Interdisciplinary Contributions to Contemporary Cultural Debates
In January 2012, the University of California, Irvine’s programs in French, German, Italian, Russian, and European Studies merged and became the Department of European Languages and Studies. This was not a union forced from above, but rather a merger that the colleagues had argued for because of a shared interest in the idea of Europe, the continent, its history, its culture, its politics, its coherence and also its occasional incoherence. As an inaugural gesture, our way of saying ‘here we are,’ we organized a campus-wide conference and invited Russell Berman of Stanford University as our keynote speaker. It was an opportunity to get to know one another better through our work and also to collaborate across disciplinary lines on our central object of inquiry, the diverse cultures of Europe. The conference “Visions of Europe: Unity and Division” was held on March 1–2, 2012. In addition to Professor Berman and colleagues from the humanities, arts, and social sciences at UC Irvine and UC Davis, Consuls or consular representatives of Belgium, The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, and Switzerland followed our invitation and addressed the group.
The current volume, Visions of Europe: Interdisciplinary Contributions to Contemporary Cultural Debates, brings together a selection of the papers presented at the conference, revised for publication, along with the keynote address and an introduction to the collection and the field by John H. Smith. Together, these essays show the ways in which cultural, political, historical, literary, and linguistic lines...
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