International Summer School
Erasmus Intensive Programme


Theme 2012:
Borders Of Europe: The Old and New Europe

Hosting institution:
Masaryk University, Brno

Local Organizing Committee

Academic Director:
Katerina Uhlirova


Project Coordinator:
Eva Koleckova




The Timetable for the School will be available in Spring 2012.


The theme of the School in 2012 is The Old and New Europe. It will be developed within the framework of six clusters as well as a programme of special lectures, study visits and panel discussions. The School will include speakers who knew and worked with Vaclav Havel (for more on his life click here).



Introductory Lecture: Opening of the Summer School

Koen De Feyter (University of Antwerp)


What is Europe? The idea of Europe (History Cluster)

Jan Ifversen and Christoffer Kolvraa (Aarhus University)

More than 2,500 years ago, the Greeks coined the word Europe to describe a continent next to their own lands. According to one theory, Europe was derived from an old Semitic word meaning to set or to go down. Europe was thus the land of the West where the sun sets. It would take many centuries before peoples on the European continent would see themselves as Europeans. Even when it became common to use the term for oneself it had to compete with other markers of identification. Europe was never one. In the dominant centres of Enlightenment Europe, going to the East or the North meant engaging with lesser civilised peoples. Oriental Europe or Northern Europe was considered at the margins of the true civilised Europe. The French 19th century historian and politician François Guizot could write a history of Europe as a history of civilization. Europe had been the old world since the discovery of a new world following Columbus first voyage in 1492. But it was only with the great waves of immigration from the old world in the latter half of the 19th century that the new world primarily symbolised by the United States became the land of progress and innovation. The feeling of crisis and fatigue was only becoming more preponderant in Europe after the disastrous consequences of world wars. When former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2003 castigated France and Germany for being old Europe and venerated the new Europe of the East and the Baltic, he not only revived an old dividing line, but he also changed side. The former Eastern Europe of the cold war divide had become central. With the big bang in 2004, where the EU welcomed eight countries from the former Eastern Europe, with the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and with the foreseen inclusion of Croatia, Eastern Europe seems to have ceased to exist. Is this then the end of a divided Europe? In this history cluster we will take a closer look at the different ways in which European peoples have positioned themselves and others in Europe. We will investigate the concepts and the practices of dividing Europe in the past and discuss how they possibly impact on present Europe.


Recurrent nationalism (Sociology Cluster)

Gerrit Bartus Dielissen (University of Utrecht)

Until the fall of the Berlin Wall most social scientists considered nationalism as a phenomenon of the 19th century, not as something that would shape present and future relations in and between nation states. Nevertheless, a number of factors that appear in the 1990’s make clear that tensions arising from ethnocultural diversity within nation states are not solved automatically in the process of socioeconomic and political modernization. Flourishing Western democracies are confronted with nativist backlashes against immigrants and refugees; some even experience an ongoing threat of succession of which examples can be found from Quebec to Scotland and from Flanders to Catalonia. Newly born nation-states in Central and Eastern Europe are wrestling with national minorities within the newly drawn borders. Populist political movements are on the rise all over Europe and capitalize successfully popular discontent equally towards s ones own political establishment as towards supranational entities such as the EU and its institutions. How to respond to these contemporary challenges of recurrent nationalism? How to match perceptions of group threat  between majorities and minorities within existing nation states and how to keep the European project alive and moving forwards in times of major economic setbacks? These are the issues addressed in the lectures and workshops in the sociology cluster. 



The Role of Law in the Old and New Europe (Law Cluster)

Rory O’Connell (Queen’s University Belfast)

This cluster will examine the role of law in European developments since 1989. Among the issues which may be addressed is the process of consolidation of the rule of law and democracy in the New Europe, and the roles played by national legal actors and international and supranational legal actors in this consolidation; the role of the European Court of Human Rights, including whether it applies the same standards to Old and New Europe; how have legal institutions coped with the challenges of minority groups in the New Europe; whether the discourse of European human rights law is imperialistic; how Eastern European countries have adapted to the EU legal order and the impact on European legal institutions of expansion to the East.




Migration from “new” to “old” Europe (Anthropology Cluster)

Bruno Riccio and Federica Tarabusi (University of Bologna)

The end of the bi-polar world and the collapse of communist regimes opened a new phase in European migration patterns. From a gender perspective, women became increasingly important social actors of migration processes. In contrast with the common assumption of women as dependent of male migration, they started to play a leading role in shaping migrant settings within “the old Europe”. At the same time, broader transformations in the labour markets and neo-liberal economies - at global, national, local level - have been affecting migration flows and trajectories. For instance, the progressive erosion of welfare state in countries like Italy and the increasing private demand of care and domestic workers led to many Eastern European migrant women’s insertion in national/local labour market as new providers of services. The cluster will aim to discuss how such complex connections between gendered migration, national/local economies, social and working condition within the receiving countries affect migrant women’s transnational identities and everyday lives. 


Becoming European (Political Theory Cluster)

Jernej Pikalo (University of Ljubljana)

In May 2004 ten Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries joined the European Union (EU). The event marked the end of the so-called ‘transition’ period. It represented a culmination of efforts of various sections of the societies of the previous 15 years and paved the way to what was hoped to be a novel, different approach to politics. Big words were said at the occasion and a sense that many of the newly joined members are about to write a new chapter of their history was in the air. Since then, societies of CEE countries have undergone wide and profound changes. Far from being the only wide and profound changes of the last century, there was a prevailing feeling in 2004 that for this and at least several future generations this was the process and the event of their political lives.

This cluster aims at presenting political processes of ‘becoming European’. It focuses on Slovenian (and comparatively some other CEE countries) political life in the EU. It researches comparative political cultures and landscapes. It surveys patterns of political behaviour that had come in to existence well before entering the EU and their impact on understanding ‘Europe’ and ‘being’ European.



From the Prague Spring to the Velvet Revolution to the Europe Again: Czech Post-Communist Transformation Experience (Czech Cluster)

Katerina Uhlirova (Masaryk University) 

More than twenty years ago, Central and Eastern European (CEE) states symbolically returned to the map of Europe. The Revolutions of 1989 set in motion a hard and still ongoing process of political, legal, social and economical transition in CEE states. CEE states (“New Europe”) share similar historical and cultural experience, which is at the same time different from “Old Europe”. This difference between Old and New Europe still affects and shapes countries’ attitudes in various areas, for example the role of NATO or relationship with Russia. This cluster will be focused on, but would not be limited to, the experience of the Czech Republic when dealing with its communist past and post-communist future. The cluster will attempt to identify what have we learned in last twenty years since the collapse of communism in CEE states; what can CEE states offer to Europe and whether the post-communist experience transcends beyond Europe and can inspire other countries in transition period, even if remote and culturally distinct ones.

Among the issues to be discussed is the Prague Spring of 1968 (the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968); the role of dissident community and publication of the Charter 77, which criticized the government for failing to implement human rights provisions of the 1960 Constitution and number of international treaties and documents; Charter 77 as an inspiration for the Chinese Charter 08 and the Belarus Charter 97; Velvet Revolution of 1989 and dealing with communist past (Rule of Fear v. Rule of Law); challenges on the way to a democratic society (achieving justice for past abuses?); Czech Republic’s integration into the European Union.