West European Studies at UC Berkeley (UCB) is distinguished by its internationally renowned faculty, its outstanding language program, and its top-ranked library collection. European Studies is represented by more than 900 core and related courses in 38 disciplines and seven professional schools. The expertise of more than 300 core and affiliated faculty allows UCB to commit fully to interdisciplinary and comparative research and teaching.
The Institute of European Studies (IES) unifies the staff, resources, and programs of the Center for German and European Studies, which serves all nine UC campuses, and UCB's Center for Western European Studies, which houses the current National Resource Center (NRC), and Programs for British Studies, Finnish Studies, French Studies, Italian Studies, Portuguese Studies, and Spanish Studies.
European studies (ES) now faces critical challenges. As the cold war ended, academia turned its sights away from Europe and increasingly focused on globalization. UCB fought against this tide, continuing to nurture ES. 9/11 was a dramatic lesson in the importance and urgency of understanding a particular region's cultures, interests, languages - indeed, its identities, but regions other than Europe became the focus of attention. Nonetheless, Europe, as it struggles with problems of immigration, social integration, economic stagnation, and political crises in the EU, is undergoing transformations that will shape a new era in transatlantic relations and create new challenges for U.S. foreign policy. Consequently, ES is and should be re-invigorated, and IES has taken a leading role in that effort.
Not only has UCB maintained its commitment to ES, but IES will integrate ES under the theme of "Europe's Evolving Identities: The Transformation of Politics, Economics, Culture, and International Relations." The post-WWII generation of U.S. Europeanists took Europe's Western identity for granted: it was a land mass stretching from the Atlantic to the Soviet and Turkish borders, a collection of democracies (or aspiring democracies), organized around Judeo-Christian and communitarian values. Its social market economy tempered the chill winds of competition with strong social safety nets. European elites identified with the transatlantic alliance and with their own integration project, while skeptical publics clung to local identities. Now global market forces, social mobility, immigration conspire to destroy inherited identities, and ES can no longer be taught the way it once was. Now home to 20 million Muslims, Europe faces once settled questions of religious identity. European governments rush to shed the shackles of the welfare state, and the social market threatens to crumble under competition from the United States, China, and India. Formerly indifferent publics now decry the EU's democratic deficit and vigorously debate the shape and meaning of their own democratic institutions. Ironically, as the EU attempts to be an international actor in its own right, the split between "New" and "Old" Europe undermines a common foreign and defense identity. Ignoring national boundaries, threats like terrorist networks and infectious diseases, lead Europeans to run for supranational protection, while the resurgence of regional languages suggests that many seek solace in sub-national identities.
The proposed NRC will mobilize the UCB's singular research and teaching resources to examine this identity shift and train a new generation of instructors in innovative ways of seeing and teaching Europe. IES will hold workshops, colloquia, symposia, public and teacher conferences, and lectures on the various facets of this theme, generating both scholarly publications and teacher training materials over the course of the grant period. With this outreach strategy, IES will lend structure, focus, and coherence to UCB's rich array of ES resources, and deploy them in a manner that speaks to the concerns of the post-9/11 world.
The impact of IES on outreach on ES will be two-fold. First, IES will organize its own direct outreach and teacher training activities. Second, IES will serve as a catalyst to unlock synergies among UCB's various departments and research units. This dual outreach plan will ensure that the NRC delivers real added value to the campus' many and diverse ES resources. These outcomes will be measurable and cost-effective.