"Ethnicity in Today's Europe" will commence with a Related Presidential Lecture featuring Partha Chatterjee.
Headlines today blaze with stories about the fate of Europe. There is a sense, both in Europe and around the world, that a sort of "tipping point" has been reached. A recurrent theme is the question of demographics. For instance, how are European social welfare systems going to cope with an aging population? What role will immigrants from outside Europe's borders, both recent and less recent, play in European society? What will be the impact of immigration between the member states of the European Union? What place will Europe's growing population of Muslims have in twenty-first century Europe?
As the ongoing process of unification redraws Europe's borders, as the populations of major European cities become more and more diverse, the question of ethnicity is at the forefront of many of the most important debates on the continent. On the one hand the long history of European national and ethnic identities is at play, as is the legacy of colonialism. On the other, a significant recent upswing in the movement of peoples around the globe has changed the face of Europe, often literally. Movement, of course, from outside Europe's borders into European states. But also, and crucially, movement within the space between Portugal and the Urals. Such movement certainly responds to a number of economic and social needs. At the same time, European conceptions of citizenship, equity, and nationhood often exist in tension with the realities of changing ethnic populations.
The conference "Ethnicity in Today's Europe" at Stanford will address this topic in an interdisciplinary manner. Participants will focus on the question: "What's new about the situation in Europe today?" Bringing together scholars from different disciplines, the conference will provide a historical perspective together with contributions addressing economic, social, cultural, and political issues. Some themes that may be discussed include: how the current situation mirrors or departs from the past; the role of the media in portraying the interaction between different groups; the different perspectives of specific populations within Europe; whether Europe's diversity is best described under the rubric of ethnicity, nationality, race, or some other term; similarities and differences between European nation-states with regard to diversity within their borders. Above all, participants will use their own disciplinary perspective to assess what is at stake in the interaction between peoples in Europe as the twenty-first century gets underway.
"Ethnicity in Today's Europe" is jointly presented by the Forum on Contemporary Europe and the Stanford Humanities Center.