Reflections on debt and guilt

Reflections on debt and guilt and on the history and future of Europe. Seminar at the Runeberg Hall, University of Helsinki (main building,
Fabianinkatu 33, 2nd floor), 21 September 2017.

The imagery of a plural Europe of diversity emerged around 2000 when no consensus could be reached over a strong European identity shared by a European demos. The new approach to European union appealed to core

values of the globalisation narrative hegemonic at the time: plurality, respect for diversity, multicultural difference

in a world unified by a global market of which Europe was a part. Since the onset of the Euro-crisis, this benign image of global and European plurality cedes in the face of the internal European North-South divide, in which different layers of the past are invoked to explain the division and justify actions to maintain and even reinforce it. The debate mixes historical facts with normative, often moralistic claims. At its centre is a concept of debt.

The purpose of this seminar series is to engage prominent historians, social scientists, philosophers and  economists in a discussion on the different historical and current narratives of debt as they relate to the North-South divide. The series is part of a broader research project on The Debt: Historicizing Europe’s Relations with the ‘South’, funded by the HERA-network. The opening seminar of the series approaches the topic with reference to the recently published book European Modernity. A Global Approach (Bloomsbury 2017), co-authored by historian Bo Stråth and sociologist

Peter Wagner.

Speakers: Professor Bo Stråth (University of Helsinki), Professor Peter Wagner (University of Barcelona), Professor Marja Jalava (University of Turku) and Professor Antonis Liakos (University of Athens).  The discussion is moderated by Dr Stefan Nygård (University of Helsinki).

The event is open, but registration is required (


21 September 2017


Venue: The Runeberg Hall,

University of Helsinki (main building,

Fabianinkatu 33, 2nd floor)