"European narratives of crisis" conference

"European narratives of crisis" conference, 17-18 May 2018, University of Helsinki, Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 00170 Helsinki

Read the abstracts of the presentations here!


10.00-11.00 Keynote speech
Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, auditorium (1st floor)

Marco Duranti (The University of Sydney): The crisis of European values in historical perspective
Chair: Kaius Tuori (University of Helsinki)


11.30-13.00 Parallel sessions (sessions 1-2)

Session 1
Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, auditorium (1st floor)

Liisa Bourgeot: Constructing a new reality after crisis: Gustav Shpet's philosophy of culture as an answer to the Russian revolution
Jan Květina: Politicization of a “national crisis narrative” in the comparative context of interwar Czechoslovakian and Polish regime: Munich agreement and May Coup
Susanne Dahlgren: Islam, Europe and “the European values”: The Danish cartoon episode revisited
Chair: Tove Malloy (European Centre for Minority Issues)

Session 2
Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 229 (2nd floor)

Chiara Cristofolini and Andrew Cecchinato: The Crisis of Social Organisations and Democratic Institutionski
Matti Sarkia: Commitments, crises and confidence
Timo Miettinen: Neoliberalism as a Response to the Interwar Crisis of Science
Chair: Pamela Slotte (University of Helsinki, Åbo Akademi University)

14.30-16.00 Parallel sessions (sessions 3-4)

Session 3
Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, auditorium (1st floor)

Emma Patchett: A "bleak and desolate place": A Gap in the Sand
Seija Jalagin: To aid people in need – The missing idea of refugee crisis in interwar Finland
Östen Wahlbeck: To Share or Not to Share Responsibility? Finnish Refugee Policy and the Hesitant Support for a Common European Asylum System
Chair: Magdalena Kmak (University of Helsinki, Åbo Akademi University)

Session 4
Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 229 (2nd floor)

Mikko Immanen: Adorno on Spengler: Turning Anti-Enlightenment Arguments for Enlightenment
Ari-Elmeri Hyvönen: Political crisis as a crisis of language and experience
Jani Kukkola: Crisis as a Source of Cultural Critique and New Beginning. An Existential Notion of the Renewal of European Experience
Chair: Timo Miettinen (University of Helsinki)

16:30-17:30 Session 5
Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, auditorium (1st floor)

Laura Nordström: Power of Knowledge in EU – The explanatory power of paradigm change models in the European debt crisis
Päivi Neuvonen: Many Crises of EU Citizenship: de-politicisation and re-politicisation of the Individual in the EU
Chair: Reetta Toivanen (University of Helsinki)


11.30-13.00 Session 6
Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, auditorium (1st floor)

Adolfo Giuliani: The ius commune europaeum and the crisis of legal science, 1930-1960
Kaius Tuori: Narratives and normativity: Totalitarianism and the European legal tradition after WWII
Rolf Hugoson: The 1920s crisis of liberal democracy through the eyes of Antifascists in exile: Piero Gobetti and Gaetano Salvemini
Chair: Jacob Giltaij (University of Helsinki)

14.30-16.00 Session 7
Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, auditorium (1st floor)

Kevin Barker: Brexit as a constitutive force: the Commonwealth and Others in Europe’s Crisis
Mikko Salmela: Emotions and populist narratives of crisis
Jaakko Salminen: Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, as a European Crisis: The Beginning of the End of Transnational New Governance as a Narrative of Legitimacy
Chair: Stanislav Cernega (European Centre for Minority Issues)


Call for Papers: European narratives of crisis

Date: May 17-18, 2018

Place: The University of Helsinki, Finland

Host: The Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie)

In his 1919 essay The Crisis of the Spirit Paul Valéry wrote: ”We civilizations now know ourselves mortal.” What the French philosopher captured was a prevalent mood of the post-war era: a sense of finitude not only of particular peoples but of European culture as a whole. In these years it was particularly the concept of crisis that became one of the central symbols to describe the sense of an acute turn, the loss of foundations, or even an irreversible demise.

However, as a political and cultural concept ’crisis’ is by no means neutral. It may be used as a device of political demagogy or a call for passiveness. As Foucault once put it, crisis may also imply a “heroization of the present” in order to elevate a particular historical moment into an absolute turning point in history. Historically speaking, crisis is an ”empty signifier” that is open to various interpretations and meanings. It has supported both optimist and pessimist narratives on the course of history, and provided several opportunities for active intervention on behalf of intellectuals, politicians and the like. In today’s Europe, the euro crisis and the so called refugee crisis have significantly strengthened political divisions; however, the moral, legal and institutional implications of these events are yet to be analyzed.

In this conference we explore the many sides of the concept of crisis in the 20th century European context. We seek to address the phenomenon of the crisis both as a concept and as a form of experience that tells us something of our relation to culture as a whole. We are interested in interventions that tackle this concept in relation to historical narratives, political institutions, legal culture, and social divisions. How do Europe and European history appear as they are viewed through the lens of the crisis? What political, moral, or ideological purposes does the concept of crisis serve?

Confirmed keynote speakers include Jayne Svenungsson (Lund University), Marco Duranti (University of Sydney), and Anthony Pagden (UCLA).

Possible topics include:

1) Crisis as a philosophical/theological concept (e.g. philosophy of history, social ontology, theology of crisis)

2) Crisis as a cultural concept or a mechanism of cultural critique (e.g. crisis of European ideals)

3) Crisis of European (or national) political institutions (e.g. the contemporary crisis of the European Union, euro crisis, the so called refugee crisis)

4) Crisis of European legal culture (e.g. crises of legal identity and legitimacy, harmonization projects, constitutionalism)

5) Crisis as an interwar/postwar European experience (e.g. immigration, exile, statelessness)

The conference is organized by the The Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie, see www.eurostorie.org), funded by the Academy of Finland and hosted by the University of Helsinki. EuroStorie seeks to critically investigate the foundations of the European narrative about a shared heritage of law, values and ideals. We are interested in the development of conflicting narratives of Europe in 20th century thinking and its impact in contemporary policies and popular perceptions.

Please send your abstract (max. 500 words) and short CV to the address: eurostorie@gmail.com. The language of the meeting is English. There is no registration fee. The organizers are unfortunately unable to aid in the travel arrangements or accommodation of participants.

The extended deadline for submissions is: February 4, 2018.