LUICD Graduate Conference 2011
Leiden University Institute for Cultural Disciplines 27 and 28 January 2011
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Professor Edith Hall, Royal Holloway, University of London
Professor Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
‘Qui parle Europe a tort. Notion géographique’. Otto von Bismarck’s
elliptic remark, scribbled in the margin of a letter from Alexander
Gorchakov in 1876, would go on to become one of the most often-quoted
statements about Europe. But was Bismarck right? Is Europe nothing but
a geographical notion? Even the briefest glance at history shows that
more often than not perceptions and definitions of Europe go beyond
the mere geographical demarcation of a continent. In 1919, for
instance, Paul Valéry imagined Europe as a living creature, with ‘a
consciousness acquired through centuries of bearable calamities, by
thousands of men of the first rank, from innumerable geographical,
ethnic and historical coincidences’. Of course this is only one of a
multitude of different representations. Europe has always signified
different things to different people in different places – inside
Europe as well as outside. Europe meant, for instance, something
different to Voltaire, l’aubergiste d’Europe, at Ferney in the 1760s
than to Athanasius Kircher in Rome a century earlier or to Barack
Obama in Washington today.
This conference explores the different ways in which Europe has been
imagined and represented, from inside as well as outside Europe and
from classical antiquity to the present day. This wide scope reflects
the historical range of the LUICD’s three research programmes
(Classics and Classical Civilization, Medieval and Early Modern
Studies and Modern and Contemporary Studies) as well as the
intercontinental focus of many of the institute’s research projects.
The conference aims to present a diachronic perspective of some of the
many images of Europe, with particular attention to the historical,
cultural and economic contexts in which these images were created and
the media and genres in which they have been presented.
Although the emphasis of the conference lies on different and changing
perspectives, perceptions and representations, it also wants to
explore the notion of similarity – are there any aspects that keep
recurring in the different visions, aspects that might even be said to
be intrinsically European?
The conference aims to provide a platform for graduate students in the
humanities, from Leiden as well as other universities in the
Netherlands and abroad, to present and exchange their ideas in an
international and interdisciplinary environment. The organising
committee is honoured that Professor Jonathan Israel and Professor
Edith Hall have accepted our invitation to act as keynote speakers and
participate in discussions during the conference.
The LUICD Graduate Conference aims to reflect the institute’s
interdisciplinary and international character and as such welcomes
proposals from graduate students from all disciplines within the
humanities, from universities from the Netherlands as well as abroad.
The conference wants to present a variety of different perspectives on
Europe (from within as well as outside the European continent) and
those working in fields related to other continents are particularly
encouraged to submit a proposal.
Subjects may include historical events, processes and discourses,
textual and/or visual representations, literary or art canons,
colonial and post-colonial relations, philosophical developments and
political issues. Questions that could be raised include: how did (and
do) oppositions such as barbarism versus civilization, Christianity
versus paganism or old versus new worlds relate to the
conceptualization of Europe? What role does (perceived) cultural
superiority play in these oppositions? What ideas might be regarded as
predecessors of or alternatives to the concept of Europe? In what ways
did (and do) forms of universalism and regionalism compete with
identity formation on a continental level? How have individual artists
represented Europe? How do different (literary) genres, such as travel
literature, historiography or letters, construct a particular image of
Europe or Europe’s relations with other cultures? Is it possible for
art collections to imagine Europe or to question existing perceptions
of Europe? How do migrant literature and cinema reflect the changing
identity of Europe today?
Please send your proposal (max. 300 words) for a 20-minute paper to
[email protected] . The deadline for the proposals is 1
November 2010 – you will be notified whether or not your proposal has
been selected before 15 November 2010.
After the conference, the proceedings will be published either on-line
or in book form. More information on this will follow in due course.
A conference website ( http://hum.leiden.edu/icd/imagining-europe ),
with more information about the programme, speakers, accommodation and
other conference matters, will be launched later this autumn, but if
you have any questions regarding the conference and/or the proposal,
please do not hesitate to contact us at the above e-mail address.
The organizing committee:
Drs. Thera Giezen
Drs. Jacqueline Hylkema
Drs. Coen Maas
p/a Opleiding GLTC, Fac. Geesteswetenschappen
2300 RA Leiden
Email: [email protected]
Visit the website at http://hum.leiden.edu/icd/imagining-europe