Review: Europe Defined – Myths and Realities
April 9, 2013
What is Europe?
-the answer to this question proved to be elusive
-not clear-cut answer
-many answers in many levels
-Is Europe a continent?
-Is Europe a culture?
-Is Europe the land of Christianity ‘Christendom’?
-Christendom: ‘dom’= land
-‘land of Christianity’
If Europe is an ‘elusive notion’what are then its main characteristics?
-Europeanization of the world?
-how Europe colonized in different times of history
-in intellectual and cultural terms?
-Lessons of the European Union?
-in both positive and negative ways
The continental myth
-Europe does not form a separate landmass
-continues into Eurasia
-It lacks a clear cut oceanic border
-The erroneous belief came down to modern times from classical Greeks:
-they perceived the world divided into three parts: Europe,Africa (then called Libya) and
-The Romans accepted the Greek outlook
-Europe is a landmass that stretches to Asia
Greek idea of Europe
-Europe is on top whereas Africa andAsia are at the bottom
-map by Hecatarus?
Roman idea of Europe
-believed the same thing
-geographer drew for Romans
-Europe is not clear cut (like Greek idea) -they believed Europe was a continent
Is Europe a culture?
-Why has the geographical concept of “Europe” survived for so long?
-Why courses on the geography of Europe instead of Eurasia?
-Why Europeans continue to believe that a separate Europe exists?
-Answers do not lie in physical boundaries but in cultural boundaries:
-Europe is a culture that occupies a culture area
-not just physical area, but a culture area
Is Europe the land of Christianity?
-Europeans belong to a cultural community rooted in Christian heritage, i.e. Western
-Europe came to mean Christendom
-For the last eight centuries Europeans created a we-versus-they mentality
-based on idea of cultural community
-Religion still engenders a virulent sense of separation in Europe (Muslim immigrants)
-identity defined by type of architecture
-Cathedrals are designed in Romanesque Goth
-Are religion, Indo-European tongues and race the main factors that tell apart Europeans from
How is modern Europe defined?
-Which are better indicators of modern Europe’s identity?
-main elements of identity: race, language, and religion
-The synthesis of democracy, socialism, capitalism, science, human rights, and enlightened
-two distinct ways of self-identifying Europeans
-founders of European Union and modern Europe have obliterated first element..?
-founders of EU wanted to project to the world: ‘and enlightened Europe’– not based on race,
language, or religion
-that’s what modern Europe wants to project to the world
-right-wing political parties are based on the elements of race, language, and religion How Europeans see themselves
-categories are quite divisive
-see themselves in terms of culture, race, ideology/politics, economy, physical habitat
-they describe themselves positively (e.g. tolerance, wisdom, social democracy, etc.)
-when they look at non-Europeans in a more negative/foreign light
European Ideas: Legacy to the world
2. Printing press
3. Evolution theory
4. Laws of motion