Despite broad consensus among higher education leaders that US universities are undergoing a process of "globalization," there is little agreement about just what globalization means, what propels it, or what intellectual, political, and ethical consequences it will bring for American higher education. The Council’s project Producing Knowledge on World Regions seeks to develop an intellectual framework and a social science agenda for assessing the globalization of higher education as well as the relationships between American universities, specific world regions, and an increasingly interconnected global higher education universe.
The project is based on findings that continue to emerge from a large-scale comparative ethnography of area studies centers funded by the US Department of Education (2004–2010) examining how American universities in general, and federally funded National Resource Centers (NRCs) in particular, organize research and instruction on several adjacent world regions: the Middle East, Russia/Eurasia, and South Asia. The first phase of the project focused primarily on Middle East studies centers on US campuses, with a special focus on the role of these centers in promoting interdisciplinarity and internationalization in the field. A report on phase 1 can be found here. The project's second phase focused on NRCs for the Middle East, Russia/Eurasia, and South Asia in order to capture interconnections and geographies that fall between area studies definitions (including Central Asia, the Persian Gulf region, and the Indian Ocean).
Complementing other InterAsia Program activities, this project engages with a number of pressing international education issues, including how universities carry out initiatives of internationalization and globalization, the place of the study of the international (as international studies, area studies, or interdisciplinary comparative work) within these schemes, and how universities, as organizations, grapple with the complexity of a world in which state borders are increasingly porous.