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Newsletter November 2007


Barrie Wharton from the Centre of European Studies recently gave one of the four annual Spinelli lectures at the University of Melbourne in Australia. The lecture was organized by the CERC (Contemporary European Research Centre) at the University of Melbourne which like CEUROS is also a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. The lecture was chaired and introduced by the current director of CERC, Professor Philomena Murray who is a former member of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and a graduate of the European University Institute. The lecture was on “Islam, Europe and cultural identity: challenges and opportunities for the future” and received good coverage in the local and national press and media given the current topicality of the issue of Islamic integration in Australian society. Attendance at the public lecture was bolstered by the presence of a full final year cohort from a Melbourne public school for boys who were engaged in a project on Islam and their unannounced attendance necessitated an urgent scramble for alternative seating for the hall. The event was also attended by representatives of both the significant Muslim community in Melbourne as well as members of the large Irish community there.

Barrie Wharton


Following a grant of 27,000euro from Libertas (a Galway-based think tank), CEUROS is to lead a four-month intensive project on MEP attitudes towards key issues in European integration. All 785 MEPs will be ranked in four indices in order of their commitment to: the single market; energy self-sufficiency; EU security; European integration in general; and a fifth index will measure their performance as MEPs. In view of its urgency, the project has recruited four research assistants who will work part-time over the next four months: Melchior Szczepanik (Warsaw); Stephen LeFebvre (Belfast); Tiziana Melchiorre (Brussels); and Cristina Petre (Bucharest) . The research team met for its all-day inaugural coordination meeting on November 10th, at Limerick’s new Absolute Hotel, situated on Sir Harry’s Mall. Besides being interdisciplinary, and transnational, the project combines qualitative and quantitative indicators in constructing the five indices. The time frame for analysis is 2004-2007. Every word spoken, every vote taken, and every meeting attended by all 785 MEPs will contribute to their ranking on the indices. All research project participants have experience of working in the European Parliament, and they were selected from over 70 applications. The project will culminate in a refereed journal publication in spring 2008, based on SPSS analysis of the data yielded by the project team.


A major interdisciplinary symposium is being organised by the Centre for European Studies at the University of Limerick in early 2008 . The theme of the Symposium is “borders within and beyond social science”. Papers are invited from all disciplines and should address, explore, and discuss borders or interfaces within or between one or more cognate disciplines, placing the emphasis on how these borders or interfaces are defined, interpreted, negotiated, circumvented, mitigated, or ignored. Examples of such topics might be (for history) delineations between medievalism and modernity, or between Reformation and Renaissance, or between ‘herstory’ and history; (for languages and cultural studies) isoglosses, dialects, slang and ‘mainstream’ usage, minority languages, cultural conflict and cultural convergence; or (for geography ) implications of physical borders represented by mountains, rivers, seas, population density, climate; or (for sociology) borders between socio-economic groups, employed and unemployed, Travellers and settled, immigrants and host societies; (for Womens Studies) borders between masculinity and femininity, matriarchy and patriarchy; (for politics) borders between states, ideologies or interfaces between globalisation and regionalism; (for anthropology) borders between ethnic groups, races and cultures; (for music) concepts of “fusion” and “crossover” in evolutions of world music; (for psychology) interfaces within and between identities, attitudes, and prejudices; (for peace studies) interfaces in ‘divided societies’ and the particular experience of divided cities (e.g. Berlin, Belfast, Jerusalem), and boundaries between war and peace, or between conflict ‘resolution’ and conflict ‘management’; (for law) borders between jurisdictions, between legality and illegality, between national and European legal competences. At a more abstract level, but within a social science/humanities/literature/philosophy context, paper proposals could (additionally or alternatively) consider boundaries between fact and fiction, objectivity and subjectivity, hatred and love, past and present, darkness and light, good and evil, life and death. These are only examples: the field is clearly wide open, and potentially fertile. In view of the high number of applications expected, a panel drawn from three (Irish, UK, Norway) universities will select papers to be presented at the Symposium from among proposals received. The panel will prioritise both individual quality, and collective coherence, in making the selection. Postgraduates are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given, ceteris paribus, to proposals from the Faculty of AHSS at UL. Paper proposals (limit 300 words) should be emailed to no later than 21 December 2007.


At 1300 on Thursday 15 November in Room C1-061, Suzanne Mulcahy (Politics UCD) will speak on multiculturalism in Ireland in a seminar entitled “Integrating Immigrants in an Integrating Europe”. As usual, all are welcome, and light refreshments will be provided. Then, on Thursday 22 November, Barrie Wharton will explore interfaces between Islam and the West in Europe. Same room, same time.


The UACES European Studies Research Students’ Conference which was hosted by the European Commission Representation in the UK and the UK Office of the European Parliament took place on 5 November in London.
Around 70 participants from various universities across Europe attended the conference. Most of the participants were in their 1st year of their research in the field of European Studies since the event mainly aimed at an introduction to doctoral studies and a welcome to the UACES community. The program covered speeches respectively, on Recent Developments in the EU with regards to the Reform Treaty, the Work of the European Commission Representation in the UK- challenges in terms of the EU-skeptic public and was composed of parallel sessions on Managing the Stages of the PhD or Presenting at Academic Conferences and respectively Planning & Conducting Field Work or Getting Published. There was also the student forum election for one post in the Committee of the Student forum and this election was followed by a presentation of the work of the Student Forum Committee which gave a general outlook of the functioning of UACES. The last session of the conference was a roundtable on ‘What Next after the PhD?’ which mainly focused on career alternatives and different perspectives on possible options within and outside academia. The conference ended with a wine reception at the UK office of the European Parliament.
Personally I found the event very useful, first of all as an attempt in terms of creating a network in the academic environment: although it was a short occasion it still offered enough opportunities for some interaction with other researchers from different universities. Secondly, it was also useful in terms of sharing the experiences of others who are at the beginning of their studies to create an understanding of the nature of future challenges/opportunities and to discuss possible ways on how to deal with these challenges and take advantages of the very real opportunities. From this perspective, it offered a friendly atmosphere for future interaction. The participants’ areas of interest in the field of European Studies represented a wide variety. I believe it would have been even more useful for me if I had had a chance to meet another student who had an interest in the field close to mine - possibly covering the concepts of migration or citizenship. I think this would be a very good opportunity for exchanging ideas and an inspiration for creating different perspectives. Still I think that the event overall was successful in its aim to introduce the students to the doctoral studies and to give a brief outlook on the nature of European Studies. I am grateful to CEUROS for sponsoring my visit to London.

Mujde Erdinc


On 7 December 2007, CEUROS and Dublin’s leading EU policy think tank the Institute for European Affairs will jointly sponsor a seminar on the European Union’s single market. The keynote address will be given by Niall Bohen in the EU Commission. This seminar follows last year’s successful session on “EU Battlegroups” held also in conjunction with IEA in UL’s Jean Monnet lecture theatre, where a key speaker was local TD Willie O’Dea. At the moment, CEUROS is the only organisation outside Dublin that the IEA collaborates with, in this way.