The Idea of Europe
Full course description
This first course of the Minor European Studies curriculum has an introductory character. It touches on a number of issues which will be dealt with more extensively later on in the programme, but it also calls attention to a fundamental question concerning Europe: Does Europe exist? Does the name “Europe” refer to a political and/or cultural identity of its own? And if so, what are the distinguishing characteristics of this identity, what have been the decisive common experiences that have fostered a sense of European community, and how has it evolved in time?
At the end of this course, students will:
- have a basic overview of the development of the idea and identity of Europe, which can serve as a broad historical framework for understanding the process of European integration as it has occurred after 1945;
- be more familiar with specific characteristics of European history, notably in comparison with that of other (non-European) societies;
- have an understanding of some of the basic theoretical and methodological problems in dealing with this subject matter. Students are introduced to problems concerning the study of identity, especially the social and symbolic construction of community and identity, as well as corresponding notions of representation, invention of tradition, and ‘lieux de mémoire’. They are also made familiar - at a rudimentary level - with some of the most influential (and contested) theories in the historical study of society like Max Weber’s concept of rationality, Norbert Elias’ theory of civilisation, different views on modernisation (Sigmund Freud, Ernest Gellner, Zygmunt Bauman).
Delanty, G. (1995). Inventing Europe: Idea, identity and reality. London: Macmillan Press