Alma Mater  - on Columbia campus, Morningside Heights

The Future of Area Studies – Summer Institute at Columbia

This post is about Eurasia. Europe and Asia combined, Eurasia, however, is a geopolitical term often referring to post-Soviet countries only. Which makes it our museum’s object of study and display. Tiny bits and pieces of Eurasian art and history have found their way into our galleries ne way or another.  I am at Columbia University now attending the NEH Summer Institute “America Engages Eurasia.”  Notable professors, public administrators and officials have come to speak to us. They all touched upon the topic of the decline of interest in and funding of the study of Russia and neighboring countries (with the exception of, probably, Central Asia) post Soviet collapse.  The need now is to re-think and re-organize the scholarly enterprise known as area studies that has traditionally focused on one area of the world. But apart from marketing, what is it that would re-invigorate the study of other countries? Well, people, aren’t you all doctors of philosophy ? I think we have forgotten about the ‘philosophy’ part of it. Philosophy frees from the particulars of an individual discipline  and they shold never cut the umbilical cord that connects to the progress of philosophy. Philsophy of culture now is far ahead of regional studies. Time to catch up!


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