Discussion - Area Studies and Policymaking
In this online series, doctoral researchers, postdocs and faculty in Leipzig, Marburg and Regensburg discuss the range and limits of Area Studies today, present their latest research in the field and debate pressing issues in scholarship and beyond. The fifth event in the series addresses how area studies research and expertise can develop fruitful dialogue with the world of policymaking and policy analysis.
AREA STUDIES UNDER DISCUSSION 5
Mediating Area Studies as Public Knowledge
When? Monday, 21 June - 14:00-16:00
Where? Online, via Zoom: https://uni-regensburg.zoom.us/j/68511285560
Area studies has traditionally played a role in policymaking and policy analysis, acting as a bridge between academia and foreign policy, including international trade and security as well as soft power measures. By training diplomats, merchants and military, area studies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries contributed and disseminated knowledge of regions shaped by colonial conquest, military conflict and economic interests of European imperial powers. The political role of area studies was especially accentuated during the Cold War in the Anglo-American institutionalization of Sovietology as the field researching the ideological enemy and in relation to the decolonization processes emerging in the “Global South”.
Today, in the post-Cold War era, the field of area studies is still connected to policymaking, with researchers briefing politicians, think tanks and the media on conflicts, political developments, and social trends in their regions of expertise. Established formats including policy papers and policy briefs, working papers, opinion pieces, and face-to-face discussions remain important, while other formats that crossover with public outreach efforts like exhibitions, podcasts, blogs or social media posts, indicate the increasing relevance in engaging with and informing public opinion.
This discussion looks to create a dialogue involving scholars, think tank and NGOs representatives, and journalists, addressing the different forms of research communication that inform policymaking today. The encounter also looks to address where misunderstandings and miscommunication occurs. How do academic area studies contribute to current political debates, and are they heard? How can relations be formed with think tanks, NGOs and policymakers that are mutually beneficial? How can current formats be adapted to better meet the needs of society today? And how can research communication avoid reproducing existing inequalities and regional asymmetries when it comes to informing politics, scholarship and research communication?
Tatsiana Astrouskaya (Herder Institute, Marburg)
Corinne Geering (GWZO, Leipzig)
Paul Vickers (Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America/ CITAS, Regensburg)