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Visions of Europe

Interdisciplinary Contributions to Contemporary Cultural Debates

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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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Division as Unity: Plurilingualism and Language Education in Europe

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Glenn S. Levine

The grass is always greener

From the vantage point of the United States, Europe is often regarded by us “tongue-tied Americans,” as Congressman Paul Simon labeled us back in 1980, as the multilingual ideal that we should aspire to become. This view was echoed by candidate Barack Obama during a campaign event in Georgia in 2008, when he asserted:

It’s embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe, and all we can say is, ‘merci beaucoup.’ (Bacon)

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