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Imagining Europe

Europe and European Civilisation as Seen from its Margins and by the Rest of the World, in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries


Edited By Michael Wintle

What do people think ‘Europe’ means? What are its values, what are its borders, and what does it stand for? An important topic, without doubt. But the authors of this research collection are not so much interested in what Europe thinks of itself, but rather in what others think of it. They take a number of scenarios from recent history, and examine how Europe has appeared to people in other parts of the globe: America, China, the Arab world, for example. But they go further, and pose the question for some parts of the world which are ‘inside’ Europe, but which for one reason or another hover on the margins, like the Balkans, and Turkey. Furthermore they include the views about Europe held in parts of the continent which have without any doubt whatsoever belonged to Europe’s core, but which much of the rest of Europe, later, would like to forget about, or marginalise: Stalin’s Russia, and Hitler’s Germany. Most of the elements investigated here are central to the imagining of Europe, and despite many Europeans’ wish to distance themselves, such views should be recognised and taken up as an important and indispensable contribution to the debate about ‘What is Europe?’


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Preface 11


11 Preface This book, in its present form, is one of the eventual products of a workshop which took place at the Royal Academy in Amsterdam in June 2005, to honour the retirement of Bruno Naarden as the Professor of Russian History and East European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. At that well attended and lively symposium, which includ- ed Professor Naarden’s valedictory lecture, on the subject of the Am- sterdam burgemeester Nicolaas Witsen’s writings on Russia in the seventeenth century, four of the contributors to this book gave embryon- ic versions of their chapters as papers to the workshop. Since then they have been reconsidered and entirely rewritten, in order to address more directly the common research agenda; moreover five entirely new chapters have been specially commissioned from other specialist schol- ars. We have moved well beyond Bruno Naarden’s farewell celebra- tions, but nonetheless this book is dedicated to him as a token of our appreciation for his untiring work for European Studies at the University of Amsterdam and elsewhere. I am grateful to those who helped plan the original occasion, espe- cially Ben de Jong, and to all those who took part in the workshop. I am also happy to thank the Institute for Culture and History at the Universi- ty of Amsterdam, which provided generous financial support for the project at various stages. Most of all I am indebted to the authors, who have been infinitely patient and understanding throughout the vagaries of the editing and...

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