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Libraries & Subjects
last updated: 3/7/2012

Bibliography of Area Studies in Relation to Higher Education:

The Past, Present, and Future

by Jody Shepherd (2005)

Area or foreign studies is a term used to describe higher education programs in which the culture, customs, history, language, and other aspects of foreign nations or regions are studied. While some programs were implemented before World War II, many programs were created as a result of the 1958 National Education Defense Act (NDEA). This act was passed as a defense mechanism, reasoning that through knowledge of foreign nations, the United States could prepare for future conflicts. As programs developed across the country, many area studies programs focused on areas or regions which the government believed to be highly important, such as Asia. Of particular importance to the government was language study.

Throughout the years, area studies have not only developed into standard programs of higher education, but have also reached into other disciplines and woven cultural knowledge into basic curricula of other programs, increasing area studies' interdisciplinary nature. In recent years, there has been an increase in scholarly literature regarding the future of area studies, its purpose, and its focus in higher education.

The following select bibliography is compiled for librarians with the intent to provide relevant literature regarding the historical context of area studies as well as the current literature on the topic. Materials were selected for their overall discussion of area studies, with particular interest on current materials which discuss the future of Area Studies. Included in this selection are articles, monographs, and online materials. Additionally, conferences, bibliographies, and speeches were selected when relevant. Items which specifically address one geographic area or region's acquisitions procedures are not included.

Resources used to compile this bibliography include databases available through Indiana University Libraries including JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, Library and Information Science Abstracts, and Library Literature and Information Science Full Text. Additionally, Indiana University's library catalog (IUCAT) and WorldCat were utilized to find relevant information. Marion Frank-Wilson, Subject Librarian for African Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington provided guidance on additional relevant materials.


Libraries and Area Studies
Future of Academic Area Studies
Program and Curriculum Development of Area Studies in Higher Education
Politics and Area Studies


Association of American Universities Research Libraries Project. "Acquisition and Distribution of Foreign Language and Area Studies Materials." Journal of Library Administration 29.3/4 (2000): 51-75.

Result of a year-long study of international acquisitions by major North American research institutions. Main focus is on the budgetary issues facing libraries and librarians as the dollar fluctuates, material prices rise, and budgets decrease. The report proposes a collaborative program between research libraries where area study and international resources are distributed in order to increase access and delivery of foreign language materials.

Berry, Paul L. "Development of Library Resources." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 356 (1964): 126-132.

Overview of the status of area studies and foreign collections six years after the charter of the National Defense Educational Act (NDEA). Points out that many factors faced librarians in the collection of non-western materials to support area study programs. Presents the need for collaboration between multiple collections in order to establish a thorough area studies collection. Also addresses set backs such as the lack of funding to support these collections, and difficulty acquiring non-western materials, especially older materials.

Case, M., and D. Jakubs. "Building the Global Collection: World Class Collection Development, a Chronicle of the AAU/ARL Global Resources Program." Journal of Library Administration, 28.1 (1999): 63-80.

Evaluation of the AAU/ARL Global Resources Program which proposed a goal of making collections availably electronically to programs without well developed resource collections. Within this article is an overview of the current trends in library budgets and acquisitions; the effects these trends have on specific area studies collections is also addressed.

Goehlert, Robert, Roberta Astroff, and Anthony Stamatoplos. International and Area Studies Resources: A Selected Guide. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University, 1998.

Bibliography which outlines important works of area studies. Chapters are divided into the following categories: guides to area studies (divided by area of study), language study, international funding, overseas opportunities, organizations, web resources and bibliography for teaching international studies.

Legters, Lyman H. Language and Area Studies: A Bibliography. New York: Foreign Area Materials Center, 1967.

Outlines the publications up to 1967 which are directly related to the establishment and development of area studies in the United States. Chapters include: Development of Area and Language Studies, The Library in Area Studies, as well as sections for each region of area study.

Nyquist, Corinne. "African Librarians and Outreach." Issue: A Journal of Opinion, 10.3/4 (1980), 52-57.

Evaluates the situation of African library collections and the difficulties facing this specialized area study. Namely, consortium agreements and other sharing techniques for institutions which have not or do not collect in this area and how resources are requested by these institutions.

O'Meara, Patrick. "The Current Status and Future Trends in International Education and Research at American Universities, and the Impact on Libraries." [Link to PDF document]

Opening speech of the Future of Area Librarianship Conference, July 13-14, 1995. O'Meara outlines the area studies programs and the funding issues faced in the past and currently. Additionally, addresses area studies from the perspective as an African scholar. Also addresses the element of language in area studies.

Reed-Scott, Jutta. Scholarship Research Libraries and Global Publishing. Washington D.C.: Association of Research Libraries, 1996.

Results of a four year study which assessed the collections of international resources in North American research libraries. Performed by the Association of Research Libraries, this study evaluates the problems area studies collection managers are facing, such as shifts in information needs, international growth, and economic issues. In addition, solutions and a future outlook are presented in order to meet the challenges of area study collections.

Reining, Conrad C. "The Activities of the African Section of the Library of Congress March 1960 to June 1962." African Studies Bulletin, 5.3 (1962), 36-41.

Assesses the African collection in the library of Congress and outlines activities taking place to enhance and develop this collection to meet the needs of area study researchers. Also assesses the reference sources of an African collection and notes the publishing of A List of Reference to Libraries, Archives, and Book Production in Africa. Additionally, discusses the external role of the Library of Congress to assist other libraries in the development of African collections, and even work as a liaison between libraries and African publishers.

Schmidt, Nancy J. Proceedings: Future of Area Librarianship Conference, July 13-14, 1995. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Libraries, 1997.

Proceedings highlight keynote speakers and issues relating to the future of Area Librarianship. Titles of presentation and discussions include "The Current Status and Future Trends in International Education and Research at American Universities, and the Impact on Libraries" by Patrick O'Meara, "Modernizing Mycroft: The Future of the Area Librarian" by Deborah Jakubs and "Library Schools' Perspective" by Patricia Oyler. In addition, results from the ARL area subject librarian's survey. Each contribution provides references and there is a listing of all individuals in attendance at the conference.

Singer, Andrea. "Providing Access to Sources for India Studies at Indiana University Libraries: Piecing a Quilt." Acquisitions Librarian, 29 (2003): 51-61.

Discusses the process a librarian undertakes when a new program in area studies is implemented in higher education. Specifically, the newly created India Studies program at the Indiana University Bloomington is presented. Details of identifying holdings, acquisition needs, collection development goals, and supporting collections are addressed. The metaphor of quilting, or sewing through layers, is used to describe the creation of a new area collection in a well-established university library.

Tsien, Tsuen-Hsuin and Howard W. Winger (ed). Area Studies and the Library: The Thirtieth Annual Conference of the Graduate Library School. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.

Collection of papers presented at the 30th Annual Conference of the Graduate Library School. Topics address the problems facing Area Studies librarians as interdisciplinary area studies programs are implemented into academic institutions. Issues presented include, book procurement, cataloging, transliteration tables, microfilming, and space for additional materials. Additionally, how to educate area studies librarians is discussed.


Ford Foundation. Crossing Boarders: Revitalizing Area Studies. New York, NY: Ford Foundation, 1999.

Overview of grants provided by and programs supported by the Ford Foundation. This publication outlines the Area Study support of the Ford Foundation since it's inception in the 1950's. Individual schools are highlighted for their Area Study contributions.

Hanson, Katharine H. and Joel W. Meyerson. International Challenges to American Colleges and Universities. Phoenix, Arizona: American Council on Education and The Oryx Press, 1995.

Collection of essays from the symposium "International Challenges for American Higher Education" held in 1992. The papers range from globalization and technology changes to planning and responding to changes in the academic setting. Academic libraries are indexed.

Miyoshi, Masao and H.D. Harootunian. Learning Places: The Afterlives of Area Studies. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2002.

Collection of essays looking at the status of area studies in the global world and where the discipline is headed. Does not address libraries specifically in relation to area studies, but does evaluate the status of area study programs and the funding of such programs in higher education.

O'Meara, Patrick, Howard Mehlinger, and Roxana Newman. Changing Perspectives on International Education. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2001.

Result of the 1998 conference titled "International Education in American Colleges and Universities: Prospect and Retrospect" which was held to celebrate 40 years of Title VI of the National Defense Education Act of 1958. This work was compiled in order to inform educators, policymakers, and educational planners of the history of Title VI and the future of the programs associated with Title VI. Proceedings include: an overview and history, current issues, accomplishments, challenges, issues in elementary and secondary schools, trends for the future and a bibliography of international resources.

Trubek, David M. "The Future of International Studies." Changing Perspectives on International Education. Ed. Patrick O'Meara, Howard Mehlinger and Roxana Newman. Bloomington Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2001. 298-319.

Assesses international studies programs’ situation as programs deal with university and political turmoil regarding the direction of international studies. The author is the dean of the University of Wisconsin's international studies program and he specifically assesses their program. Accurately and efficiently summarizes area studies up to current day and recalls how programs were implemented into university curriculum. The changes which have and are taking place are cited for current turbulence in international studies, additionally, the changing role of the United States is examined in relation to educational needs.

Waters, Neil L. Beyond the Area Studies Wars: Toward a New International Studies. Hanover, New Hampshire: Middlebury College Press, 2000.

Collection of essays which addresses the current status of area studies and examines how the disciplines are changing. Divided into two parts: Issues Beyond the Disciplines and International Studies and the Disciplines. Each part identifies challenges area studies disciplines are facing and suggests ways to enhance the programs. Of particular note are two essays in Part One: "Rational Choice Analysis and Area Studies: Enemies or Partners?" by Margaret A. McKean and "Fragmented Visions: Excavating the future of Area Studies in a Post-American World" by Ravi Arvind Palat.


Association of American Colleges. Non-Western Studies in the Liberal Arts College: A Report of the commission on International Understanding. Washington D.C.: Association of American Colleges, 1964.

Provides a summary of the history and implementation of non-western studies. This work addresses area studies throughout and outlines requirements and procedures for program implementation.

Cahnman, Werner J. "Outline of a Theory of Area Studies." Annals of the Association of American Geographers 38.4 (1948), 233-243.

Analyses the theory behind area studies, specifically, how does area studies fit into the system of social science. Addresses real questions and problems academic institutions were facing after both world wars, when trying to conceptualize area studies programs. Additionally, summarizes the notion of area studies in relation to other programs, such as anthropology, and geography, and discusses the potential for overlap.

Canu, Jean. Towards A Comparative Study of World Civilization. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1952.

Published as part of a monographic series supported by The Institute of Languages and Linguistics School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, this short work touches on the issues and questions surrounding globalization. Philosophically discussed, this work allows one to better understand the mindset of the academic community before area studies was recognized as an established program.

Education and World Affairs. The University Looks Abroad: Approaches to World Affairs at Six American Universities. New York: Walker and Company, 1965.

Evaluation of six major universities, including Indiana University. Each evaluation has a section on library resources of area studies and identifies its strengths.

Gibb, Sir Hamilton. Area Studies Reconsidered. London: University of London, 1963.

Written by the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, this personal work briefly outlines the difficulties, achievements, expectations and requirements for an academic area study program.

Lambert, Richard D. Language and Area Studies Review. Philadelphia: The American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1973.

Study performed over a two year period sponsored by the social Science Research Council. Evaluates all aspects of area and language studies programs in the United States. Libraries are addressed in regards to funding and resource purchasing and a list of recommendations to better support area study programs is included.

Powers, Marschall K. "Area Studies: A Neglected Field of Responsibility." The Journal of Higher Education, 26.2 (1955): 82-89 + 113.

Published three years before the National Defense Education Act was passed, this article sets out the mindset of the era and outlines the situation in the United States and the education system to develop an area (or foreign) studies program, especially in higher education. Assesses programs such as Latin and Greek before the war and notes how the need for area specialists quickly developed. An informational look at area studies as it began to develop in the 1950's and the concerns of educators in the program conception. One concern this article brings to light is the knowledge and ability of librarians to develop a collection to support a program in area studies.

Sellin, Thorsten and Marvin Wolfgang (ed). The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 356(1964).

Entire volume is devoted to area studies in higher education. Divided into four sections: The Participants, The Disciplines, The Non-Western Areas, and Some New Developments; the articles within each of these sections touch on a variety of topics from area studies. From Leadership, and the Federal Government's role to the Uralic and Altaic as neglected areas of study, this volume is a collection which provides a wealth of information in one place.

Szanton, David L. (ed). The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. University of California Press/University of California International and Area Studies Digital Collection, Edited Volume #3, 2003. [Link to e-book]

This work is a collection of articles which pertain directly to area studies programs, development and future. Each article is written by a leading academic providing a reliable and knowledgeable background of the topics.

Included in this compilation:
The Origin, Nature, and Challenges of Area Studies in the United States, David L. Szanton:
Provides a foreword to compilation, but also examines the goals of area studies and provides a five point definition of "area studies". In addition, provides a clear and concise evaluation of how area studies fits into higher education and why it should be utilized and conceptualized into more curricula.

Latin American Studies: Theory and Practice, by Paul Drake, and Lisa Hilbink:
Latin American Studies has seen a decreasing trend in scholarly activity. This article argues for Latin American studies as a program with many benefits and that the criticisms received are not justified.

Area Studies in Search of Africa, Pearl T. Robinson:
This article examines the Area Study of Africa; its development and what this means. Included in this examination is the history of Africa Studies since 1873 and how it continues to present day. The current situation of Africa Studies and how to develop Diaspora studies is also addressed.


Mildenberger, Kenneth. "The Federal Government and the Universities." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 356 (1964), 23-29.

Examines Title VI of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958 and how this program funded universities. The reasoning behind the funding was to provide universities with resources to develop non-western language and culture programs. The result of this funding was individuals, programs, technology, and research which the government could use to better understand and evaluate the non-western world.

Morton, Louise. "National Security and Area Studies: The Intellectual Response to the Cold War." The Journal of Higher Education, 34.3 (1963), 142-147.

Recaps the growth of area studies in universities and in the armed forces after the Cold War. Carefully assesses the definition and implementation of area studies and reasoning behind program development. Outlines the various programs associated with area studies and the relation to national security.

Palat, Ravi Arvind. "Area Studies After 9/11, Requiescat in Pace." [PDF document no longer available online]

Presented at "The Question of Asia in the New Global Order" (Duke University, 1-2 October 2004), this paper examines the political nature surrounding area studies and evaluates the effect in academic programs. Additionally, Palat evaluates "what should be done" in the current situation, particularly after 9/11.

Pye, Lucian W. Political Science and Area Studies. Bloomington, Indiana University: Indiana University Press, 1975.

Links the discipline of political science to the study of area studies through a series of authored essays. Each essay addresses a different view point related to area studies within the realm of political science. Includes index and bibliographic references.

Reining, Conrad C. "The Interdisciplinary Effect in African Studies." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 356 (1964), 100-105.

Assesses the camaraderie within African Area Studies between scholars of African disciplines and how this relates to the study and development of area studies. Written by the Head of the African Section of the Library of congress in 1964, this article is an insider's look at how African Area Studies progressed as of this time. A main concept is the interdisciplinary aspect of African Area Studies, specifically the relationship between linguists and non-linguists in this area.

last updated: 3/7/2012