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Faculty Announcements

October 1, 2014
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Events:

Department of African Studies, Susan Z. Andrade (University of Pittsburgh) Lecture “Literary History and Uneven Development: An African Example” 4 p.m, Woodburn Hall 218, 10.2.2014

Department of Germanic Studies, Fall Semester Dutch Movie Showing “Daglicht”, 7 p.m, Ballantine Hall 109, 10.6.2014

EURO Brown Bag Seminar, Anthropology PhD Candidate Feray J. Baskin “Immigrant Language: An Accessory?  The Case of Turkish in Alsace” 12:15-1 p.m, Ballantine Hall 004, 10.8.2014

Department of Hispanic Studies, Shawn Loewen (Michigan State University” Lecture “Is Second Language Instruction Effective: Measuring Linguistic Knowledge” 11:30 a.m, IMU Persimmon Room, 10.13.2014

Department of Germanic Studies, “A Swiss Afternoon Without Heidi”, Meet and Greet with Swiss Poet Arno Camenisch, author of “The Alp” IMU Distinguished Alumni Room, 12-2 p.m, 10.16.2014

EURO Brown Bag Seminar, Visiting CEUS Professor Janos Kocsis ” “Stratification and Urban Sprawl: Transformation of Suburbs of Budapest Metropolitan Area” 11:30 a.m, Ballantine 004, 10.22.2014

International Center Presents “Cross Cultural Communications: Workshop on Germany” 8:30-12, IMU, 10.24.2014

Department of Germanic Studies and Institute for European Studes, Tor Einar Fagerland (Norwegian Institute for Science and Techology) “The Bombing of the Government Center in Oslo and the massacre at Utøya Island in Norwegian Memory, 2011-2014.” 6:30 p.m, IMU Dogwood Room, 10.29.2014

Deadlines:

2014-15 Internal Fellowship and Award Deadlines

Graduate Student Announcements

October 1, 2014
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Events:

Department of African Studies, Susan Z. Andrade (University of Pittsburgh) Lecture “Literary History and Uneven Development: An African Example” 4 p.m, Woodburn Hall 218, 10.2.2014

Department of Germanic Studies, Fall Semester Dutch Movie Showing “Daglicht”, 7 p.m, Ballantine Hall 109, 10.6.2014

Herman B. Wells Library Online Graduate Student Workshops “Zotero” 1-2:30 p.m, 10.7.2014

EURO Brown Bag Seminar, Anthropology PhD Candidate Feray J. Baskin “Immigrant Language: An Accessory?  The Case of Turkish in Alsace” 12:15-1 p.m, Ballantine Hall 004, 10.8.2014

European History Workshop “People, Society, and Community: Visions of Political and Social Order in Post-World War I Germany” by Michael Wildt, Humboldt University – Berlin, 10.10.14, IMU Persimmon Room 12-1 p.m.

Department of Hispanic Studies, Shawn Loewen (Michigan State University” Lecture “Is Second Language Instruction Effective: Measuring Linguistic Knowledge” 11:30 a.m, IMU Persimmon Room, 10.13.2014

Herman B. Wells Library Graduate Student Workshops “EndNote: The Basics” 10-11:30 a.m, Ballantine 108, 10.14.2014

Department of Germanic Studies, “A Swiss Afternoon Without Heidi”, Meet and Greet with Swiss Poet Arno Camenisch, author of “The Alp” IMU Distinguished Alumni Room, 12-2 p.m, 10.16.2014

EURO Brown Bag Seminar, Visiting CEUS Professor Janos Kocsis ” “Stratification and Urban Sprawl: Transformation of Suburbs of Budapest Metropolitan Area” 11:30 a.m, Ballantine 004, 10.22.2014

International Center Presents “Cross Cultural Communications: Workshop on Germany” 8:30-12, IMU, 10.24.2014

Department of Germanic Studies and Institute for European Studes, Tor Einar Fagerland (Norwegian Institute for Science and Techology) “The Bombing of the Government Center in Oslo and the massacre at Utøya Island in Norwegian Memory, 2011-2014.” 6:30 p.m, IMU Dogwood Room, 10.29.2014

Deadlines:

2014-15 Internal Fellowship and Award Deadlines

February 2015 European Students Conference at Yale University Application Deadline, 10.27.2014

Europe’s energy dependence and the crisis in Ukraine

September 30, 2014
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The European Energy Security Forum is held regularly every year on September 26th in Brussels, Belgium. This year, however, as a result of the crisis in Ukraine, the Forum drew more attention than in previous years. The Forum’s main topic of discussion was identifying ways in which renewable energy development can be accelerated so that Europe reduces its dependence on energy imports.

Regarding the current state of affairs, the Forum concluded that Europe’s dependence on energy imports has significantly increased in the last ten years. Today, approximately 60 percent of Europe’s demand for energy is covered by imports from other countries, mostly Russia (around 38 percent of gas, 35 percent of oil, and 25 percent of coal).

This extremely high dependence on energy imports means that the use of economic sanctions as a tool of foreign policy towards Russia is greatly constrained. This issue is particularly relevant today when the EU, together with the US, attempts to counter the aggressive behavior of Russia towards Ukraine. Practically, the EU cannot impose sanctions on Russian energy exports without causing a great damage to its own economy. Also, knowing that energy exports account for almost 80 percent of Russia’s total export revenues, it seems that energy is the only sector of the Russian economy where the effect of sanctions would be highly noticeable.

As an escape from this unpleasant state of energy dependence, the Forum suggested creation of a strategy that would reorient the use of energy towards renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Participants of the Forum believe that it is not technology of renewable energy that is an obstacle for this reorientation, but politics. They argue that renewable energy technology is “mature enough” to cover 60 -70 percent of Europe’s energy needs, which would be enough to provide more leeway in the EU’s foreign policy decision making. However, the politicians do not seem to be willing to support this reorientation. For example, Hans-Josef Fell, one of the most notable speakers in the conference, explains that German politicians mostly support the use of nuclear energy, although wind and solar energy are much cheaper. Fell argues that this is the “wrong road”, primarily because the uranium in large part comes from Russia, which further increases the EU’s dependence on this energy powerhouse.

For more information about the Forum, see this website:

http://www.eurosef.org/

Can Europe survive without Russian gas?

Can Europe survive without Russian gas?

Italy’s Concrete Boots

September 30, 2014
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The lore of the mafia in Italy is nothing new. Mob bosses, bootleggers, machines guns, and deceivingly innocuous-sounding nicknames had long ago become staple ingredients of the stereotypical package of Italian corruption. In America, the early twentieth-century threat of the mafia turned from pressing public concern into modern-day legend and hot material for blockbuster films. In Italy, however, “the Godfather” isn’t the former heartthrob Marlon Brando and the corruption is not just a best-selling Hollywood storyline. BBC correspondent Antonia Quirke briefly tackles this subject, taking a look at Sicily, the home of the mafiosi, for an update on the current role of the mafia in Italian life.

According to Quirke, the changes of the 21st century have begun to erode the iron grasp of the mafia bosses on the brazen little island, but have not succeeded in eradicating them. Bold burly men may still be seen collecting protection money on street corners, and locals are still weary of discussing the topic of the mafia. The locals interviewed by Quirke acknowledge that the mafiosi are all around them, but state that they do not know them. Although not as common as they used to be, abandoned half-built high-rises and bridges may still be found in incongruous locations, creating jarring images on the otherwise picturesque Sicilian landscape. For the majority of locals, these are just unalterable facts of life—and their distressingly lethargic attitude towards the ubiquitous corruption seems to be a reflection of the general Italian attitude on the subject. According to Quirke, 16 out of Italy’s 20 regions are undergoing investigations for charges of having misappropriated public funds worth around 60 million euros, and more than half of the country’s population is employed by the government, perpetuating bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption—but what more to expect from a country whose previous twice-elected figurehead was Silvio Berlusconi?

While the stereotype of Italian corruption has, like most stereotypes, been overstated, it nevertheless continues to be based on a very large kernel of truth. With dishonesty, back-room deals, and nepotism as the order of the day, there is little chance for the once-great Italy to regain its footing on the top tier of the European power structure. In fact, this now centuries-old tradition of corruption and public apathy could very well sink Italy to the bottom. Furthermore, the issue of the Italian mafia brings up questions about corruption in Eastern Europe, where countries such as Romania and Bulgaria are not only consistently stigmatized for having high levels of corruption, but also actively kept on the political peripheries of European governance as a punishment for their dishonesty. But is this fair, when a country that is the home of the mafia gets a reserved seat at the table of Europe’s major powers? A comparison between Italy and Romania is particularly interesting, not only because of the cultural, historical, and linguistic similarities between the two countries, but also due to the fact that a 2013 corruption index study by Transparency International shows Italy and Romania being tied with a score of 43 on a scale of 0-100 (0 being highly corrupt and 100 being very clean).

While this certainly raises questions about the hypocrisy of the EU’s leaders in their treatment of East European nations, it is more imperative that this discussion bring about a concerted effort to put a stop to rampant corruption. This comparison proves that this is by no means an issue symptomatic of Eastern history and mentalities, but rather a chronic malady that affects even the more advanced countries in Europe—a malady that will only be fixed by EU sanctions that do not favor some countries over others, laws and good practices that sanctify government transparency, and, perhaps most importantly, an awakening of civic engagement that will shake the public out of its apathy.

Britain, Belgium Vote “Bombs Away” While Berlin Bumps Airstrikes Off The Table

September 29, 2014
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Disclaimer: The following post is an opinion and does not reflect the views of the Indiana University European Studies Department.

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The USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier off the coast of Syria.

European Parliaments were abuzz last week over whether or not to join the U.S – led coalition conducting military airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  President Obama, by far the most vocal proponent of military action in the Middle East among the coalition, has been busy addressing audience after audience at the United Nations, NATO, and Arab League meetings, stressing to the American people that “This is not a U.S. fight alone.”  Indeed, he is right.  An ever-growing coalition of 62 nations has joined the fight against ISIS, providing military advisers, financial assistance, and words of support to the Iraqi government, its security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq and Syria.  However, far too many countries are doing just that; stopping at sending money, humanitarian aid, and words of encouragement disguised in pompous diplomatic jargon.  The real doers are the countries who have laid the lives of their pilots on the line, bombing ISIS military strongholds and support facilities, to stem the rising tide of medieval ISIS terror.

First and foremost, the United States Air Force and Navy have been doing the majority of the leg work, flying dozens of sorties a day and destroying hundreds of ISIS targets.  Since the end of August, the United States has conducted airstrikes, launched Tomahawk missiles, and launched coastal artillery from its naval vessels in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea.  Next in line, come the Arab League nations of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE.  These countries’ respective air forces have carried out strikes since the middle of September and their governments have allowed usage of their ports, airspace and bases to Western nations. iraq-air-strikes-david-cameron-498214

Perhaps coming a little late to the conflict are a select few European nations.  On Friday, the Parliament of the United Kingdom voted overwhelmingly to support RAF airstrikes in Iraq.  Prime Minister David Cameron passionately argued for intervention, saying “ISIS is unlike a threat that our island nation has ever seen.  The brutality is staggering.”  British jets are likely to make their first sorties this week.

France conducted its first strikes in northern Iraq last week.  After the beheading of French journalist Herve Gourdel by ISIS soldiers, French Rafale fighters bombed an ISIS weapons depot in northern Iraq.  President Hollande has said that France will continue its involvement for as long as necessary.

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Two Belgian F-16 fighters prepare to depart a runway in Florennes, Belgium.

And perhaps most surprisingly, the Parliaments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark have authorized the use of their fighter jets in Iraq to help degrade ISIS.  Belgium deployed six F-16 fighters on Friday, the Netherlands will send a further six this week, and Denmark will send seven today.  While not likely to make a great impact, each and every pilot from these three small NATO members will be welcomed.

However, one country is noticeable absent from the U.S – led coalition of the willing; Germany.  The Bundestag has yet to even bring a motion to the floor on German participation.  For an economic powerhouse and country that appears to be the de facto leader of the EU, German pilots have yet to strap on their flight suits.  While Germany is in the process of training Peshmerga forces and sending ammunition to Iraq, Bundeswehr fighters are absent from the skies.  Over 200 ISIS members are German passport holders.  The threat is to German national security is real.  The bench on the sidelines is crowded enough as it is.  Its time for Germany to step out of the shadow of the past, assume its leadership role in Europe, and join the coalition of the willing.

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Two French Rafale fighters departing for a mission in northern Iraq.

Yes, eventually ISIS will move underground and the time for ground assistance will come.  However, ISIS still maintains larges swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and still present very real targets to air forces.  They are engaging in conventional warfare.  This requires a conventional response.  The time to act is now, and every country in Europe has the means to help.  If we don’t stand together on this, how can we be sure we will stand together in the future?

An American’s Experience of the Scottish Referendum

September 25, 2014
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By guest blogger Drew Warner -

“When I first found out that I had gotten accepted to study in Scotland this fall, I was so excited for all of the traveling around Europe I would be doing, all of the night clubs I would be going to, and all of the monuments I would be seeing. That was all I could think about for the few months leading up to my trip.

I arrived in my flat on the first day to meet my three other Scottish roommates, hoping to immediately share that same enthusiasm about these things with them. But, not even 5 minutes after our introductions, the topic of the Scottish independence referendum had already been brought up, which then carried into an hour-long discussion of everyone’s personal voting decision. I remember I had heard bits and pieces about the referendum while I was still in the States, but it never occurred to me until I was over here, how big of a deal it was to every Scottish citizen.

Yes and no campaigners in scottish referendum

I arrived in Scotland on September 6th, and from that day forward, every dinner conversation, morning tea talk and lounging around downtime was dominated by talk of the referendum. In the two weeks that I was there before the vote, I had heard of all different arguments for and against voting for independence. What it seemed was that the people who were planning to vote yes, were the ones that were the most vocal about it, which in turn is what influenced me to take a side. The ‘Yes’ campaigners hosted rallies and platform discussions all over the city and all over my university’s campus. It was amazing how many people got involved in the decision. Unlike in the States, the voting was open to any citizen from the age of 16 and up. Opening it to an even younger group made it something that not just old politicians and political science majors were to be interested in, but it sparked interest of everyone here, regardless of their previous voting experience or knowledge. I saw 16-year-old high school kids driving down the street in their beat up first cars alongside older, more well-off adults, both with huge ‘YES’ stickers on their car bumpers. I ended up buying a tee shirt with a huge Scottish flag on it, and joining the ‘yes’ rally.

The night of the vote, my university held a big viewing party with pizza and beer and all sorts of TV screens and couches. The party started at 10pm when the voting booths closed and kept going until 5am when the decision was made, which ended in a ‘No’ vote. Although it was a rather disappointing ending for the liberal student body I was surrounded by, who all voted yes, they all kept emphasizing how much this needed to happen to “get the ball rolling.” Being here to experience something this historical was unbelievable. It gave me appreciation for the nationalism that every country has, something that we usually overlook due to our own patriotic sentiment toward America. If there is ever an opportunity to relive something similar to this experience, I would not miss it for the world.”

Drew Warner is a junior at DePauw University currently studying at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland

What would Scotland’s independence mean for the EU?

September 17, 2014
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In a blog posted on September 16th, admeuro writes about potential implications of the Scotland’s independence on the future of the United Kingdom. By writing this blog, I wanted to join admeuro in covering referendum in Scotland by writing about potential implications of Scotland’s independence on the EU.

The first question that arises with Scotland’s potential secession is whether Scotland automatically maintains its membership in the EU (as claimed by one of the leaders of campaign that is in favor of Scottish independence, Alex Salmond) or whether it would have to go through the same process of negotiations that all other countries go through.

The outgoing president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said in February of this year that it would be “difficult, if not impossible for Scotland to join the EU,” since that would require the approval of not only the UK, but also Spain, Italy, Belgium, and other member states, which fear that this event would encourage separatist movements in their respective states. Salmond, however, described Barroso’s claim as “absurd”, explaining that it would be inconceivable that the EU would not accept a country whose citizens are already citizens of the EU, whose laws are already aligned with the European standards, and with such rich deposits of oil.

Ever since, Barroso has been silent on the EU stance regarding Scotland’s EU membership in the case of independence and in all recent statements he has only been repeating that the EU will respect the democratic procedure regardless of the outcome. He has also been saying that “it is for the Scottish people and for the British citizens to decide on the future of Scotland.”

Regardless of the EU’s stance on the issue of Scotland’s independence, this would definitely be a new challenge for the EU, and a very unwelcome one, keeping in mind the current crisis in Ukraine and the ongoing European economic crisis. Extensive European regulation, after all, simply did not foresee a possibility of secession in one of its member states.

Even though the EU stance might be uncertain on this issue, member states that face significant separatist tendencies themselves will definitely be a firm barrier for Scotland’s accelerated membership process. For example, the Spanish Minister for European Affairs has recently stated that Scotland’s membership procedure “will have more ifs than Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem.”

The second question that arises with Scotland’s potential secession is weather the EU will be able to defend its long-lasting promise that joining the EU means definitive stabilization of an acceding country in terms of its borders. For example, with countries that had some difficulties in their history on this issue such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, and more recently Slovenia and Croatia, it was always emphasized that joining the EU meant that the possibility of disintegration and separatism was greatly reduced.

Nevertheless, if the EU accepts Scotland, does it mean that it opens up a Pandora’s Box of future separatism? What about the candidate countries? Will it leave them with doubt and uncertainty that even after joining the EU, there remains a possibility for eventual separation of the country into two or more countries?

The answers to these questions will probably be clearer in the very near future.

For the entire interview with the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in February 2014, look here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26215963

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