Europe's Past, Present, and Future: Utopias and Dystopias
University of Iceland | Reykjavik, Iceland
June 22-24, 2020
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Council for European Studies, we reflect on the various ways in which Europe as a place, an idea, a people, an Empire, a utopia, and a dystopia has manifested itself.
Iceland marks the ideal spot for this reflection, given its centrality to trans-Atlantic space, a core concept to the founders of CES. Iceland also represents the utopia of the European social model, and, at the same time, it was at the dystopian heart of the financial crisis. Finally, Iceland sits precariously at the juncture of tectonic plates, perhaps a geological metaphor for ongoing shifts, slides, clashes, and ruptures in the deep structure of Europe.
The year 2020 marks the moment for this reflection, given recent and ongoing changes in the boundaries of European citizenship, the fragile institutional arrangements of the European social model, the postcolonial analysis of Europe in the world, the population dynamics that define who is European, Europe’s changing relationships with other regions and parts of world society, including the Global South, and the configuration of global hegemony. Having supported fifty years of research, CES is poised to advance these debates in various ways through cross-disciplinary global scholarship that deals with Europe in a comparative perspective.