Michigan Paper Series 2008 - de Mul

Europe: The Tragic Continent

Description: Lecture given as part of the "Conversations on Europe" lecture series. "Two weeks ago, in his lecture in this series on Europe, Neal Ascherson asked two intriguing questions: 'Where is Europe?', and 'When is Europe'. Intriguing because it turned out that these seemingly simply questions are very hard to answer. Today I want to add a third question, as simple as the other two and as difficult to answer. This question is: What is Europe? In a sense, we may regard this third question as the primordial one, as we can start our search for Europe in time and space only when we at least have a slight idea of what we are actually looking for. So the question I want to address this afternoon is: what is it that makes Europe European? And as the title of my talk already indicates, the answer I will defend today is that Europe first and foremost is a tragic continent."

Publication Date: 2008