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.
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.
We're building knowledge on conflict in West Africa, with a particular focus on issues in the West African Sahel.
Through our research, we're exploring the politics of France and French-speaking countries in the world.
Russian and Eurasian studies
We're learning about the issues on the EU's eastern borders, and how the UK and EU should react.
Peace, Conflict and Security Research Group
We're researching the complex reality of the struggles over the meaning of security, citizenship and rights.
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.
We're researching the history, societies, cultures, politics and languages of different regions of the world, with a particular emphasis on decolonial perspectives.
Interested in a PhD in area studies and international development?
Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Area Studies and International Development postgraduate research degrees page.