The Idea of Europe: The Clash of Projections

Recent developments within and outside Europe have challenged the very idea of Europe, calling it into question and demanding reconsideration of its underlying assumptions. Since Aristotle’s times, Europeans have habitually associated themselves with dialogic openness and inclusiveness, as opposed to the despotic exclusiveness and violence that has marked other regimes and societies. The tradition of highlighting a peaceful, cosmopolitan European self-perception against a background of bellicose, non-European provincialism is well documented. This assumption has tended to occlude the – no less well-documented – fact that the unification of mankind and the growth of a global world system, triggered by Renaissance colonialism, was accompanied by exclusions and atrocities: plantations, factories, and colonies were among the principal laboratories of a European-centered concept of humanity. This conference raises the question whether this legacy at the present moment translates into power asymmetries. Does this humanity constitutively rely on a gap which serves to keep interests apart? Was the democratic freedom of the European political space purchased at the expense of violence applied beyond its borders and the concomitant normative pressures intensified toward its frontiers?

Organized by the Institute of Slavic Studies, University of Vienna with support from the Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalism (University of Amsterdam) and the Institute of Jewish Studies (University of Antwerp) under the auspices of Academia Europaea.
Venue: Aula at the Campus
Date: 8-10 September 2017

Organizational Committee:

  • Vladimir Biti (University of Vienna)
  • Joep Leerssen (University of Amsterdam)
  • Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp)

For the full conference program, click here.