Europe after the End of Europe

Wednesday, 26 February 2014, 4:00pm - 5:30pm, IWM library
Louvain_Library_WWI_SliderEurope has come to an end. It is still there as a geographic entity and as a political reality – in fact, probably doing better than in most of its historical past. As a world power, Europe died on the battlefields of the First World War. Since then, also our view on Europe and its history has changed significantly: It has become impossible to reflect upon any idea or concept of Europe without realizing its close nexus to imperialism and hegemony. But does this mean that the “vision of Europe” (in the double sense) is obsolete? Obviously, the continent of Europe (or the political project bearing its name) is in need of a vision for itself, i.e. an idea for its inner cohesion and attraction. But not only that: Maybe one can hold that also the vision of Europe, the heritage that it carries, will only be fully realized in the context of a Post-European world.

Leaning on Jan Patočka, this presentation will try to understand precisely the Post-European condition as a chance and as a promise to reclaim the idea of “Europe”. Patočka’s reflections are untimely in the eminent sense of the word: written in the 70’s, amidst the political depression in the aftermath of Prague Spring and the seemingly irremediable rift of the continent, they envisage a Europe that has been lost and is still to come. In a similar move, Rémi Brague more recently spoke of a Europe that must “at once be conscious of its value and of its unworthiness – of its value in the face of an internal and external barbarism that it must control; and of its unworthiness in relation to that of which it is only the messenger and servant”.

Ludger Hagedorn is Research Director at the IWM (Project: Polemical Christianity: Jan Patočka’s Concept of Religion and the Crisis of Modernity). After studying Philosophy and Slavic Languages, he obtained his doctoral degree from Technical University Berlin in 2002. From 2005 to 2009 he was Purkyne-Fellow at the Czech Academy of Sciences. His main interests include phenomenology, political philosophy, modernity and secularization. As a lecturer, he has worked at the Gutenberg-University Mainz, at Södertörns Högskola (Stockholm) and for several years at Charles University in Prague. Recently, he also teaches for NYU in Berlin.

With the generous support of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)