School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics and Literature (SASSHPL)
Explore the teaching and research taking place within SASSHPL
In the School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics and Literature (SASSHPL), we have a relentless curiosity about the world and its people.
Our subjects are wide-ranging but tied together by a common aim. They seek to better understand humanity through its past and present, to fathom implications for its future. We help our students, researchers and academics thrive as global citizens who can make sense of the world, figure out their place in it, and collaborate with others to help make it a better place.
Our culture is built on accountability, fairness, integrity and transparency. We value equality, inclusion and authentic professional and personal development.
Our courses reflect our interdisciplinary expertise in research, teaching and learning, and ensure all of our students realise their potential and ability to shape their careers after study.
Alongside expert academics driven by passion for their specialisms, our students learn how to anticipate change coming – socially, politically, culturally, economically. They graduate with qualifications, skills and perspectives attractive to employers across an enormous range of careers.
The University of Portsmouth is the top modern university in the country for Area Studies*
What is area studies?
Area studies is the name given to the collective disciplines of international relations, history, politics, sociology, economies, cultures, languages and geography across specific regions of the world.
Whether its investigating Europe's relationship with Russia, exploring the history of the American civil rights movement or studying the causes of conflict in West Africa, area studies helps us decipher the ways in which the world works.
We offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses, both on campus and via distance learning. We're incredibly invested in our students and in delivering innovative, research-led courses that help them achieve their goals.
Our academic and professional staff are research active and bring their ever-evolving fields of knowledge to each new cohort they teach. They also have close ties with our local community — including employers — so we can offer our students opportunities for work placements, internships, and work-based learning.
We support our students every step of the way, from establishing core skills in the first year to developing specialisms and fostering their interests and independent ideas. Through a range of assessment methods, from the traditional essay and presentations to podcasts, creative assessments and portfolios, our graduates embark on customised careers with real-world impact.
Our teaching areas
Explore the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees we offer within the following areas.
English literature and creative writing courses
History, politics, international relations and international development courses
Partnerships and collaborations
SASSHPL has school-wide partnerships with the University of Halmstad, Sweden and the University of Caen, France, with links for both undergraduate and postgraduate students to study and research overseas.
We draw on the expertise of a diverse range of local and national organisations to enrich the teaching experience we offer, including Lloyd's Register Foundation, Friends Without Borders, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the Portsmouth Museum and Records Service, and Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Services (PARCS).
We also have ongoing Holocaust education collaborations with Mayville High School, Portsmouth High School, the D-Day Story, and Portsmouth City Council.
Our research covers multiple disciplines and aligns with the University’s strategic research themes of democratic citizenship, health and wellbeing, sustainability and the environment, security and risk, and future and emerging technologies.
We're proud of our research culture, which we've developed through a strong commitment to scholarship and publication. We offer postgraduate research opportunities on Area Studies, Sociology, History, Literary Studies and Politics and International Relations.
We've worked with a range of organisations through our research projects including the Imperial War Museum, Forceswatch, ichange21, Vegan Society, Friends Without Borders, Connect Futures, and Journeys Festival International.
Our research areas
Explore the work we're doing across the research areas that sit within the School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics and Literature (SASSHPL).
We're exploring international relations, history, politics, economies, cultures, languages and geography across specific regions.
Identities and inequalities
We're asking questions around who we are, who is different from us, and who we want to be, to challenge structural violence and reduce inequality.
Sociology of culture
We're probing the link between culture and power, confronting societal issues, and looking at the ideological function of culture in naturalising them.
Social research methods
We're investigating the different methods, tools and techniques for studying social phenomena and generating information and data about all aspects of social life.
We're drawing on classical and contemporary social thought, philosophy, political economy, social anthropology, and history to explain and analyse social processes, issues, and concerns.
We're understanding our society through the study of experiences, culture, values and activities of people throughout history.
Politics and international relations
We're exploring pressing issues in politics and international relations and working with organisations, governments and individuals to find solutions.
We're researching how literature provides insight and understanding into the lives of other individuals, communities and cultures.
Our research centres
Much of our exceptional research takes place within the following cross-disciplinary research centres.
Centre for European and International Studies Research
We're researching topics such as citizenship, race, language across borders, social theory and transnational politics.
Centre for Studies in Literature
We're researching the history and culture of the English speaking world through literature.
Centre for Port Cities and Maritime Cultures
The Centre for Port Cities and Maritime Cultures focuses on the past, present and future importance of urban-maritime cultures and communities within a global context.
Research project highlights
We're analysing how NGOs and civil society actors influence regional and global politics.
We're researching port towns as sites of social and cultural convergence in partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
We're exploring the relationships between cities and the supernatural through texts.
We're conducting collaborative research into how academia and policy making can solve peace and security challenges in West Africa.
We're exploring Portsmouth's rich literary heritage and contemporary literature scene through an interactive map and blog.
A collaborative project which focuses on issues of citizenship, identity and migration in various regions.
SASSHPL news and blogs
Latest newsView all news
University of Portsmouth and Mary Rose Trust forge strategic alliance for maritime excellence
Learning from the past to make a better future for coastal communities
Portsmouth professors on display at the British Academy Summer Showcase 2023
Fair Trade SMEs are challenging fast fashion’s unfair purchasing practices
Portsmouth Professor's book listed in FT's "The books to read in 2023"
Latest blogsView all blogs
PGR Student Spotlight - Oscar Karlsson
Ukraine and Moldova have taken a huge step towards EU membership – but these hazards lie ahead
Saltburn: why you should read Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, the book that inspired the new film
University reaffirms leading Area Studies reputation with British Academy-funded Conference in Senegal
The book that haunts me – seven experts on the scariest thing they’ve ever read
Explore our faculty
Explore the other schools and departments that make up our faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Read more about the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and explore the teaching and research activities that take place within it.
School of Education, Languages and Linguistics
Explore the School of Education, Languages and Linguistics, and learn more about the teaching and research activities that take place within the school.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Explore more about the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, teaching and research activities taking place across the faculty's four schools and institutes.