Profile: Reflexive Global and Area Studies

Neither the relatively new field of Global Studies or Area Studies in existence for decades are in practise innocent analytical tools confronted to a conflictual reality they reflect. Of course, they follow well established standards of professional analysis and respect rules and best practices of academic work. Nevertheless, they are part of an ongoing (public and often highly politicized) debate about where our world comes from and where we can and should expect it to go to.

In this sense, the production of knowledge and orientation is endangered by assumptions voluntarily or unconsciously made a point of departure for further analysis. Obviously, scholars in such a field cannot remove themselves from becoming part of political debates without denying the social importance of their own activity both in teaching and doing research. What seems to be an unsolvable dilemma can perhaps not be overcome entirely, but instead rationalized by the study of the international history of involved disciplines and as a result historicisation of categories and their use in public as well as scholarly debate.

GESI investigates the history of concepts, academic patterns and the transnational entanglements of discourses and institutions contributing to the study of globalization and Europeanization. Since we do not see globalization as an objectively given reality but as a bundle of political and social projects targeting influence on the existing world order, we see this study of the history of academic disciplines not as a separate activity but as an integral part of the study of globalization.