About the Project

About the Project

Mission & Project Goals

Our project aims to nurture a new generation of interdisciplinary scholars looking at the institutions and networks that constitute transatlantic relations, and the ways in which EU and US policy approaches to critical problems of human need are being shaped. The project will consist of a seminar series during the fall 2011 semester, and culminate with an interdisciplinary graduate conference in the spring 2012 semester organized and run by University of Illinois graduate students who work on EU topics. It will lead to several durable outcomes, including:

  • the expansion of available curriculum on campus in EU studies;
  • production of new publications and web resources;
  • involvement in innovative research by Illinois graduate students;
  • strengthening of the EU studies community at Illinois, plus enhancement of partnerships with institutions in the US and Europe;
  • and generation of competitive grant proposals to external sponsors in order to leverage still further growth in EU studies at Illinois.

Project Components

Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar

The interdisciplinary seminar in the fall features weekly lectures delivered by Illinois faculty members and selected guest speakers, representing fields such as agricultural law, economics, engineering, foreign languages and literatures, geography, and political science. The guest speakers engage the participating graduate students with lectures and discussions on the European Union and EU-US relations relevant to their particular research topics. The lectures and discussions expose the graduate students to areas of EU studies well beyond their own fields and introduce them to the questions being asked and approaches taken to answering them in a variety of disciplines. Each session fosters invaluable dialogue in which faculty members also gain new insights by discussing their research interests with students from diverse intellectual backgrounds. The lectures are recorded and video streamed, and can be accessed from the course web page. As a course writing assignment designed to encourage practice using an important contemporary form of expressing scholarly ideas, students are required to write blog entries based off the lectures, some of which are posted to the public EUC Blog. Students also have the option to earn an additional credit hour from the course by developing a final research paper on a topic relevant to the course theme.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

The interdisciplinary graduate conference in spring 2012 will bring together graduate students from around the country who specialize in all aspects of EU studies. We anticipate that this event will allow participants to: 1) consider the diverse methodological and theoretical approaches currently being applied to EU studies; 2) establish an ongoing dialogue between scholars working on divergent aspects of the European Union and transatlantic relations within varying disciplinary contexts; and 3) identify new and cutting-edge perspectives from which EU-related topics are being explored. The one-and-a-half day conference will feature a faculty keynote speaker and up to two faculty plenary speakers (specific invitees to be determined by the conference organizing committee); invited graduate student research poster displays at a welcome reception; and approximately 20 graduate student paper presentations, with an estimated half of those delivered by Illinois students and half by students from other institutions. Papers will be requested at least two weeks before the conference, and EUC-affiliated faculty members will be invited to serve as discussants.