This volume presents selected proceedings of a conference on ‘Europe and its Others’ held at St Andrews University in 2007. It seeks to explore the collective and cultural persona implied by Europe’s richly diverse gaze upon, and dealings with, non-Europeans, encountered or represented in the course of travel, trade, conquest or cultural exchange – and their gaze-in-return questioning ‘Europe’.
The play of defining ‘interperceptions’ is followed here in a series of essays covering a broad spectrum of imaginative writings, film, history and culture theory produced in many European languages.
Bringing together specialists in all these fields, this volume scans the unseen processes that the early twenty-first century has come to discern in identity formation: the role of gender as a paradigmatic signifier of Otherness; the narrating of history and memory; the role of border zones and marginalities; the hidden grammar of hostility and violence; the bonding effected by shared values and sacralities; public and private spaces of representation; the Other without and the otherness within.
What emerges from this two-way play of reflection is a sense of the tissue of awareness of the cultural identity that is ‘Europe’; and, perhaps, a renewed openness to Europe’s Others.