The research domain ‘Europe’ conceives of Europe not simply in geographical-territorial terms and material presences, but rather as also a series of immaterial and imagined spaces, and ideas and models for re-making the world.
We draw attention, for instance, to what are putatively ‘European’ concepts and models, such as democracy, citizenship, and the public sphere, and attempt to de-couple these from the Eurocentric categories of colonialism, orientalism, and nationalism, thinking critically about how such ideal models have both been indelibly shaped by Europe’s worldly encounters, but also fundamentally transformed in their transfer and dialogue.
Such European encounters are explored both through the perspectives of literature, art, and intellectual and social history, but also through that of material cultures and the making of a wider ‘European heritage’. The European ‘dialogue’ with the wider world is not only explored in a historical perspective, however. Research projects in this domain also engage with the contemporary period examining, for example, the role of today’s migrant and diasporic communities in acting as a crucial bridge between Europe and the wider world, and in the making of new European spaces and identities.
One of the sites through which we explore the figuration and reconfiguration of European identities and ideas are cities: both as microcosms of the ‘European condition’, but also as key nodes and laboratories for the enactment of European concepts and categories. The urban forms an important locus, indeed, for examining changing notions of citizenship and the public sphere, as well as for the negotiation of new identities and politics.
Research in this domain is organized around 5 broad thematic foci: