The six Area Studies programs at the University of Delaware have always been highly interdisciplinary and wide-ranging, exploring parts of the globe from Europe to Asia, and Africa to Latin America, while also examining the cultural and religious traditions of Judaism and Islam.
Now, as the University continues to extend its global reach, the individual programs are becoming more connected with one another and with other international programs at UD.
Each program has its own director and identity. The three programs in Asian, European and Latin American Studies, for example, offer bachelor's degrees as well as minors, while those in African, Islamic and Jewish Studies offer minors. All programs have a language requirement.
By definition, Area Studies programs are interdisciplinary, bringing a variety of academic areas together in a program designed to give students comprehensive knowledge of a geographic region or a particular civilization. UD's Area Studies faculty members come from such fields as foreign languages and literatures, anthropology, history, political science and international relations, geography and philosophy, among many others.
Julio Carrión, associate professor of political science and international relations, recently was appointed UD's new director of Area Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Carrión, who joined the UD faculty in 1998, holds a joint appointment in the Latin American Studies program. His experience with that program, one of the largest of the Area Studies components, has made him realize not only the importance of global studies, but also the need to promote it.
In addition to garnering increased visibility for the Area Studies programs, Carrión says a major goal is to develop new activities in research and outreach.
"One of the goals we have is to strengthen transnational research, particularly in global types of issues like migration or health that cut across different regions," he said. "We also will continue to expand our study-abroad programs, where faculty who are part of Area Studies are a key component."
One new offering over the fall semester was a new "Imagining Global Citizenship" lecture series featuring high-profile speakers. The series involved all six programs and was open to the public in addition to students enrolled in the class. Alice Ba, director of the Asian Studies program and associate professor of political science and international relations, coordinated the new series.
"The speaker series is an example of how the different Area Studies programs are working together, building on mutual strengths and encouraging inter- and transregional themes and dialogue in both research and teaching," Ba said.
For more information, visit www.udel.edu/AreaStudies/