Harvard's Area Studies - Summary

Let's summarize based on the departments in Faculty of Arts and Sciences that we've looked at to date.


First, let's summarize the courses offerred:

Departments Courses Offered
(Western Studies)  
English 94
Celtic Languages and Literatures 32
Germanic Languages and Literatures 58
Slavic Languages and Literatures 74
Romance Languages and Literatures 172
The Classics 72
African and African American Studies 117
Near Eastern Languages and Civlizations 198
South Asian Studies 94
East Asian Languages and Civilizations 181
Total 1,092

Overall, other than the underemphasis of South Asian Studies, this mix of coursees do fit Harvard's geographic and historical context as an English-speaking institutions sitting in the United States.


Second, let's look at Ph.D. language requirements for each of these 10 departments:

Department English Num.
than Eng
French German Latin Greek Regional 1 Regional 2 Regional
English Must 2 Or Or Or Or Italian Spanish  
Celtic Must 3 Either or Must   Early Irish Early Welsh  
Germanic Must 2 or 3 Must Must Medieval        
Slavic Must 4 or 5 Yes Yes     Mostly Russian One other must Optional
Romance Must 2 or 3 Most often   Medieval   Italian Spanish Portuguese
Classics Must 4 Or Must Must Must Italian (or)    
African/African American Must 2 1 European       1 African    
Near Eastern Must 4 Yes Yes     2 departmental,
E.g. Persian or Turkish or Hebrew, etc.  
South Asian Must 4 Yes Yes     2 departmental,
E.g. Sanskrit 
E.g. Tibetan or Urdu-Hindi  
East Asian Must 3         Literary Chinese Often modern Japanese Korean, modern Chinese, or Tibetan / others

Third, in terms of topics of studies at Harvard, most important is the core language(s), then following closely are literature(s), often extended into cultural studies (e.g. films, identities) or religious traditions, sometimes societal issues (but usually overviews, rather than very specific political, sociological or economic issues). In some cases, it extends towards History (primary is East Asian department) and/or intellectual history (e.g. in Islamic studies, this extends into philosophy, theology and legal thoughts). Overall, even though Area Studies should have focus both on Humanities and Social Sciences, my overall impression is that it focuses quite a bit on the literary tradition and Humanities, and less focused on topics covered by social sciences.

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  • #1

    źródło (Monday, 16 January 2017 20:00)