Introducing the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies


A message from outgoing Head of School, Professor Rachel Murphy (this article first appeared in the OSGA Summer 2018 newsletter):

Greetings to students, faculty and friends! We welcome this chance to catch up with you again as another eventful academic year draws to a close. This year marks our transition to our new School name. After consulting widely, including polling our students and our alumni, we presented a proposal to the Social Sciences Division and then to the University to formally change our name from the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies (SIAS) to the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA). This new name was approved by University Council in May.

We believe that the new name better communicates our mandate of: ‘global challenges, regional understanding’. Specifically, we aim through our research and teaching to advance in-depth holistic interpretations into how global flashpoints and phenomena are incubated and experienced locally, from border disputes to epidemiological crises to environmental change to technological innovations to new consumer trends. We have also increasingly developed research and teaching around cross-regional comparisons and trans-local processes. As examples, this year Professors Hugh Whittaker and Kyle Jaros organised a one-day workshop on ‘Compressed Development in East Asia’ on behalf of the School’s industrial policy research cluster, while Dr Nicolette Makovicky has worked with colleagues in Anthropology to launch and run a study group on comparative socialisms and post-socialisms.  

We recognise that it will take time for our new School name to become widely known. We also remain mindful that our reputation in Oxford and worldwide depends not on a name but on the quality of our research and teaching, and on the commitment, engagement and excellence of our faculty and of our past and present students. 

We hope that you also take a moment to peruse our new website to take in some of the School’s recent activities and accomplishments. Moreover, we warmly invite you to keep in touch with us as the School moves on to its next chapter with the OSGA name and under the headship of my successor, Timothy Power, Professor of Latin American Politics.

With very best wishes and on behalf of OSGA,

Rachel Murphy
Professor of Chinese Development and Society

Head of OSGA

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