Area Studies is an interdisciplinary field pertaining to particular geographical, national/federal, or cultural regions. It brings together languages, politics, history, sociology, development studies, ethnography, applied translation/linguistics and cultural studies within its study of particular continents, countries and regions. The area base is key, allowing for the study of common/converging traits facing countries as well as the analysis of clusters of countries. The Language base is equally vital: credibility in research in any field assumes the ability to interact in the relevant languages.
Students on the Global Language-Based Area Studies pathway have access to vibrant research environments with seminar series involving Modern Languages and Politics staff via the European Governance, Identity, Public Policy (EGIPP) research group, which is co-directed by Politics and Languages; the Conflict, Development and Disaster cluster in Modern Languages (which works closely with Politics at Cardiff and with colleagues in Swansea) and the International Studies research unit (also in Politics in Cardiff with participation from Languages). The pathway thus draws upon two areas of research that the 2014 Research Excellence Framework confirmed to be of the highest quality.
The pathway offers extensive opportunities for languages training. Students on the ‘1+3’ route complete a specialist module either in Issues in International Relations or European Governance and Public Policy as part of the interdisciplinary Social Science Research Methods Masters programme, whilst developing a breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills. Beyond the Masters, and for students joining the pathway as ‘+3’ candidates, there are subject-specific M-level courses available, such as Research Methods: Approaches to Knowledge, as well as mixed methods training in comparative analysis (via the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data & Methods – WISERD). This is on top of specific training events: regular Research Methods Cafes, conference and presentation training, as well as discipline-specific papers and roundtables.