Area Studies in Academic Debate: Why Study Area? Pros and Cons

Discovering Eastern Europe

Evert van der Zweerde
Evert van der Zweerde


Evert van der Zweerde is professor of Political Philosophy at Radboud University, Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. Within this field, his focus is on a number of key notions: civil society, ideology, community, secularization / de-secularization / post-secularity, democracy. Areas of interest include Russia / the former USSR (especially the South Caucasus), the Islamic / Arab world, and of course the European Union and the Netherlands. He has led and (co)supervised research projects on the Russian philosopher / theologian Vladimir Solov’ëv, the “borders” between Orthodox Christianity and “the West”, Repertoires of Democracy (as part of a nation-wide program on Contested Democracy), and Nation, Religion, and Democracy in the South Caucasus. 

Module Summary:

This Module focuses on the academic field of Area Studies and provides you with a broad basis from which to proceed into researching distinct regions of the world. You will immerse in the various academic debates and critically discuss for yourself such concepts as 'orientalization' or 'idolization' in the context of area studies.

Educational Goals:

  • You will be familiarized with the field of global politics and understand the methodological and conceptual differences.
  • You will learn about the methodological challenges of the field.
  • You will be provided with practical skills concerning active participating in controversial discussions, presenting and supporting your own arguments and elaborating a well-structured research paper.


  • Participation in four workshop assignments with different tasks such as drafting a questionnaire, conducting survey, discussing survey etc.
  • Preparing the final research paper dealing with personality cult in comparative perspective. The final paper determines your final grade and can only be submitted if the previous tasks were passed.

Key Facts:

  • 8 ECTS
  • 12 weeks
  • 1.195 Euro
  • Optional On-site Workshop in February each year

Register Now