Welcome to the new blog series of the EuroStorie Centre of Excellence in Law, History and the European Narratives: Stories of Europe! This series invites you to dive into the fascinating histories and narratives of a continent and an idea - Europe. In this series, we, Bea Bergholm and Iida Karjalainen, ask the researchers of EuroStorie to present narratives and stories that they think are crucial to our understanding of Europe today.
What Europe and which stories?
Europe can be conceived as questions about its history, space and geography, its institutions, politics and cultures, both separate and shared. When talking about Europe, it is important to be mindful about what we mean, as often – especially in everyday discussions – Europe is paralleled with the European Union, thus leaving out large geographical parts of it.
When we think of Europe, the home to some 747 million people today, we often think of Ancient Greece and Rome and the Age of Enlightenment: democracy and liberalism, universal values of human rights and freedom.
These seemingly solid foundations of the birthplace of “Western civilization” however, are in stark contrast with the wars and genocides of the 20th century and the general problem-focused narratives of recent years: Financial crises, populism, disagreements about migration and human mobility from other parts of the world, and the perceived failing unity of Europe and the European Union.
Where, between these contrasting narratives, is Europe? What kind of stories constitute its foundations? Which narratives, people and phenomena arise in the midst of turbulent times? How does the history of the continent affect its position in the global world? These are just some of the questions this blog series will shed a light on and try to answer – and if not otherwise, by raising more questions.
Picture: Europeana/Unsplash. "The Straw Hat" by Nikos Lytras.
EuroStorie Center of Excellence - what and why?
EuroStorie takes a multidisciplinary approach in intertwining both historical and contemporary aspects to produce high-quality research on Europe. The Center of Excellence is divided into three subprojects with their specific research focuses. Subproject 1, Law and the Uses of the Past, studies the idea of a shared European legal past as a key to future integration. Subproject 2, Discovering the Limits of Reason – Europe and the Crisis of Universalism focuses on European universalism – its values, practices and institutions – and the crisis of this universalism in the aftermath of the World War I.
The third subproject (Migration and the narratives of Europe as an “Area of freedom, security and justice”) aims to bring up the role of exile and refugee experience in constructing European legal, social, religious and cultural narratives.
We wish to make you discover new European historical figures, nod in agreement, make you reflect on past and current political discussions, shake your head in disbelief and most importantly, awaken your curiosity for the different aspects of something that we take for granted.