Conference looks at the conflicts and contradictions of Europe

Contesting Europe, an interdisciplinary conference happening this week, will examine the conflicts and contradictions of Europe. What does it mean to be European in a changing Europe? What is the legacy of European imperialism?

The conference, organized in collaboration with The Canadian Centre for German and European Studies (CCGES) at York, will take place Thursday, March 5 at 280 York Lanes, and Friday, March 6 at the Founders Senior Common Room, 305 Founders College, both on York’s Keele campus.

Historically, as well as at the current moment, Europe has been mystified and contested. The question of contestation and its relationship to advancing a praxis of human liberation and solidarity is the central question of this conference.

Politics and public administration Professor Sedef Arat-Koç of Ryerson University will deliver the first keynote address, "Contesting or Affirming ‘Europe’? Post-Cold War Politics, Aspirations for Europeanness and New Identities in the Margins of Europe", on March 5 at 1pm. Arat-Koç’s research interests include immigration policy and citizenship, especially as they affect immigrant women; transnational feminism; politics of imperialism; racialization and the politics of racism; and the reconfiguration of social and political identities under neo-liberal globalization. She is the co-author of Maid in the Market: Women’s Paid Domestic Labour.

The second keynote, "Turkey and Postnational Europe: Challenges for European Identity", will be delivered by politics Professor Feyzi Baban of Trent University  on March 6 at 3:30pm. He specializes in global and comparative politics with an emphasis on globalization theory and critical theories of international relations. Feyzi’s areas of expertise are the Middle East and the European Union. He is currently working on a research project investigating the impact of Turkey’s membership on how European identity is defined, and the implications of this for the EU project.

There will be sessions throughout both days of the conference. Many of the presenters are students, several from abroad, including from Italy and Germany.

Some of the topics they’ll address include how the processes and dynamics of class, racialization, gendering and religion have materialized and been contested in lived experiences; what the linkages between the consolidation of the new Europe and the neo-liberal paradigm are; to what extent and in which ways research on Europe has reproduced, deconstructed or challenged hegemonic views; and whether comparative references to Europe can foster progressive politics outside of Europe. 

For more information, visit the Contesting Europe Web site.