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Department of Politics and International Studies


One of the leading research-driven centres in the UK, the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS conducts cutting edge research into politics and IR in line with the school’s emphasis on synthesizing empirical knowledge of Asia (including Middle East) and Africa with the key theoretical debates taking place within the academic disciplines.

Pluralistic in its intellectual approach, innovative in its blending of deep local knowledge with the most recent social scientific debates, the department seeks to cover key themes that are representative of the politics and international relations of Asia and Africa and produce research of international standard. The regional coverage is extensive and unique in the UK.

Thematically, research within the department covers a wide range of topics, which broadly fall under two sub-disciplinary groupings, namely, comparative politics (including political ideas) and international relations (many colleagues contribute to both groupings). Research into these themes seeks to generate new data from Asian and African cases and to relate that data to theoretical debates. This is complemented by (non-region specific) research into those key debates that provide the theoretical context to investigation at the regional level.

Research is published in a range of outlets (books with university and trade presses, omnibus and specialist journals of politics/IR, area studies journals), reflecting our need to communicate with broad and varied audiences.