Soas splashes out on staff to broaden its horizons

January 12, 2007

The School of Oriental and African Studies wants to recruit almost 20 lecturers to boost new areas and revitalise others.

The posts, advertised in The Times Higher this week and next, will broaden and deepen expertise across the faculties of arts and humanities, and languages and cultures. The law faculty advertised posts in December.

Tom Tomlinson, dean of the arts and humanities faculty, said: "It's partly [about] replacing people, but we're also recruiting to try to drive forward some new initiatives such as film and media studies, which [we] started two or three years ago and is really taking off.

"These posts represent a significant new investment in staff at Soas: the total salary costs will be in excess of £350,000. We know there is ample demand for the new courses, academic initiatives and research projects that will engage these staff at Soas."

The emphasis would be on encouraging a more interdisciplinary approach, he said, for example in areas such as diasporas and environment. "We often talk about them within a Western context without discussing them in regard to Asia or Africa."

New staff will take core conceptual courses and teach their own specialism. "It's a move to try to loosen up the boundaries a bit," Professor Tomlinson explained. "It's a way of getting people together around themes rather than disciplines or areas."

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