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Visions of Europe

Interdisciplinary Contributions to Contemporary Cultural Debates

Series:

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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Editors’ Introduction

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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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