SOAS, University of London

SOAS, University of London is the only Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.

SOAS is a remarkable institution. Uniquely combining language scholarship, disciplinary expertise and regional focus, it has the largest concentration in Europe of academic staff concerned with Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

On the one hand, this means that SOAS scholars grapple with pressing issues - democracy, development, human rights, identity, legal systems, poverty, religion, social change - confronting two-thirds of humankind while at the same time remaining guardians of specialised knowledge in languages and periods and regions not available anywhere else in the UK.

This makes SOAS synonymous with intellectual enquiry and achievement. It is a global academic base and a crucial resource for London. We live in a world of shrinking borders and of economic and technological simultaneity. Yet it is also a world in which difference and regionalism present themselves acutely. It is a world that SOAS is distinctively positioned to analyse, understand and explain.

Our academic focus on the languages, cultures and societies of Africa, Asia and the Middle East makes us an indispensable interpreter in a complex world.

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Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

2015: the year in elections

For better or for worse, various countries around the world charted a new course last year. What lies ahead for 2016?
The Nairobi-Thika highway is being built by China Wuyi, Sinohydro and Shengeli Engineering Construction, and is funded by Kenya, China and the African Development Bank. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Chinese investment: why the buck stops with African governments

China offers an alternative to traditional donors and investors in low- and middle-income countries. Adding to its appeal is its focus on infrastructure projects.
Workers in a bank watch as Occupy Wall Street protesters march in New York as part of the populist movement protesting economic inequality. Reuters/Joshua Lott

Why inequality matters – for the rich and the poor

The Marikana tragedy has indicated the violent nature of the struggles over resources and income shares. Inequality must be fought because it perpetuates social injustice.
Run down. Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Decline and decay: a sobering trip through southern Africa

I spent most of August 2015 in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia – a depressing and mournful tour indeed. The place I stayed in South Africa, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, is atypical. I am almost…
Nigerian author Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is hailed as one of the greatest novels ever set in Africa. Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

What a less Eurocentric reading list would look like

There's a fierce debate underway about changing university curricula in Africa and the UK to be less Eurocentric. Three academics offer their suggestions for a decolonised reading list.
It’s not that Shakespeare needs to burn out – but it’s time for him to fade away. Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

It’s time to take the curriculum back from dead white men

When literary studies degrees focus almost entirely on the work of white, male writers, we do our students and the academy a great disservice.

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