Area Studies and Disciplines: What Disciplines and What Areas?

  • Claudia Derichs (Author)
  • Ariel Heryanto (Author)
  • Itty Abraham (Author)


In her piece, Claudia Derichs offers critical thoughts on how the scientific and academic landscape is organised according to disciplines, methods, areas and such. She questions the refusal to recognise Area Studies as a (sub-)discipline, drawing attention to the fluidity and dynamics of disciplines and their categorisation. Regarding the definition of areas, an argument is made about their constructedness, which makes a transversal perspective all the more important. To achieve this, language proficiency and academic cooperation are deemed crucial. The lack of South–North theory transfer in Area Studies is furthermore questioned. Ariel Heryanto and Itty Abraham further expand on the debate of Area Studies vs. disciplines by arguing that Area Studies in the respective areas is homologous to disciplines in the metropolises, which are centred on the nation-state as an area. However, doubts are cast that the recognition of Area Studies as a discipline would resolve the issue of a global division of intellectual labour, which results in unequal privileges regarding knowledge production.   


Area studies, disciplines, transversal perspectives, theory transfer, North-South relations, disciplinary dynamics