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Imagining Europe

Europe and European Civilisation as Seen from its Margins and by the Rest of the World, in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

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Michael Wintle

What do people think ‘Europe’ means? What are its values, what are its borders, and what does it stand for? An important topic, without doubt. But the authors of this research collection are not so much interested in what Europe thinks of itself, but rather in what others think of it. They take a number of scenarios from recent history, and examine how Europe has appeared to people in other parts of the globe: America, China, the Arab world, for example. But they go further, and pose the question for some parts of the world which are ‘inside’ Europe, but which for one reason or another hover on the margins, like the Balkans, and Turkey. Furthermore they include the views about Europe held in parts of the continent which have without any doubt whatsoever belonged to Europe’s core, but which much of the rest of Europe, later, would like to forget about, or marginalise: Stalin’s Russia, and Hitler’s Germany. Most of the elements investigated here are central to the imagining of Europe, and despite many Europeans’ wish to distance themselves, such views should be recognised and taken up as an important and indispensable contribution to the debate about ‘What is Europe?’

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