Imag(in)ing Europe: Full Program

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The concept of Europe remains elusive. In current public debates European culture or European civilization is often characterized by way of an accumulation of heritage, an identifiable or even measurable set of shared values, a common identity, or a core ideal. At the same time, both Europeanness and the idea of a shared civilization are fiercely contested. Since at least the 1990s the notion of European identity has been criticized as being essentialist, exceptionalist, and exclusive; postmodernism has even cast doubt on the ethics of posing such questions in the first place.

Europe is now commonly seen as a transnational entity embedded in global history, its ‘identity’ and ‘values’ as having emerged from within itself as well as from the outside world. Yet it remains unclear how unity relates to diversity, both in theory and practice. How to define Europe while taking into account its linguistic, religious, national and ethnic diversity? How to reconcile the centrifugal realities of, for example, multiculturalism with concepts like (collective) identity and civilization?

Such questions remain topical; they continue to arise from the daily exigencies of contemporary life. And they cannot be addressed without taking account of the past.

This conference focuses on the way Europe has been framed, defined and conceptualised on multiple levels: the local, the regional, the national and the global, and, in particular, on the often asymmetrical interplay between the one and the other. By problematizing and exploring the interrelationship between unity and diversity, and between image and exchange, we hope to obtain better insight into the theory and the history of imag(in)ing ‘Europe’ between 800 and 2000.

The conference is held at ‘Zaalverhuur 7’, an authentic church building dating from the early 1900s. The venue is located at Boothstraat 7, Utrecht, at walking distance from Utrecht Central Station. Attending the conference is free, but please register in advance via Maarten van den Bos (

Full Program

Wednesday, September 14

09.00   Welcome and Registration
09.30   Opening: dr. Jaap Verheul (Utrecht University)
09.45    Keynote: prof. dr. Wolfgang Schmale, (University of Vienna)
10.45    Plenary Session I: Imag(in)ing Europe

  • prof. dr. Peter Rietbergen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • dr. Aline Sierp (Maastricht University)

12.15   Lunch
13.15   Seminar Session I (sessions 1 and 2)
14.15   Coffee
14.45   Seminar Session II (sessions 3 and 4)
16:15   Keynote: Michael Wintle (UvA)
17.15   Drinks
18.15   Conference Dinner (Speakers only).

Thursday, September 15. 

09.30  Welcome with coffee
10.00   Plenary session II: From Europe with Love? Imagining European identities (UHSK)
12.00   Lunch
13.00   Plenary Session III: Europe Between Politics and Culture

  • dr. Edwin van Meerkerk (Radboud Universiteit): Europe Utopia, Europe Dystopia. The Old Continent in Post-Colonial Speculative Fiction.
  • dr. Tessa Hauswedell, dr. Hermione Giffard, dr. Maarten van den Bos (UCL, Utrecht University): European Integration: Nationalism in the Twentieth Century.
  • prof. dr. Laszlo Maracz (University of Amsterdam/L.N. Gumiloyov Eurasian National University, Astana, Kazakhstan): Linguistic Inequalities in the European Union.

14.30   Coffee
15.00   Keynote: prof. dr. Laura Cram (University of Edinburgh)
16.00  Political Lecture: Fiona Hyslop (Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Scotland).
17.00   Drinks and dinner buffet
18.30   How to capture identity in film (at Wolff Cinema)
18.40   Introduction to From Scotland With Love (Virginia Heath)
19.00   Screening of documentary film From Scotland with Love (2014)

Friday, September 16.

09.00   Welcome with coffee
09.30   From Europe with Love: A Short Film (Virginia Heath and Grant Keir)
10.30   Seminar Session IV (Sessions 5, 6 and 7)
12.00   Lunch
13.00   Keynote: prof. dr. Konrad Jarausch (University of North Carolina)
14.00   Plenary discussion and wrap up by prof. dr. Joris van Eijnatten (Utrecht University)
15.00   Farewell

Seminar Sessions:

Session 1:
dr. Christof Paulus (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München): On the Border. Europe and the Byzantines.
dr. Fredrik Dhondt (Free University Brussels/Ghent University): Europe under Construction. The Peace of Utrecht and its Legal Consolidation.

Session 2:
Josip Kesic MA (University of Amsterdam): Contested Europeanness of the South and the East.
Lora Sariaslan MA (University of Amsterdam) Transgressing Borders through Sewing Maps: The Art of Servet Kocyigit

Session 3:

dr. Zsofia Lóránd (European University Institute): Feminist Intellectuals from Yugoslavia and the East-West divide.
dr. Ulrich Tidau (University College London): Max Waechter’s European Unity League, 1913-1924.
dr. Dirk Dalberg (Slovak Academy of Sciences): From dissident dreaming to foreign minister reality. Jiří Dienstbier’s vision of Europe before and after 1989.

Session 4:
dr. Ulrike Schmieder (Leibniz University Hannover): A Heritage not to be proud of. Traces of Slave trade and Atlantic Slavery in European port towns and capitals of former
Empires and the local handling of this uneasy past.
dr. Anda-Lucia Spanu (Romanian Academy, Sibiu Institute): Imagining Europe through Historical Images of Towns from nowadays Romania.
Milou van Hout MA (University of Amsterdam): Cosmopolitanism as identity politics of diversity: imagining new urban diversities in Rijeka, European Capital of Culture.

Session 5:
dr. Lourens Minnema (Free University Amsterdam): East-West Directions in the Perception of Judaism and Jews in European History.
dr. Marjet Brolsma (University of Amsterdam): Europe as an antidote to religious division.
Charlotte Pissors MA (University of Mainz): The Swedish Church and Europe. Between convergence and demarcation.

Session 6:
mr. Attila Marjan (ELTE University, Budapest): The object of desire. Europe seen from Mitteleuropa
dr. Nicolas Pitsos (Centre of European-Eurasian Studies, Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations, Paris): Imag(in)ing Europe during the Eastern Question.

Session 7:
dr. Mirco Carrattieri (Universita de Modena e Reggio Emilia): The Idea of Europe in Italian Historiography from Fascism to Democracy.
dr. Marleen Rensen (University of Amsterdam): Biographies as building blocks for post-war Europe.
dr. Magdalena Latkowska (Warsaw University): Visions of Germany after 1945 and 1989 in the Political Statements of East- and West- German Intellectuals.