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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

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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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PART I. INTRODUCTORY 13

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PART I INTRODUCTORY 15 INTRODUCTION Perceptions of Europe within and without Michael WINTLE This collection of essays revolves around the highly topical question, “What is Europe?” What are its values, what are its borders, and what does it stand for? Many academic enquiries have posed these questions; this book, however, asks them from a different point of view. Perception and image-formation often have to do with identity for- mation: images of self-perception are what we use to define our own identity, and we are helped in doing so by our perceptions or images of what we are not: our opposites, or Others. Europeans too have formed a collective identity in the same way, certainly since the Renaissance, defining what unites them, and what they think they are not. But what have the others thought of Europe? The authors of the essays in this volume are thus not so much interested in what Europe thinks of itself, but rather in what others think of it. The contributors 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 we go further. The question is also posed for some parts of the world which are “inside” Europe, but which for one reason or anoth- er hover on the margins, like the Balkans, and Turkey. Also included are the views about Europe held in parts of the continent which have with- out any doubt...

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