International and Area Studies

Program Information

This program is designed for students who have strong international and regional (area studies) interests and wish to pursue these interests systematically in their academic studies. The program reflects the belief that several kinds of skills and knowledge are essential for understanding the contemporary global system. The first of these is the ability to analyze issues that are global—issues that pertain to the interrelationships among the peoples and states of the world. The second is skill in making explicit, systematic comparisons between dimensions of political, socioeconomic, or cultural life in two or more societies, as well as acquiring the special kinds of insights resulting from such comparative analysis. The third is in-depth knowledge of a particular area of the world—its geography, history, culture, and institutions. These areas may be a state, a subcontinent, or a broader geographic region.

With a mix of courses providing global/comparative and area-specific knowledge, mastery of a second language, study abroad, the IAS sophomore and senior seminars, and a discipline-specific major or minor, students majoring in International and Area Studies should be well prepared to live in and to make sense of the interdependent system of states and regions that make up the modern world. They will also have received a solid foundation for graduate study and/or further training for careers in the international realm.

The program in international and area studies is open to all students.

In addition to meeting formal requirements, majors are urged to consider doing an international or area studies oriented SIP and/or an international internship in consultation with the Center for Career and Professional Development.


John Dugas (Chair), Margaret and Roger Scholten Associate Professor of Political Science. BA Louisiana State University PhD Indiana University-Bloomington

Amy Elman, Weber Professor in Social Science. BA Brandeis University MA, PhD New York University

Dennis Frost, Wen Chao Chen Professor of East Asian Social Sciences. BA Wittenberg University MPhil, PhD Columbia University

Enid Valle, Professor of Romance Languages and Literature. BA University of Puerto Rico MA, PhD University of Michigan


  • Kalamazoo College students such as Jonah Bolton ’21 who sought on-the-job work experience and community-development opportunities didn’t have to choose between the two this summer thanks to the Center for Civic Engagement and the Center for Career and Professional Development. Through the departmental partnership, another group of qualified students worked at local organizations from AACORN […]
  • A nonprofit organization committed to cultivating leadership paved the way for two Kalamazoo College students to attend the Management Leadership for Tomorrow Seminar this spring. The event is attended by more than 120 employers and dedicated to nurturing and expanding minority leadership in technology. Seminar attendees, including Vanessa Vigier and Ricky Brown, both ’21, benefited […]
  • Several Kalamazoo College students with local ties are helping prospective students and their families learn about the school, the campus and the city this summer through the Admission Center. Madelyn Betts ’19, Leah Todd ’20 and Faruq Schieber ’20—all of Kalamazoo—are among the campus tour guides, and they say summer is an excellent time to […]
  • David Barclay, the Margaret and Roger Scholten Professor of International Studies, delivered a lecture titled “Island City, Cold War City: West Berlin in the Context of Postwar History, 1948-1994” at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Florida. The presentation was based on his current book project: a general history of West Berlin from the […]