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Symposia & Workshops

The Center for European Studies occasionally hosts symposia and workshops on topics related to Europe. See below for future and past events. 

National Languages in the Globalized University

March 16, 2015

The study of foreign languages in American universities is undergoing radical change. American university students are turning away from European national languages to embrace the global languages which they believe provide distinct advantages in a rapidly changing economy. At the same time, scholarship emphasizes languages in context—as part of the living fabric of human societies and cultures. This symposium brings together scholars of the major Western European languages—Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese—to discuss and debate the shifting position of national languages as an intellectual problem and the implications that these changes have had and will continue to have in American university classrooms.

Co-sponsors: Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Institute for the Humanities, International Institute


9:30-9:40 | Welcome and Introduction

Karla MalletteCES Director and professor of Italian and Middle East Studies, U-M

9:40-11:00 | Session I: What Happens to National Languages in the Global Age?

Nasrin Qader, associate professor of French, Northwestern University
Alejandro Herrero-Olaizola
, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Spanish and associate chair, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, U-M
William Paulson
Edward Lorraine Walter Collegiate Professor French, U-M

11:30-1:00 | Session II: How Should We Recognize Intersections between Languages in the National Language Paradigm?

José del Valle, professor of Hispanic linguistics, The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY)
Karla MalletteCES Director and professor of Italian and Middle East Studies, U-M
Gizem Arslan, visiting assistant professor of German, U-M

2:30-4:00 | Session III: What is the Future of the Languages of “Old Europe”?

William Rasch, professor of Germanic studies and chair, Department of International Studies, Indiana University
Nicoletta Pireddu, associate professor of Italian, Georgetown University
Marya Green-Mercado
, assistant professor of Mediterranean studies, U-M
Michèle Hannoosh
, professor of French, U-M

4:00-4:30 | Closing discussion/remarks


Riot at a Railway Station: Space, Race, and the Politics of Infrastructure in France

February 23, 2015

Julie Kleinman, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities and visiting assistant professor of French at Oberlin College, leads this workshop on seeing and imagining public space in France. At the height of the French presidential election season in 2007, Paris’s Gare du Nord railway station erupted in what newspapers called a “riot” after the violent arrest of a Congolese man provoked confrontations between youth and police. The event staged the convergence of official and unofficial attempts to define and regulate spaces and subjects in Parisian public space.

Crusade, Jihad, and the Multi-sectarian State

November 17, 2014

A symposium on the history, present state and future of religious violence in the Christian and Muslim context. It will focus on one dimension in particular of crusade and jihad: the tendency for struggles inspired by religious belief to evolve over time into a form of pietistic practice. Topics to be discussed will include religious motivations for surveillance, territorial expansion and military aggression; multi-sectarian states as vectors of instability as well as engines of cultural generation; and conversion and mobility as human rights and as legislative and policing issues.

Co-sponsors: Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Islamic Studies Program, Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies


9:20-9:30 | Welcome and Introduction

Karla Mallette, Professor of Italian and Middle East Studies and Director, Center for European Studies, University of Michigan

9:30-11:00 | Session I

Asma Afsaruddin, Professor of Islamic Studies and Chairperson, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University
Juridical Re-interpretations of Qur’anic Jihad: An Exercise in Realpolitik

Respondent: Gottfried Hagen, Professor of Turkish Studies and Interim Chair, Department of Middle East Studies, University of Michigan

11:30-1:00 | Session II

Christopher MacEvitt, Associate Professor of Religion, Dartmouth College
Putting “Crusader” Back in the Crusader States: The Kingdom of Jerusalem in Fourteenth-Century Crusade Proposals and Pilgrimage Accounts

Respondent: Ryan Szpiech, Associate Professor of Spanish and Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

2:30-4:00 | Session III

Stuart A. Wright, Professor of Sociology and Chair, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice, Lamar University
State Repression and the New Religious Pluralism

Respondent: Fatma Müge Göçek, Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

4:00-4:30 | Closing discussion

Toward a Comparative History of the Modern Mediterranean

Professor Edmund (“Terry”) Burke III, professor emeritus and research professor of history and the University of California, Santa Cruz, leads this workshop, which aims to address a gap in the scholarship in order to reconsider the “Mediterranean” as a possible unit of analysis for the modern period. What is Mediterranean modernity? What does it mean to be modern? Are we modern yet? Or is modernity a disruption of the Mediterranean framework? These are just a few of the questions that will form the basis of our conversation in this workshop.professor of history and the University of California, Santa Cruz

Co-sponsors: Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Islamic Studies Program, Mediterranean Topographies Interdisciplinary Workshop