Vivien Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Director of the Center for the Study of Europe, was recently awarded a prize for best paper published in BJPIR (the British Journal of Politics and International Relations) 2013, for a paper entitled, “Speaking to the Markets or to the People? A Discursive Institutionalist Analysis of the EU’s Sovereign Debt Crisis.” The prize was announced at the Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, at the conference dinner on the evening of March 31st, 2015 in Sheffield, UK.
The paper argues that the EU’s sovereign debt crisis is not just economic; it is also political, resulting from the failure of EU leaders to offer solutions that calm the markets and convince the people. These failures stem from problems with EU leaders’ ideas about how to solve the crisis as well as their communication about them. That communication encompasses not just EU leaders talking to one another in negotiations of crisis solutions but also speaking to “the markets’ and to ‘the people’ about those solutions, all of which may interact in perverse ways. Schmidt uses the analytic framework of “discursive institutionalism” to consider the different forms, types, levels, rates and mechanisms of change in ideas followed by the EU leaders’ discursive interactions in the “coordinative” discourse and their “communicative discourse” to the global markets and European publics. She employs a range of country cases, but in particular Germany and France, by way of illustration.
Critically acclaimed Portuguese author Gonçalo M. Tavares to tour US and Canada in late April early May 2015
Invited by the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) and the Saab-Pedroso Center for Portuguese Culture and Research at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Gonçalo M. Tavares (born in Luanda, Angola, 1970), one of the leading writers of contemporary Portuguese literature and the most translated after José Saramago and António Lobo Antunes, will give a series of lectures in the US and Canada in late April and early May 2015. On April 29 he will be at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Europe; on April 30 he will give a talk at UMass Lowell’s Saab-Pedroso Center for Portuguese Culture and the Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities, on May 1 he will speak at Rochester University’s Open Letter Books. His visit will conclude with a keynote address on May 2 at the Annual Conference of the Northeast Modern Language Association. Among Tavares’s most celebrated novels are Jerusalem, Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique, and A Man: Klaus Klump. He has been published in over 35 countries, including in the US by Dalkey Archive Press and Texas Tech University Press.
Tavares, who teaches philosophy at the University of Lisbon, has been awarded a series of prestigious national and international prizes, including the 2005 José Saramago Prize and the 2010 Prize for Best Foreign Book (France), and was on the long list for the Best Translated Book Award in Fiction for 2013. According to the New Yorker, Tavares “has a gift—like Flann O’Brien or Kafka or Beckett—for revealing the ways in which logic can be as faithful a servant of madness as of reason…. His books may be bleak and unnerving, but they are, for this reason, exhilarating in the way that only the work of a powerfully original artist can be.” Saramago, the Nobel Laureate for 2008, intoned that “Tavares burst onto the Portuguese literary scene armed with an utterly original imagination that broke through all the traditional imaginative boundaries. I’ve predicted that in thirty years’ time, if not before, he will win the Nobel Prize.” For The Independent, Tavares’s works of fiction are “daring, thought-provoking and brilliant.”
For more information, contact Maria Matz, Spanish and Portuguese Coordinator for NeMLA, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Frank F. Sousa, director, Saab-Pedroso Center for Portuguese Culture and Research, at email@example.com.
In an essay published in BU Today this morning, William Keylor, Professor of International Relations and History and a member of our board, explains the origins of the conflict in Ukraine:
A European Union policy last year is at the root of the Ukrainian conflict that saw last Friday’s horrific downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane (by pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists, according to the United States). The Union offered Ukraine an “association agreement” designed to tighten the political and economic links between the two parties. When the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown last February after rejecting the agreement in favor of closer relations with Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin forcibly annexed the predominantly Russian-speaking Crimean Peninsula. He also provided military and economic assistance to the Russian-speaking population of Eastern Ukraine, whose leaders launched an armed insurrection against the government in Kiev.
In the course of that war of secession in the past several months, one voice has been conspicuously muted amid the global debate about how to resolve this crisis: that of the European Union.
Read the rest of Keylor’s article at BU Today>>
Center Director Vivien Schmidt was recently awarded a research fellowship by the European Commission, Directorate General of Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN). The award involves producing a paper entitled “The Political Economy of the European Monetary Union: Rebuilding Trust and Support for Economic Integration.”
In addition to writing a long research paper for publication in DG ECFIN’s paper series, Schmidt will participate in three workshops over the course of a year (June 2014-June 2015), plus be available for 30 hours of consultations. The fellowship program was established in view of the seating of the newly European Parliament and the newly appointed Commission President and Commissioner head of DG ECFIN. The role of the fellows is advise the new Commissioner on current and future policy. For her part, Schmidt will be considering not just how to rebuild trust and support for economic integration but the problems with the current policies that make rebuilding trust very difficult.
In her research, Schmidt will be examining not just problems with the economic policy performance (often termed output legitimacy in EU studies ) and the increasingly volatile politics resulting from citizens’ view of the EU as unresponsive to their concerns (input legitimacy) but also the quality of the governance processes (which she terms ‘throughput’ legitimacy). She will be interviewing EU officials to get a fuller sense of the political dynamics of crisis resolution, as EU institutional actors have sought to get beyond the rigidities of the initial crisis response to economic governance that established a set of numbers-targeting rules focused on austerity and structural reform that have not worked. Finally, she will be considering how EU officials in different EU institutions may go about informally reinterpreting such rules as well as how they legitimate any such reinterpretations.
Sofia Perez, Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston University and a member of the Center for the Study of Europe’s Executive Board, contributed an article last week to the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. This blog is generally considered the leading source of bringing political science analysis to a wider audience. Perez discusses the sudden rise of Spain’s anti-austerity “Podemos” party and their increasing influence in Spanish politics.
Events over the last few weeks in Spain have surprised many observers. A new party – Podemos (“We can”) – got an unexpectedly high vote in elections to the European Parliament. This has shaken up the party system, long dominated by two large national parties (the Socialist PSOE and the ruling conservative Popular Party (PP)) along with a number of established local nationalist parties important in Catalonia and elsewhere.
The elections were a debacle for the PSOE and PP, which experienced large losses in their vote shares from past elections (both European and national). Podemos, a party founded just four months before the election, garnered an astonishing 8 percent of the national vote, while several other smaller parties (in particular the United Left (Izquierda Unida) to the left of the PSOE) also increased their vote. The election was also a landmark within Catalonia, where Esquerra Republicana (the Catalan Republican Left) for the first time beat its coalition partner in the regional government, the center-right Catalan nationalist coalition CiU.
There is now an intense debate going on about the “Podemos” phenomenon. Should Podemos be seen as a “populist” party (as critics have labeled it); is it a party of economically disenfranchised youth pitted against a privileged older generation; a formation of opportunist political entrepreneurs capitalizing on the discontent caused by the economic crisis that offers no real alternative; or a legitimate “citizens defense platform” trying to put a stop to the economic hardship imposed in Spain through austerity measures demanded by Brussels and Berlin?
Continue reading article on the Washington Post website>>
This fall, Emine Fetvaci, Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture Department, will offer a seminar entitled “Europe and the Islamic World.” The course (AH 540) is a graduate/undergraduate mixed seminar meeting from 10 AM to 1 PM on Mondays. Art related to the Crusades, the conquest and transformation of Constantinople, the exchanges between Venice and the Ottomans, and Islamic Spain will all be examined. Professor Fetvaci has conceived the course as an introduction to Islamic art for those more familiar with European artistic and cultural traditions. There will be at least one visit each to the MFA and the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. [Download course flyer]
EU Foreign Policy through the Lens of Discourse Analysis
Leading scholars in discourse analysis and European foreign policy join force in this book, marking a real breakthrough in the literature. Not only do they offer original perspectives on European foreign policy, but they bring together various theories on foreign policy discourses that remain too often isolated from each other. The volume is the first full-length study on how to apply different discourse analytical approaches and methodologies to European foreign policy.
The book includes contributions from Thomas Diez, Henrik Larsen, Beste Isleyne, Knud Erik Jørgensen, Jan Orbie, Ferdi de Ville, Esther Barbé, Anna Herranz-Surrallés, Michal Natorski, Senem Aydin-Düzgit, Amelie Kutter, Ruth Wodak, Salomi Boukala, Caterina Carta, Ben Rosamond, Antoine Rayroux, and Vivien A. Schmidt.
Paperback edition already available. Find the table of content and the introduction at www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409463764
Jim Johnson, Professor of History and a member of our Executive Board, was recently awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship. During his ACLS and Guggenheim Fellowship terms, Professor Johnson will be working on Means of Concealment: French Identity and the Self, the follow-up book to Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene Republic, published in 2011. Both works examine the meanings of masks, both physical and figurative, and together will trace evolving ideas of the self and the rise of modern individualism through modes of concealment and its penetration.
Please join us in congratulating Professor Johnson for being selected for these prestigious awards.
The Center for the Study of Europe’s “Russian Voices” programs were the subject of an article in yesterday’s CAS News:
The study of Russian language, culture, and history has long been a part of the mix at CAS, with a BA offered in Russian Language & Literature and a number of Russian students on campus, as well as students interested in learning about Russia and faculty members teaching in related areas. This fall, Russian Studies is generating fresh excitement with the introduction of two new professors in the Department of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature and a series of events in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Europe bringing aspects of Russian culture to campus.
The showpiece event will be a Russian Voices Symposium on November 20. The symposium will feature readings by and conversations with contemporary Russian poets Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova, and Maria Stepanova. Another fall event to look out for is the film screening of My Perestroika on October 28, followed by a conversation with director, producer, and cinematographer Robin Hessman. The film follows five ordinary Russians living in extraordinary times—from their sheltered Soviet childhood, to the collapse of the Soviet Union during their teenage years, to the constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia.
Continue reading article in the CAS newsletter>>
We’re pleased to announce that Vivien Schmidt’s co-edited contribution to Cambridge University Press’s Contemporary European Politics series has been released in the UK and will be available in the US by the end of the month. The book – Resilient Liberalism in European Political Economy – explains why neoliberal economic ideas have not just survived, but thrived since the 1980s – taking Europe from boom to bust.
Why have neo-liberal economic ideas been so resilient since the 1980s, despite major intellectual challenges, crippling financial and political crises, and failure to deliver on their promises? Why do they repeatedly return, not only to survive but to thrive? This groundbreaking book proposes five lines of analysis to explain the dynamics of both continuity and change in neo-liberal ideas: the flexibility of neo-liberalism’s core principles; the gaps between neo-liberal rhetoric and reality; the strength of neo-liberal discourse in debates; the power of interests in the strategic use of ideas; and the force of institutions in the embedding of neo-liberal ideas. The book’s highly distinguished group of authors shows how these possible explanations apply across the most important domains – fiscal policy, the role of the state, welfare and labour markets, regulation of competition and financial markets, management of the Euro, and corporate governance – in the European Union and across European countries.
About the editors
Vivien A. Schmidt is Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Boston University and Founding Director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Europe.
Mark Thatcher is Professor in Comparative and International Politics in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
About the series
Contemporary European Politics presents the latest scholarship on the most important subjects in European politics. The world’s leading scholars provide accessible, state-of-the-art surveys of the major issues which face Europe now and in the future. Examining Europe as a whole and taking a broad view of its politics, these volumes will appeal to scholars and to undergraduate and graduate students of politics and European studies.