Europe in Crises: Integration under International and Internal Threat

Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status

Undergraduate Program Status

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Course Description: 

“Europe will be forged in crises” – predicted one of the ‘founding fathers’ of European integration, Jean Monnet. He was most certainly right about the latter: crises aplenty. In the past few years, the European Union has found itself facing Russia, China, and even the United States under President Trump; none of them are particularly friendly. The chilling of the external environment came at a conjuncture of internal crises: Brexit, anti-EU, nationalist movements and governments in member states, the declining faith of pro-EU elites in the idea of an ‘ever closer union’, and the conflict of creditor and debtor countries in the Eurozone and between the core and periphery. The former President of the European Council called these: unprecedented geopolitical and existential threats to the very survival of the EU. While politicians can disappear overnight, seemingly changing the landscape, the fundamentals of these crises remain.

The course engages with these ‘four crises’ of Europe: external, economic, internal, and ideational, and with the scholarly controversies about how to interpret them. In the final part, the course will look at whether these crises lead to further integration as Monnet predicted, and will consider recent proposals about how to reshape the EU, and what these possible responses may mean for the global order. The course is designed as a mix of interactive lectures and seminar discussions based on the required readings; it will engage with a wide variety of IR, IPE, and regionalism concepts and will also make use of contemporary sources (articles, speeches, etc.) to link scholarly approaches to interpreting current affairs, empirics to theory. The course normally includes a field trip to a border region (covid situation permitting) to experience first hand how the various concepts and policies on overlapping layers of integration function in real life and how they 'create integration', and to observe the current limits of this process, linked to our classroom discussions and readings.

Learning Outcomes: 

Through engagement with current issues and related scholarly debates students will gain a better understanding of the diverse approaches to the study of the European Union, as well as the complexity of processes shaping Europe today. By the end of the course students will be able to:

1)    develop a critical understanding of the crises that challenge the EU and post-war structures in Europe

2)    identify and critically assess different approaches to the study of European integration

3)    situate European political and economic developments in a global context as well as draw lessons for the future

4)    apply diverse regionalism concepts to assess other regional integration schemes in the world.

  1. Attendance and active participation(!) in class discussions based on the readings (15 % of final grade). Attendance rules of the department apply. (No electronic devices may be used in class.)
  2. One 1500-word (excluding footnotes and bibliography) short paper (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-points). (20% of final grade). The paper should follow the structure, format, and style of standard academic papers. Students are to select a topic from those discussed in class; the required readings should only serve as a starting point, additional and relevant literature should be used to identify and map out an academic debate in the literature, and/or raise a puzzling question, and/or elaborate and critically comment on an interesting aspect. (Further details are to be discussed in class). The paper should go beyond a simple summary; the literature used should be critically assessed and used to make an argument/or lead to a potential research question. Submission deadline: Friday, 22 October, 23:59 CET. Submit via Moodle in *.doc format (file name: yourname.doc). Late submission will result in downgrading. Consulting with the Centre for Academic Writing is strongly advised.
  3. One 12-minute long,in-class presentation (20% of final grade), which should focus on the topic for the day but it should not simply give a summary of the required readings. Rather, the presentation should bring in up-to-date elements that relate to the topic from trusted news sources (photos, videos, etc.), and only use the required readings to support an argument, and/or to raise a puzzling question, or critically comment on an interesting aspect. Sign up on the sign-up sheet after the first class.  
  4. One3500-4000-word long (excluding footnotes and bibliography, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-points) research paper (45% of final grade). Topics are to be discussed with the instructor but in general, should relate to any of the topics covered in this course. Submission deadline: Wednesday, 22 December, 23:59 CET. Submit via Moodle. Late submission will result in downgrading. Consulting with the Centre for Academic Writing is strongly advised. (Please beware that CAW is only available on weekdays.)