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Shades of Blue: Claiming Europe in the Age of Disintegration
With the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, war returned to the consciousness of Europeans. History has forcefully returned to guide political arguments, such as the call for more weapons to Ukraine, but also the demand for efforts to negotiate with Russia. The presence and proliferation of historical references testify to a feeling of profound uncertainty as Europe experiences decisive changes with an altogether unclear outcome.
Since the turn of the century, and the accession of Central and Eastern European countries, the political project of ‘Europe’ has increasingly become a matter of dispute. Its future trajectory remains open. In light of the current political crises and institutional stagnation, some observers have started to predict the EU’s demise while others continue to plead for a revival of the ‘European dream’. But what about the spaces in between these two extremes?

Based on our book project, this talk identifies the many competing conceptions of ‘Europe’ in European public discourse and relates these meanings to national, regional, and ideological divisions. Our exploration of the narratives of shared memory and public history provides new insights into how ordinary citizens gradually developed a European sense of belonging. Beyond the binaries of hope and despair, there is a more nuanced picture to be painted: a picture of different shades of blue.

Reassessing the politicization of European integration, Shades of Blue looks at crucial debates on Europe’s past and their implications for Europe’s future. Exploring the foundations, boundaries, and crises of the political integration project reveals the dynamics at play in the imaginary of Europe’s past. While a strong sense of European identity continues to jostle with those who champion and reject the political project of Europe, Europe’s integration and disintegration might take place simultaneously in the future.

Jan 24, 2023 11:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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