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The unintended consequences of cold war area studies by Immanuel Wallerstein Virginia de la Fuente.

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Presentation on theme: "The unintended consequences of cold war area studies by Immanuel Wallerstein Virginia de la Fuente."— Presentation transcript:

1 The unintended consequences of cold war area studies by Immanuel Wallerstein
Virginia de la Fuente

2 The Author: Immanuel Wallestein
Immanuel Wallerstein is an American sociologist, historical social scientist, and world-systems analyst, best-known for his development of the general approach in sociology which led to the emergence of his World- System Theory. Wallerstein notes that world-systems analysis calls for an unidisciplinary historical social science, and contends that the modern disciplines, products of the 19th century, are deeply flawed because they are not logical if they are separated, as, for example, in many analysis among the scholars of different disciplines.

3 “World region in the social science”
Written in 1943 by The Committee on World Regions of the Social Science Research from US (SSRC). Interest in foreign regions had been intensified with the WWII. Scarcity of competent personnel. Need for social scientist who knew different regions of the world (regional knowledge) Highly trained specialist with regional knowledge occupied key positions. Need for knowledge of languages, economics, history, politics, religions… of foreign countries. Regional studies reduced vague generalities.

4 Committee on area studies in Columbia University
In 1943, the Joint Committee on Graduate Instruction of Columbia University appointed a Committee on Area Studies. “… There will be need of many Americans who are thoroughly, exhaustively, and scientifically informed about particular neighbors.” It suggested priority for Latin America, China and Japan.

5 Background to area studies
Why are there no “regional specialist” in 1943?: History and Social Sciences ( Economics, Political Science and Sociology) were always focused on Western World since 1850 to 1914. The Non Western World was studied by two different disciplines: anthropology (primitive people) and Oriental studies for non Western “high civilizations” (China, Japan, India, Persia and Arab-Islamic world). The state-market-civil society established the boundaries for political science, economics and sociology.

6 U.S. Army during Second War
During World War II, the US Army conducted “area training programs” of two kinds: Foreign and Language Curricula of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP-FALC) and Civil Affairs Training Schools (CATS). The war brought enthusiasm for area studies, however ASTP and CATS only trained people quickly to do specific jobs, so area instruction was seen as makeshift. Even though, these area programs were a portent of the future of area studies.

7 Cold War Concerns After the War, Area Studies became really important for US to prevent other areas from “falling into the hands of the communists.” Now the priority areas to study were Soviet Union and China. The earlier Committte on Wold Regions, now (1947) called Committee on World Area Research of SSRC exposed some arguments for area studies: 1. National welfare required a citizenry well informed; a vast understanding in all other lands and in all other people is mandatory to gain peace. 2. Area studies would repair the lack of universality in social sciences.

8 Interdepartmental Commission on Oriental, Slavonic, East European and African Studies
This Committee was issued in 1947 in Great Britain, headed by the Earl of Scarborough. They examined the facilities offered by universities or educational institutions in GB for this Oriental study. It seemed the Oriental studies had been neglected in GB, comparing it with other countries. They wanted to strengthen the structure of Oriental Studies in GB, and retrained any criticism.

9 SSRC National Conference on the Study of World Areas,1948
Charles Wagley wrote a report for this Conference, in which he tell us the objective of area studies: Area Studies could make a direct contribution to the development of a universal and general science of society and human behavior. But, how? Area studies needs the cooperation among the various disciplines of the social sciences. The area provides a concrete focus for the disciplines of the social sciences and related fields of the humanities and natural sciences. Teamwork is absolutely necessary in area studies. No single person can deal with everything. In the Second SSRC Conference two years later, they were also concerned about financial implications. The American educational structure was still centered on Western Europe. They needed a Federal program, with Federal aid, but not Federal control.

10 UNESCO’s International Social Science Bulletin, 1952
Written by the French Jean B. Duroselle, offered an acerbic view of US trends of area studies. Considered area studies less a contribution to the “science of society” than to the pursuit of foreign policy. He wrote that the sudden emerging of area studies in US must be “an instinctive reaction against the almost complete ignorance about everything that did not concern their continent.” In the same journal, Hans Morgenthau also expressed his opinion about US interest in area studies as a political reason, and not as academic reason.

11 Area Studies well instituted in US Universities
By 1950, major foundations supported Area Studies. Rockefeller was the pioneer in 1933,and also in for the Russian Institute at Columbia. The widest impact was caused by Ford Foundation in 1952, when it instituted its Foreign Area Fellowship Program, which paid for doctoral training and field research. When Soviet Union launched the first Sputnik in 1957, Eisenhower, as reply, created the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) in 1958, and aid was given to area centers.

12 SSRC survey in 1973, by Richard D. Lambert
This author could observe a spectacular growth in area studies: 1. Research had become theoretically and methodologically more sophisticated as scholars had become more competent; 2. Young men were working on non western areas; 3. The graduate students produced at the centers were an important recruitment source for the foreign affairs agencies. 4. The government also used those centers for the training of employees.

13 Unintended Consequences i
Area studies threatened the basic justifications of both Oriental studies and anthropology. Oriental studies could only surrender or hope to turn area studies. Cantwell Smith wanted to resist, because he saw a disinterested intent on “increasing human knowledge” in Oriental studies, while area studies replied to a practical demand of “experts”. However, as Wallerstein says, his vision is quite traditionalist, because Cantwell was defending a past Orient.

14 Unintended consequences ii
Sir Hamilton Gibbs, a leading British Orientalist acknowledged “the limitations of classical Orientalism”. Orientalism had been existing under the shadow of the “great culture”. So Oriental studies and anthropology were losing their defined niches. His advice was intercommunication. A social scientist has to be able to communicate with his own kind, economists, political scientists, sociologists… in the particular technical notation of his “science”, but at the same time, in the context of Area Studies. He will need to see the data not as isolated facts, but in a broad context. And he saw Area Studies as a Trojan horse entering the academic community to grow interest in non Western civilizations.

15 The Cold War eats its own i
In 1960s, the famous scandal called Operation Camelot happened. It was a project to determine the feasibility of developing a general social systems model which would predict significant aspects of social changes in developing nations of the world. It was supported by the Army and the Department of Defense. The project was designed to study Latin America principally, starting with Chile. After a problem with a Norwegian sociologist there - who saw area studies as “scientific colonialism, a process whereby the center of gravity for acquisition of knowledge about the nation is located outside the nation itself” -, the president of Chile and the US State Department needed to intervene, and finally the project was cancelled.

16 The Cold War eats its own ii
So, by the early 1970s, the discipline was in crisis. The objective of Area Studies started to be blurred. In the end, a new form of are studies appeared, of woman’s studies on the one hand, and “ethnic” studies on the others. They represent the revolt of those whom the university has “forgotten”. They wanted to be heard, not as a particular group. In the 80s and 90s, many things needed to be taken into account: the disillusionment with “development”; the collapse of Communisms; the collapse of many national liberation movement governments in Africa and Asia… In the universities, there has been a explosion of programs in a period of increasing financial squeeze; the social sciences have been restructured because of the blurring of the boundaries among them; and there has been a expansion of cultural studies in the humanities. It seems we are not now where we were in 1943.

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