This paper introduces students to the anthropological study of Europe by giving them an opportunity to engage with a diverse range of ethnographic work, as well as offering space to think anthropologically about the European worlds they inhabit. The literature encountered will draw on different geographical regions of Europe in an attempt to explore Europe as a diverse social space, and we will also pay special attention to what we can learn from places and people sometimes considered ‘marginal’ to Europe. Topics covered by the paper include religion and secularism; nationalism and multinationalism; the European Union; migration; kinship and the family; and the role of socialism and post-socialism.
The purpose of this area paper is to tentatively map out contemporary Europe as it is lived, experienced, and understood. Rather than taking the Europe which is under our feet for granted, we will seek vantage points from which to gain a clearer view of the historic and institutional forces at work in everyday lives. We will begin by considering the factors that have shaped the boundaries of Europe, including the examination of Europe as a Christian, Islamic, and/or secular space; the role of imperialism, nationalism, trans-nationalism, and the European Union; and the influence of socialism and post-socialism on the development of modern Europe. This will provide us with a broad context within which to consider facets of everyday life in diverse European contexts, including urban and rural life; sport; the family and its futures; migration and citizenship; and conflict.
Teaching in this paper is seminar-led, and students will have the opportunity to work in detail with ethnographic texts that advance the study of Europe. However, throughout our discussions we also hope to draw on the students’ own ethnographic insights and to work with texts and materials beyond conventional academic anthropological literature.
Further information including a list of lecture courses and background reading can be found in the Paper Guide in the Paper Resources section to the right of this page.