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2013-04-09 Review - Europe Defined.docx

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Geography 2050A/B
Mireya Folch- Serra

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? -European idea? -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 Asia -The Romans accepted the Greek outlook -Europe is a landmass that stretches to Asia Greek idea of Europe -circular map -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 Civilization -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) European self-identity -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 their neighbors? How is modern Europe defined? -Which are better indicators of modern Europe’s identity? -main elements of identity: race, language, and religion Or -The synthesis of democracy, socialism, capitalism, science, human rights, and enlightened reason -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 -dichotomy European Ideas: Legacy to the world 1. Democracy 2. Printing press 3. Evolution theory 4. Laws of motion 5. Enlightenment 6.
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