Area Studies, Planetary Thinking, and Philosophical Anthropology


Authors
Alec Gordon
University of Leeds (PhD)
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to consider the vicissitudes of “area studies” from the Second World War to the present focusing eventually on the normative imperative to develop a new paradigm of “planetary thinking.” First an overview of the history of “area studies” will be given from the start in the U.S. during the Second World War in response to the geostrategic imperative for America to know its new geopolitical responsibilities in a world divided by war. This security imperative morphed into the postwar requisite to develop a counterhegemonic strategy against soviet communism in the hot spot parts of Asia, Latin American, and later Africa. The latter military-oriented strategy was added to with research into development and modernization in the third-world through to the boundary displacement of areas studies at the end of the Cold War into the current era of globalization. At this very historical moment of transition a new rationale for area studies emerged in the form of a geoeconomic imperative – both in the U.S. and, with a different gloss, in South Korea in the late 1990s. Second, on the basis of this historical apercu, the argument will be proposed that, given the problem of global warming and the issue‐area of global inequality lurking behind the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, a pressing contemporary task for philosophy is to make a critical contribution to developing a new planetary perspective for area studies informed by a constitutive philosophical anthropology attendant to the species being of human beings.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
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DOI wcp22200820737
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