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Rethinking European Studies in the Perspective of Area Studies

August 15 , 2020 10:38 AM by QIAN Chengdan;HU Li

Rethinking European Studies in the Perspective of Area Studies

[Author] QIAN Chengdan;HU Li

[Abstract] As a newly emerged academic field in China, area studies has its own features. The European studies, with both the EU and European countries as its target, essentially belongs to the category of area studies. After decades of efforts, significant progresses have been achieved in China's European studies, but great deficiencies still exist, among which the biggest problem lies in the lack of a clear definition about what European studies means and in that it does not develop according to the inherent needs of area studies itself. There are four areas on which the Chinese scholars should focus in the future European studies. Firstly, the scope of the European studies should be expanded to include all the European countries, geographically, rather than concentrating only on a few large powers. Secondly, it is necessary for the Chinese scholars to diversify their methodologies in order to construct the European studies into an interdisciplinary research field with a multidisciplinary approach. Thirdly, fieldwork is an indispensable step to make deep-going researchers, especially concerning the cultural and social studies of the targeted countries. Last but not the least, the excessive dependence on the English language as a research instrument must be rectified by encouraging the scholars to master the languages of the targeted countries. In addition, China's European studies should pay particular attention to the basic concepts and methodologies of area studies, and consciously serve China's needs of the time.

[Source] Chinese Journal of European Studies, Vol.38, No.4, 2020, pp.138-150.