SOAS Centenary Research Theme
Increasing interconnections in the world as a result of trade, investment, migration and cultural exchange are seen as driving processes of globalisation and transnationalism, resulting at best in different parts of the world becoming more alike, and at worst in driving new forms of inequality. Such processes at the very least force us to think in new ways about the field of ‘area studies’.
In practice, SOAS research demonstrates that global interconnections have existed through much of human history: for example, the Silk Road is a metaphor for a form of globalisation that predated the 20th century, which shaped not only present-day China, but also the various other regions that it connected.
Looking to the future, global interactions are also likely to be shaped by regional influences, and lead to the development of new global and regional cultures and economies, as practices and ideas from one region adapt and develop in new contexts.
SOAS research over the coming decades, whether focused on connections between Africa and Asia, the growing importance of regional cinemas on the global stage, or emerging global cultures around road-building or entrepreneurship, will stress the enduring significance of places and the influence they have on global ties.