of area studies in the transatlantic world can hardly be generalized about area studies in other parts of the globe, the former „Second“ and „Third worlds“ in particular. Self-reflexive area studies, as the Leipzig based Centre for Area Studies conceives its research agenda, have to include the historization of the production of knowledge about the world and its regions also in those of its parts, which are usually seen as objects of area studies. Furthermore, the challenge is not only about filling these blind spots on the map in a comparative manner, but also about conceptualizing and empirically substantiating the effects of transfers and encounters for the establishment of scholarly paradigms, institutions and research agendas.


Invited as a contribution to the debate on the discussion paper of the Research Network „Crossroads Asia“, the essay will emphasize the centrality of the history of science for the redefinition of area studies, and more precisely suggest a historiographical perspective, which focuses on encounters and transfers in the production of knowledge, including mutual observations and reciprocal unsettledness. A potential translation of this agenda will be exemplified with a research project on the history of Soviet African studies during the Cold War.



Alma van der Veen


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