IAS offers new Eurasian studies concentration
A new Eurasian Studies concentration for the International and Area Studies (IAS) major will allow students to study the culture and society of Eurasia.
Students in the concentration will take a core course, Ancient Eurasia and the New Silk Roads, to lay the foundation for future studies. Administrators hope that the new concentration will fill a void in the major.
“We started to talk about this and think it would be a good concentration for students, especially because that area is sort of neglected by other major studies like the Far East or Europe,” Nicole Svobodny, the curator for the new program and assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. “So it would give students a chance to look at this neglected area.”
Unlike comparable programs at other universities, the Eurasian studies concentration was not developed out of another program, such as Russian studies.
“Ours is also different in, we’re a little bit more concentrated on re-conceptualizing regional studies, so its not just an inheritor of what was the Soviet Union, but seeing connections between cultures that weren’t always seen as being connected,” Svobodny said.
As of yet, no students have declared the concentration, but Svobodny is not discouraged.
“It’s still a new initiative, we’re hoping probably next year we will start to get more of a mass of students,” she said.
Ashley Britts, a sophomore, is an IAS major with a concentration in Latin American studies. Though she is happy with her concentration, she thought that the new concentration would help the department meet student needs.
“It’s good they added another concentration. The general IAS major is fantastic, but I think if you can focus on one specific area and get to know a lot about one place it gives you a lot of credibility,” she said.
The Eurasian studies concentration is one of six tracks in the major. Other concentration options include development studies, European studies, global cultural studies, Latin American studies, and sustainable development. All concentrations are interdisciplinary and may include courses in departments from history to economics.
Ali Ames, a sophomore, is an IAS major with a concentration in sustainable development. While Ames supports department’s expansion as well, she cautions against possible disorganization.
“I don’t think they should have too many concentrations to the point where it’s overwhelming and disorganized, but I think offering students more choice and a little bit more of a customized concentration system is good,” Ames said.