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Conference Information

Full Title: Europe? Cultural History of an Idea.

Location: Zadar, Croatia
Start Date: 01-Sep-2013 - 05-Sep-2013
Contact: Tomislav Zelic
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: On the occasion of the anticipated accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union, the Department of German Studies at the University of Zadar will host an international and interdisciplinary conference on the topic ‘Europe? Cultural History of an Idea.’ from September 1-5, 2013 in cooperation with the Croatian Hegel Society Zadar.

The question mark indicates: the etymology of the word, the geographic borderlines of the subcontinent, and the cultural identity of Europe are controversial. Bernard-Henri Lévy coined the bon mot: ‘Europe is not a place but an idea.’ Is it a philosophical idea? Is it normative or regulative? Does it concur with reality? Is it not rather a construction, fiction, or illusion? Many questions arise from different points of view: geography, history, economy, politics, law, architecture, linguistics, literary studies, philology, art, music, religion, and philosophy.

Europe was Christendom in cartography and iconography up until the eighteenth century. Since the eighteenth century, a reflexive concept of European culture evolved through historical and regional comparison. Europe distinguished itself from other cultural spheres through external unity and internal diversity. It was the place for many achievements for centuries but it was simultaneously afflicted by crises and catastrophes. Divide and disintegration counteracted unity and integration. European identity was overshadowed by violent exclusion or usurpation of the other, be it out of concern for or anxiety from unity or diversity, be it following the four points of the compass or the world spheres, be it in the conflict between political ideologies or confessional and religious beliefs.

From the loophole in the preamble to the Lisbon Treaty that refers to ‘the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe’ without further provisions springs a task for research in cultural history: it is about recalling the narratives from the past to rethink the European idea in the face of new challenges in the present with an eye to the open future. A cultural history of the European idea may contribute to leveling a critique at Eurocentricism and Euroscepticism alike.

Against this backdrop, we call up junior and senior researchers from all fields to present their research on the cultural and historical change of the European idea through time in individual and summary examinations of different epochs, authors, and works. The conference languages are German and English. Publication of conference proceedings is planned. Travel and accommodation cost is reimbursable subject to approval. Individual application for self-financing from other funds is recommended.
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Ling & Literature; Semantics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 24.380

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