The Emergence of Europe – a Modern and Historical Perspective

Opening Seminar for Centre of Modern European Studies (CEMES), Faculty of Humanities,

Copenhagen University 5 December 2008

Time: 14.15-18.00
Avenue: H06, Main building, Vor Frue Plads 

The construction of a unified, modern Europe is at the same time a pragmatic, economic and political project created after decades of violent European history and the result of a much longer historical development in which ideas and visions of a European identity and culture have developed and influenced art, literature, religion, media, philosophy and political thinking. Although, Europe has probably never been more unified, prosperous and peaceful, we suffer from a number of tensions inherent in these two intertwined historical trajectories. Among these is the lack of legitimacy of the European institutions, their democratic deficit and the problems related to the creation of a public sphere. Tensions between processes of Europeanization and the continued political importance of national identities are also unresolved. To these could be added the difficulty of reforming public policies at the European level. While arguably reflecting similar difficulties in many European countries, the lack of reform is not conducive to future economic growth. In compilation, these problems do not bode well for a Europe confronted with important demographic, economic, environmental and security challenges.

In this seminar we shall take a fresh look at contemporary Europe from two perspectives. American historian of the Twentieth Century Europe, Charles S. Maier, will give a lecture on the historical development of a more unified Europe in the latter half of the Twentieth Century, and German social scientist, Hans Jörg Trenz, will give a talk on the development of a European public sphere. Finally an interdisciplinary panel will discuss the perspectives of the two lectures.


Introduction: Centre Director, Ib Bondebjerg.

Lecture 1: Professor Charles S. Maier (Harvard University), Inventing Europe: Creation Myth and Contested Maps

Lecture 2: Professor Hans Jörg Trenz (ARENA), Uniting and Dividing: The European Public Sphere as an Unfinished Project

Panel discussion: Professor Catharina Raudvere, Professor Henning Koch, Professor Morten Kelstrup, Professor Ulf Hedetoft


About CEMES:
CEMES will actively work to coordinate and develop research and teaching in European studies based on interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers at the Faculty of Humanities from the following sections and departments: Film and Media Studies, Philosophy and Rhetoric, History of Religions, History, European Ethnology, Literature, Modern Cultural Studies and European Language Studies. Aiming to overcome the tendency towards disciplinary fragmentation within the humanities as well as between the humanities and the social sciences, the centre will serve as focal point for the establishment of national and international networks with other centres for European studies and with prominent researchers.