International Studies: Present Status and Future Prospects

International Studies: Present Status and Future Prospects

International Studies: Present Status and Future Prospects

International Studies: Present Status and Future Prospects

Excerpt

A year or two ago several of us met at the offices of Education and World Affairs * in New York. Out of that meeting grew a "Committee on International Studies" chaired by Richard C. Snyder of the University of California, Irvine. The Committee was concerned with foreign area studies, international relations, and cross-cultural comparative studies. It took up some practical problems of financing research and doing field work overseas. But it was also much concerned with intellectual questions, notably asking about the substantive and theoretical interests shared by specialists in the typically separate fields of international relations, foreign area studies, and comparative studies. For convenience, we have been using the term "international studies" as a way of linking these three approaches to knowledge, as an area of inquiry which has three major parts, distinguishable yet interrelated. One of the problems that we have set for ourselves is the effort to identify international studies as a whole. What should it include that is left out when we look at three separate approaches? What is the overlap or linkage between them? For example, if we start with international relations, what does it contribute to area studies and what does it contribute to comparative studies? Reciprocally, what do area and comparative studies contribute to the study of international relations? Similarly, what do area studies contribute to comparative studies, and comparative studies to area studies?

This conference has been built around these questions. You will see that we have three parts of the conference, each focused on one of the three fields of international studies. We will take foreign area studies first, then comparative studies, and then international relations tomorrow morning.

Under each of these headings we have asked two people to prepare papers. The first is a statement about the substance of a field. What, for example, do we mean when we talk about foreign area studies? What is its essential content, its theoretical framework, its basic premises?

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