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Area studies research

Explore the work we're doing across our five areas of expertise in area studies

In a world that's more connected – but fragmented – than ever, area studies has never been more important.

This research area explores the fields of international relations, history, politics, sociology, economies, cultures, languages and geography across specific regions. From exploring the history of the American civil rights movement, investigating Europe's relationship with Russia, or seeking to understand the causes of conflict in West Africa, our research is helping us make sense of the world.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2021, the University of Portsmouth was ranked as the top modern UK university for overall quality by Grade Point Average (GPA) and research power in Area Studies, and 2nd across all UK universities for research power, according to Times Higher Education. Our activities have been funded by major UK and European research councils, including the AHRC, ESF, ESRC, EU, UNESCO, the British Academy and various NGOs.

Interested in a PhD in Area Studies and International Development?

Explore our Area Studies and International Development postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils.

Our area studies areas of expertise

Find out more about the facilities and methods that shape our area studies research – and learn more about our recent projects, the academic and industrial partners with whom we collaborate, and the major funders who fund our work.

African studies

We're building knowledge on conflict in West Africa, with a particular focus on issues in the West African Sahel.

Children walking in arid African landscape
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French studies

Through our research, we're exploring the politics of France and French-speaking countries in the world.

The Louvre in Paris, France
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Russian and Eurasian studies

We're learning about the issues on the EU's eastern borders, and how the UK and EU should react.

Russian city skyline at dusk
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Research groups

Peace, Conflict and Security Research Group

We're researching the complex reality of the struggles over the meaning of security, citizenship and rights.

A lone soldier with a gun stands in a desolate landscape
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Transnational Politics and Society Research Group

Our research focuses on the cross-border dimensions of Europe and the wider world, including transnational politics, civil society and migration.

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Decolonising Spaces

We're researching the history, societies, cultures, politics and languages of different regions of the world, with a particular emphasis on decolonial perspectives.

European flags
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