Harvard's Area Studies - Summary
Let's summarize based on the departments in Faculty of Arts and Sciences that we've looked at to date.
First, let's summarize the courses offerred:
|Celtic Languages and Literatures||32|
|Germanic Languages and Literatures||58|
|Slavic Languages and Literatures||74|
|Romance Languages and Literatures||172|
|African and African American Studies||117|
|Near Eastern Languages and Civlizations||198|
|South Asian Studies||94|
|East Asian Languages and Civilizations||181|
Overall, other than the underemphasis of South Asian Studies, this mix of coursees do fit Harvard's geographic and historical context as an English-speaking institutions sitting in the United States.
Second, let's look at Ph.D. language requirements for each of these 10 departments:
|French||German||Latin||Greek||Regional 1||Regional 2||
|Celtic||Must||3||Either||or||Must||Early Irish||Early Welsh|
|Germanic||Must||2 or 3||Must||Must||Medieval|
|Slavic||Must||4 or 5||Yes||Yes||Mostly Russian||One other must||Optional|
|Romance||Must||2 or 3||Most often||Medieval||Italian||Spanish||Portuguese|
|African/African American||Must||2||1 European||1 African|
|E.g. Persian or Turkish or Hebrew, etc.|
|E.g. Tibetan or Urdu-Hindi|
|East Asian||Must||3||Literary Chinese||Often modern Japanese||Korean, modern Chinese, or Tibetan / others|
Third, in terms of topics of studies at Harvard, most important is the core language(s), then following closely are literature(s), often extended into cultural studies (e.g. films, identities) or religious traditions, sometimes societal issues (but usually overviews, rather than very specific political, sociological or economic issues). In some cases, it extends towards History (primary is East Asian department) and/or intellectual history (e.g. in Islamic studies, this extends into philosophy, theology and legal thoughts). Overall, even though Area Studies should have focus both on Humanities and Social Sciences, my overall impression is that it focuses quite a bit on the literary tradition and Humanities, and less focused on topics covered by social sciences.