'Europe, a continent of paradoxes' 

  • Third Annual Conference of the Graduate Centre for Europe
  • 16 - 18 April 2009
  • European Research Institute, University of Birmingham

Researching Europe’s past, present and future brings us face to face with a number of apparently irreconcilable contradictions. However, the very factors that have pulled, and continue to pull us apart drive our understanding of what it means to be European. Or do they?...

The conference focused on how and where internal differences and similarities manifest themselves. It questioned the extent to which different degrees of divergence and convergence are displayed in the historical, current and future development of Europe’s structures, practices and identities.

This conference brought together postgraduate researchers from a variety of disciplines in an attempt to learn from other academic approaches and to share one’s own with other researchers. The conference encouraged an open-minded exchange of ideas about topics we often consider to be embedded in our own disciplines.


Panels at the Graduate Centre for Europe Interdisciplinary Conference 2009.

Panel 1: History & Theology

  • Diana Jane Beech (University of Cambridge): ‘Between defiance and compliance: Reassessing the Protestant response to National Socialism with the case of the three German ‘state’ bishops of Hanover, Bavaria and Württemberg’
  • Christopher Wojtulewicz (University of Birmingham): ‘Perspectives on the Foundations of European Identity: The Thought of Joseph Ratzinger Revisited’
  • Sever Cristian Oancea (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main): ‘Confession in 18th century Transylvania and the Paradox of a Historical Evolution: the Romanian Case Study’

Panel 2: Law

  • Padmaja Kaul and Ashish Bhan (Amity Law School, New Delhi & UCL): ‘Conflicting Jurisprudence: Common law and Civil law’
  • Ingrida Ilgauskiene (University of Birmingham): ‘Integration of scientific and technical expertise into the EU regulatory decision-making process’
  • Rebecca Sanders (University of Sheffield): ‘The integration of European Mortgage Law: a case study on the use of multi-level governance approaches in the Europeanization of policy’

Panel 3: Culture and Representation

  • Susanne Thuermer (University of Birmingham): ‘Gender’ as an integrating force: the potential for dialogue between French and Italian feminism’
  • Cristina Ivanovici (University of Birmingham): ‘Sign-posting the Other: the Margaret Atwood Archive and Eastern European Publishers’
  • Aidan Power (University College Cork): ‘Overheating the Melting Pot: Cultural Compositions in the Cinema of Michael Haneke’

Panel 4: European Identity

  • Morten Dyssel Mortensen (University of Copenhagen): ‘Tolerance vs Freedom of Speech: Comments on the cultural topicality of the Enlightenment’
  • Luis Bouza Garcia (College of Europe, Bruges / Robert Gorden University, Aberdeen): ‘The emergence of a European society? Divergences and convergences in European public spaces during the EU constitutional debate’
  • Tatiana Gladkikh (University of Birmingham): ‘How does the international business environment shape the construction of contemporary national identity of British business people?’

Panel 5: Politics

  • Nino Kemoklidze (University of Birmingham): ‘Moral Hazard’ of Secession: the Cases of Kosovo and South Ossetia’
  • Marion Smith (Central European University, Budapest): ‘An Illegitimate Actor? The Input and Output Legitimacy of EU Foreign and Security Policy’
  • Laurence Cooley (University of Birmingham): ‘The European Union and conflict resolution: Explaining the popularity of the consociational approach’
  • Katharina Hoffmann (University of Birmingham): ‘Regional Integration in the Post-Soviet Space; the Implication of Political Regime Characteristics on Regional Integration Processes’

Panel 6: Culture & Memory

  • Georgina Webb-Dickin (University of Birmingham): ‘Postmodern Paradoxes: the regeneration of a divided city after the fall of the Berlin Wall’
  • Natasza Stycynska (Jagiellonian University, Kraków): ‘Austro-Hungarian heritage: living tradition or a history covered with dust?’
  • Amy Shulman (University of Birmingham): ‘Lisel Haas: Photography and Memory’