PhD students and postdoctoral researchers are invited to submit proposals for papers on the theme of ‘Many Europes’. Successful candidates will be invited to present their papers at a one-day workshop at Royal Holloway, University of London, in February 2012. Abstracts, maximum 300 words, should be submitted by Friday 28th October 2011 to the workshop organizer Prof. Chris Rumford firstname.lastname@example.org
The study of EU integration, and the promise of a single European economic, political and cultural space, has largely obscured the possibility of many Europes, the study of which has been consigned to the margins of integration studies but has long been a feature of a broader multidisciplinary European studies agenda. In this vein, we welcome proposals for papers on the theme of ‘Many Europes’ that will capture the inherent dynamism, fluidity and historicity of the postwar unification project. This perspective highlights themes often missed within conventional EU studies; notably the diversity of geopolitical, social, and cultural configurations that define Europe’s transformational politics. We envision ‘Many Europes’ as a theme with explanatory, productive and creative uses. As an analytic for the study of the EU, it holds the promise of introducing new language, concepts, and avenues for elucidating the contours of postwar unification.
The notion of multiple Europes has, recently, become a more central feature of the integration studies literature. This has mostly occurred through discussions on the compatibility or hybridization of European identity in relation to national identity. For example, Risse (2010: 38-39) argues that rather than a single European identity we have many Europes ‘expressed in various national colours’. This conservative view that multiple identities are always fragments of ‘one European identity’ is a common assumption within the literature. The underlying ‘oneness’ of Europe is, paradoxically, reproduced in the claim that Europe’s identities are ‘multiple and nested’ (Checkel and Katzenstein, 2009: 2). This literature represents a common tendency to view European diversity as mostly a question of identity; an identity on an inexorable path to completeness.
The workshop will question the prevalent assumption that Europe has such a core identity. But more importantly, it will decenter the identity problématique by demonstrating that identity is not the only – or necessarily most important – site of European difference and political fragmentation. Europe, after all, is constituted by a number of binaries that transcend the nation-state/Europe divide (such as between East and West or between elites and populists). Furthermore, we reject the assumption that Europe’s diversity is only intelligible through such binaries. As Loriaux (2008) argues, Europe integration has been about remaking the ‘ontopological’ forms (mental maps) bequeathed by the nation-state. Europe is a complex political entity that has created new spaces of culture, economics and geopolitics. From this vantage point, Agnew’s provocative question of ‘How many Europes?’ (Agnew 2001) cannot be answered by discussions of identity alone.
The notion of ‘Many Europes’ captures the inherent historicity, fluidity and complexity of postwar unification. Europe emerges as a ‘multiplicity’ that cannot be reduced to a few ‘fixed’ political properties or historical trajectories (or made analogous to the EU). Rather than a site of closure, we contend that Europe is a productive force which has created new meanings, practices, strategies, and subjects. We will encourage our contributors to explore Europe’s numerous political imaginaries, geopolitical configurations, and ways of being in the world. We do not wish to pin down a final form or function for Europe, but rather demonstrate how Europe is an active site of multiple – and often times contradictory – productions and transformations.
Agnew, J. 2001: ‘How many Europes? The European Union, eastward enlargement and uneven development’ European Urban and Regional Studies, 8(1) 29-38.
Checkel, J. And Katzenstein, P. (eds) 2009: European Identity. (Cambridge University Press)
Loriaux, M. 2008: European Union and the Deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier (Cambridge University Press)
Risse, T. 2010: A Community of Europeans? Transnational Identities and Public Spheres (Cornell).
Prof. Chris Rumford
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham Surrey TW20 0EX
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