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Visions of Europe

Interdisciplinary Contributions to Contemporary Cultural Debates


Edited By Gail K. Hart and Anke S. Biendarra

How do we as scholars envision Europe? Participants in a two-day research symposium bring a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary responses to this complex question. Distinguished US scholars address the European continent, its history and culture, and its politics in essays that range from the intellectual tradition to poetics and world literature, from the air war to plurilingualism, from religious symbolism to Europe’s colonial legacy. These contributions comprise a portrait or vision of Europe today; the challenges it faces, and the challenges we face in confronting it as a cultural and geopolitical entity.
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Ceci n’est pas un manifeste—Envisioning Europe and European Studies


John H. Smith

“We wanted to present a possible vision of the future of Europe.” – “Wir wollten eine mögliche Vision der Zukunft Europas zeigen.”

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Interview, 71

“We don’t seem to have time for the further development of democracy, for solidarity and visions for this [new] Europe, in brief, for ‘Eurovisions.’” – “Wir scheinen keine Zeit für die Weiterentwicklung von Demokratie, für Solidarität und Visionen für dieses Europa, kurz gefasst – für ‚Eurovisionen‘ – zu haben.”

Oskar Negt, Interview

How do we “see” Europe? In what genre do we write down those visions? Beginning in 2009 in the wake of the euro crisis, a sizable number of manifestos—explicitly so called or implicitly serving that literary and political function—have appeared that attempt to give a “vision of Europe.” Some (e.g., Jürgen Habermas’) are consciously downplayed in the form of essays, although they, too, respond to “the lack of a broader perspective” of what Europe should be (Habermas 41). Small books like Ulrich Beck’s have also been accompanied by Internet manifestos (“We are Europe”). They offer both explanations of the crisis’s origin and prescriptions for future action, parsing out blame variably to neoliberalism, the financial sector, the national governments (particularly Angela Merkel’s Germany), the parties on the right or left, the European Union itself (“Brussels”), and other major and minor actors.

About the same time, in a distant part of the...

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