Understanding Europe Without Leaving
BY VALERIE ORLEANS
March 4, 2004
European studies...isn’t that a fancy
name for Western civ classes?
“While history and geography are certainly
strong components of this new program, the aim is much broader,”
says Cora A. Granata, assistant professor of history, explaining
the components of the revamped and renamed major launched on campus
this spring. European
Studies is the new name for the former Russian and East European
Studies Program. Granata is a member of an interdisciplinary group
spearheading the bachelor’s degree – one of only two
offered in the CSU system.
It is, most emphatically, she says, “not just
about a group of dead white men.
“European studies provides an interdisciplinary
exploration of Europe as a dynamic, multicultural world region.
That means we will not only be studying history and geography, but
language, art, music, business, philosophy and political science,”
Granata adds. “What sets our program apart is that the Europe
we study is different from traditional images. We emphasize Europe’s
ethnic, class and gender diversity.”
For many years, students with a particular interest
in Europe could enter the Russian and East European Area Studies
Program, a program very popular during the Cold War, says Granata.
But as the Cold War ended, interest began to wane.
When faculty members, who were experts in the field, began to retire,
the program simply wound down. Yet, interest in Europe as a whole
“European studies is picking up where Russian
and East European area studies left off,” she says. “While
our students will study Russia and East Europe, our focus will be
broadened to include all of Europe. We want to provide an opportunity
for students to learn more about this area of the world.”
Proficiency in a European language, such as French,
German, Spanish or Portuguese, is necessary to fulfill the language
requirement. Language classes may be taken on campus or at another
“I think European studies is part of a larger,
national trend,” Granata says. “After the fall of the
Berlin Wall, many started to re-think their focus of Europe. With
current divisions between the U.S. and Europe regarding foreign
policy, offering American students the opportunity to develop a
deeper understanding of the region is more important than ever.”
European Studies is sponsoring a 2:30 p.m. Wednesday,
April 7, panel discussion on “The Impact of European Union
Enlargement on Central and Eastern Europe” in Room 107 of
the Performing Arts Center. Scheduled speakers include Kestutis
Krisciunas, director of European integration, Kaunas University
of Technology, Lithuania; Karl Kaltenthaler, P.K. Seidman Professor
of Political Economy, Rhodes College; and Pavel Telicka, representative
of the Czech Republic to the European Union in Brussels.
All three scholars will spend the week meeting with
students, faculty and staff members.
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