Trans-Area Studies and the perils of geographical ‘world-writing’

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sharad Chari


Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Volume 34, p.791-798 (2016)



The relationship between Geography and Area Studies remains fraught but crucial, as it highlights at least three imperatives we cannot do without: to decolonize disciplinary Geography, to forge more egalitarian and sustainable relations of knowledge production and to foreground enduring differences of life ‘elsewhere’ represented in novel forms. I argue that these imperatives require an Area Studies ethos, and that the longer Geography as we know it remains aloof from such imperatives, its days as an art or science of broader value are numbered.

Oceanic Humanities

This project seeks to institute oceanic humanities as a field in the global south, through graduate curriculum development and training, research production, building supra-national global south research networks, and public humanities activities and platforms.  The rise of ocean levels has become a tangible sign of climate change and the Anthropocene.  These rising water levels have precipitated a new awareness of the ocean and have shifted the ways in which scholars think about it, inaugurating a new critical oceanic studies.  There have of course been long and rich traditions of maritime scholarship on human history at sea, tracing movements of people, ideas and objects across oceans. This work has however been human-centered and concerned only with the ocean as a backdrop.  Critical ocean studies asks us to engage with both human and non-human aspects of the ocean, with both the depth and the surface, with the materiality and seaness of the sea.

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