Europa and the Bull, Europe, and European Studies: Visual Images as Historical Source Material : Inaugural Lecture Delivered on Appointment to the Chair in Modern European History at the Universiteit Van Amsterdam on Wednesday 10 December 2003

Europa and the Bull, Europe, and European Studies: Visual Images as Historical Source Material : Inaugural Lecture Delivered on Appointment to the Chair in Modern European History at the Universiteit Van Amsterdam on Wednesday 10 December 2003

Europa and the Bull, Europe, and European Studies: Visual Images as Historical Source Material : Inaugural Lecture Delivered on Appointment to the Chair in Modern European History at the Universiteit Van Amsterdam on Wednesday 10 December 2003

Europa and the Bull, Europe, and European Studies: Visual Images as Historical Source Material : Inaugural Lecture Delivered on Appointment to the Chair in Modern European History at the Universiteit Van Amsterdam on Wednesday 10 December 2003

Excerpt

My chair at this University is in Modern European History, and I am a historian of modern Europe. Much of my work, however, is concerned with European Studies, and therefore not exclusively with history. European Studies is an Area Studies discipline, which examines a geographical area — Europe — from many different viewpoints. It is multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary. In my own chair group, we have economists and lawyers, as well as historians. In the other chair groups which deliver the European Studies programmes, we have specialists in literature, culture, language, history and society, some with an expertise in one particular country, like Spain or Russia, but all with an interest in the continent of Europe, whatever their discipline or national speciality. That is also the case in other departments of European Studies with which I am familiar, here in the Netherlands, in Great Britain, and elsewhere.

It follows that a central question around which such a motley crew of teachers and researchers can unite is, ‘What is Europe?’ Indeed, that was the very title of the published version of the inaugural lecture delivered by my immediate predecessor in this chair, Wim Roobol (whose shoes, incidentally, are extremely hard to fill). The Professor of European Cultural History in this University, Pirn den Boer, also focussed on that question in his inaugural lecture in 1989. I shall pay homage to that tradition, for a number of reasons. As well as being right at the centre of the discipline, it permits me to show how my research using new and different source materials in history can contribute to that central question of European Studies. And it further enables me to demonstrate how quite an obscure — if attractive — subject . . .

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