Narratives of European Futures conference 27.-28.10.2022

The 2022 annual conference of the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives.

When: 27.-28. October 2022

Where: Fabianinkatu 26, Festive Hall, Language Centre, University of Helsinki.

If you wish to attend, please register by Sunday 16.10 at:  

It is commonplace to present the concept of Europe through a narrative. The concept has been depicted with a story of the beginning, decline and resurrection of “civilization”. As notable illustrations of Europe are the narratives of the emergence and crises of “reason”, or Europe as a provider – and later denier – of some fundamental and universal rights. The history of the idea of Europe is a history of narratives, all incomplete, yet built on an assurance of some future trajectory.

The fourth annual conference of EuroStorie – Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives at the University of Helsinki – will concentrate on the futures that have been used and continue to be created in an attempt to define Europe and all that it represents. What kind of ideological structures have guided and restricted the projections of the future in the past? What might be the unreflected principles that determine our contemporary anticipation of times to come? And most importantly, how to break off from Eurocentric conceptualization of time and outline the tomorrow of Europe within the global future?

The different approaches on the topic of the conference will evolve around themes that characterize the three subprojects of EuroStorie. First, Europe in the 20th century was indisputably a home for a variety of conceptualizations of functioning society, of which most drew from the past in their aim of constructing a virtuous future community, or, of warning of a prospecting dystopia. What were the real-life consequences of this intellectual time-travelling, for example in the field of law? What is left from them and what can we learn from those examples?

Second, often “Europe” stands for a dream of a better future, and vice versa, not seldom “Europe” symbolizes a havoc of some virtue or a noble principle in the global political and economic reality. Is it reasonable to perceive Europe anymore as an advancing project, allegedly forever proceeding nearer to perfection, and built around an elusive ideal of universalism? Should we abandon the initial concepts with which Europe was defined in the 20th century, or rather just reframe them?

Third, the actualization of “European freedoms”, for example the freedom of movement, is a yardstick with which Europe evaluates its own success or failure. Yet, it is obvious that the values and freedoms at the core of the European project are under scrutiny on a daily basis. Would a future without the free movement be European at all? Or is it that the projections of Europe have never been built in consideration of free movement?

The conference brings together scholars from a variety of backgrounds and across disciplines. Rather than diminishing the future-oriented stories of Europe as side issues in the political and economic world, we will focus on the common feature that unites all conceptualizations of Europe: the strife to bring one’s idea into life by giving it a past and a future. Centering the presentations around that phenomenon, we argue, opens up a wide horizon for discussion between different aspirations, values and real-life challenges in the context of Europe.


(may be subject to changes)

Thursday, October 27

12.00-12.15 Opening words 

Directors of EuroStorie Kaius Tuori, Pamela Slotte & Reetta Toivanen

12.15-13.15 Keynote

Natasha Wheatley (Princeton University): Sovereignty in Time: International Law and the Ends of Empire in Europe

Chair: Zoe Jay

13.15-14.15 Lunch Break

14.15-14.45 Panel

The European Legal Community of the Future: Haunting Pasts and Timeless Virtues

Paolo Amorosa (University of Helsinki): Recovering Social Federalism: Futures of European Integration Through Law

Karolina Stenlund (University of Helsinki): Inclusion and Exclusion in a Union Free From Antisemitism

Tuuli Talvinko (University of Helsinki): Committing to Cause Pain: The Paradox of Promoting Democratic Values in the European Union

Chair: Ville Suuronen

15.45-16.00 Coffee Break

16.00-17.30 Panel

The Idea of Europe: Between Utopia and Post-Truth

Ville Louekari (University of Helsinki): Ernst Bloch, Utopia, and Europe

Panu-Matti Pöykkö (University of Helsinki):  Between Two Worlds: Levinas' Idea of Europe

Chair: Pamela Slotte

Friday, October 28

9.00-10.00 Coffee

10.00-11.00 Keynote

Martti Koskenniemi (University of Helsinki): Legal Imagination and the History of International Power

Chair: Ville Erkkilä

11.00-11.15 Small Break

11.15-12.45 Panel

Roundtable with Martti Koskenniemi (University of Helsinki), Johanna Vuorelma (University of Helsinki), Timo Miettinen (University of Helsinki), Pärtel Piirimäe (University of Tartu)

Chair: Ville Erkkilä

12.45-14.00 Lunch Break

14.00-15.00 Keynote

Sabine Hess (University of Göttingen): Racial B/Orders of Europe - Postcolonial Legacies and Contested Futures

Chair: Magdalena Kmak

15.00-15.30 Coffee Break

15.30-17.00 Panel

Migration as a Trajectory of Idea(l)s

Ali Ali (University of Helsinki): Shaded in Rainbow Europe? Troubling Queer Narratives to Animate Politics

Floris van Doorn (University of Helsinki): Governing 'Irregular Migration' From Europe's African Frontiers: Carrots, Sticks, and a Prototypical Trust Fund

Magdalena Kmak (Åbo Akademi University): Mobile Law as a New Approach to Migration Research

Chair: Reetta Toivanen

17.15 Reception at the University of Helsinki Main Building (Unioninkatu 34)