The Idea of Europe: The Intellectual History of Europe
Full course description
This course deals with some of the most fundamental questions concerning the development of the European Identity. What have been the decisive common experiences that have fostered a sense of European community and identity, and how have they evolved over time? Tracing those events and experiences in the past that have helped to shape some sense of European community and identity means establishing the factors that have contributed to the difference between Europe and the non-European world. The concept of identity logically consists of two components: the notion of historical continuity and a marked sense of difference between the “in-group” and one or more significant others. If we accept that there is some sort of European identity, albeit complex and multifaceted, we should ask which factors have generated it. To put it more specifically: Which factors contributed to Europe’s Sonderweg in world history? Or, to use the words of one author, the historian E.L. Jones: how did “the European miracle” come about?
From the angle of world history, the European experience constitutes a major deviation from an almost universal pattern of social and political organization. Europe is the first region in the world that has changed into a large-scale industrial and urban society. This so called process of modernization has turned European civilization into something of a historical anomaly - the kind of anomaly, however, that forced itself on other continents, thus becoming a new kind of standard in the end after all. To ask for the factors that have contributed to the modern sense of European community and identity is, at least for a large part, to ask for the factors that have produced this phenomenon of modernization, including the blatant economic disparities between European civilization (including North-America) and the rest of the world.
- To provide students with an overview of the concept of Europe and the development of European identity.
- To highlight the specific characteristics of European political/social/cultural history, notably in comparison with that of other (non-European) societies, that contributed to a sense of European community and the European identity.
- To demonstate how a sense of community could evolve from the many shared historical cultural factors.
- To provide students with an introduction to a range of theories which are fundamental to a range of courses at UCM.
A. Alcock, (2002) A Short History of Europe. Palgrave Macmillan
Delanty, (2013) Formations of European Modernity. Palgrave Macmillan