Journal article Open Access

What's the "Area" in Comparative Area Studies?

Pepinsky, Thomas

Comparative Area Studies (CAS) promises to bring together the method of focused qualitative comparison and a sensitivity to area context in multiple world regions. Ariel Ahram, Patrick Köllner, and Rudra Sil’s Comparative Area Studies (2018), for example, provides a wonderful overview of how comparativists can learn from what might seem to be audacious crossregional comparative projects. What could be more interesting than insisting that we read more European political history to make better sense of the case of the United States (Ahmed 2018) or identifying the “Arab” Spring in Israel and Mali (Ahram 2018)? I suspect that for many comparative social scientists, the very idea of learning about something familiar by comparing it with something very different is what attracted us to our field in the first place.

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