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Europeanism or Euroscepticism: European Identity

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Organizer: Nurettin Ucar

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Europeanism or Euroscepticism: European Identity 

In 2003, Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida published an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Libération, which enunciated several European values that would form a strong European identity and guarantee a European rebirth. However, this attempt to save Europe, although it emphasized Europe’s collective differences from the United States, was seen by many as a Franco-German core movement or even a German-centered manifesto that excluded Eastern Europe as well as Great Britain.

Despite the hopeful suggestions included in the article to save Europe from falling apart, there has been a substantial increase in the political, social, and economic scepticism about the authenticity of a European identity and the future of the European Union. In addition to the decline in the support of its own citizens for a stronger Europe, populist political parties have produced discourse against a shared European identity and persistently attacked the fundamental principles of the EU. 

This seminar seeks to discuss the authenticity of European identity in political, sociocultural, economic, religious, and literary aspects. The survival instinct shown by Habermas and Derrida insists on the distinction between “the legacy we appropriate and the one we want to refuse.” Their selective proposal fails to satisfy everyone, because, just to name a few, United Kingdom has been trying to find ways to withdraw from the EU, far-right politicians still advocate extreme nationalism, and migrants and refugees have been presented as a threat to European Christianity. Europeans do not seem to recognize themselves within a set of shared values and a common culture. What is Europe and who is European, then?

Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

Nationalism, National Identities and European Collective Identity

Sovereignty, European Border Policies and Nation States

Xenophobia and Immigration

Europe vs. America / Europe and America

Secularism and Religion; Christianity, Islam, and Judaism

Inclusion and Exclusion

Literary and Filmic Representations of Europe and European Identity

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