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Chai Wai Series: The Future of the European Union: A Shared Vision?

Please join the International and Area Studies Library for the following event:

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The event will include members of the Chicago Consular Corps in a conversation related to issues affecting the future of the European Union.  In anticipation of this event, explore some of the important background information about the European Union, then join us for “Tea or something” on March 12, from 2:30-4:00 p.m. at the International and Area Studies Library, Room 321 Main Library to engage in the conversation.  The discussion is sponsored by the European Union Center, the Center for Global Studies and the University Library.

Origins of the EU

The European Union traces its roots to the aftermath of World War II, when the countries of Europe were seeking solidarity to protect against further discord and war. The economic fallout from the war was immense, and this was also a motivating factor in creating organizations to unite the countries of Europe. In 1949, the Council of Europe was created when ten states ( Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom) signed the Treaty of London. With the aim “to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress” (Statute of the Council of Europe), the Council became the first pan-European organization. The Council of Europe now includes every European country except for Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Vatican City.

The Three Communities

In 1950, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands founded the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which merged the coal and steel sectors of member countries, ensuring that none could create weapons of war to use against the others. In 1957, these same six countries signed the Treaties of Rome, which created the European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).  The purpose of the EEC was to merge the economic markets of member countries, and Euratom merged the atomic energy industries of member countries.  In 1967 ECSC, EEC, and Euratom joined to become European Communities. In 1973 Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom (with Gibraltar) joined the European Communities. These countries were followed by Greece (in 1981), and Spain and Portugal (in 1987).

By Kolja21 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

The EU is Created

In 1993, the Treaty of Maastricht officially created the European Union, which consists of three pillars: “the European Communities, common foreign and security policy and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters” (Europa). The EU currently includes 28 countries. One goal of the Treaty of Maastricht was the creation of a common currency within the European Union. In 1999, the Euro became this common currency and the European Central Bank  was launched.

Financial Crisis

In September of 2008, the global financial crisis hit Europe and the rest of the world. Specifically, the financial recession affected the European Union by inciting what is known as the Eurozone Debt Crisis, wherein some member states were unable to repay or refinance government debts. This led some countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain) to receive bailouts from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank. Some countries, such as Greece, are still suffering economic decline and possible default. The causes and effects of the Eurozone crisis are complex and still being debated today.

What’s Next?

Join the Chai Wai discussion on March 12 to explore some of the current issues facing the European Union. Check out the resources below to study up before the event!

Web Resources

Europa – Official Website of the European Union

Eur-Lex Access to European Law

European Press Room – Europa

European Union – News – Guardian

Euro Debt Crisis Explained – Economics Help

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC Online Journals and Databases)

Demosthenes Ioannou, Patrick Leblond & Arne Niemann (2015) European integration and the crisis: practice and theory. Journal of European Public Policy, 22:2, 155-176.

Deutschmann, Christoph. (2014). The future of the European Union: A ‘Hayekian’ regime? European Journal of Social Theory, 17(3), 343–358.

Francis Cheneval, Sandra Lavenex & Frank Schimmelfennig (2015) Demoi-cracy in the European Union: principles, institutions, policies. Journal of European Public Policy, 22:1, 1-18.

Grecu, Silviu Petru; Margarit, Diana. (2014). The instability of the European Union? A quantitative approach. Eastern Journal of European Studies, 5(1), 21-37.

HUIDUMAC-PETRESCU, C., & POPA, A. C. (2014). WHAT WAS NOT RESOLVED BY THE ANTI-CRISIS STRATEGIES IN THE EUROPEAN UNION. Hyperion International Journal Of Econophysics & New Economy, 7(2), 369-377.

Books (Available at UIUC Library)

Toemmel, Ingeborg. (2014). The European Union: what it is and how it works. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan.

Baimbridge, Mark,Whyman, Philip. (2015). Crisis in the eurozone: causes, dilemmas and solutions. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan.

Champeau, Serge. (Eds.) (2015). The future of Europe :democracy, legitimacy and justice after the Euro crisis. London ; New York : Rowman & Littlefield International.

Chang, Michele,, Menz, Georg, Smith, Mitchell P.. (Eds.) (2015). Redefining European economic governanceLondon ; New York : Routledge.

Kelemen, R. Daniel,, Menon, Anand,Slapin, Jonathan B.. (Eds.) (2015). The European Union: integration and enlargement. Abingdon, Oxon, UK ; New York, NY : Routledge.

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World Maps and Worldview: Social and Political Implications

TrueSizeOfAfricaSmallMaps are our visual representations of the world, and they shape our understanding of the world in a lot of ways. While maps can be a wonderful teaching tool, helping us to visualize our world and our place in it, misrepresentations in maps can have profound effects on our worldview. From a historical perspective, maps from different points in time illustrate the mapmakers’ priorities – what did they find important enough to include, to emphasize, to depict as larger or smaller on the map? Historian Dirk Raat, in describing how Old World peoples created maps, states that “medieval Europeans and their New World counterparts organized space according to philosophical and religious principles” (285). Meaning that their maps not only represented land mass, but how they viewed themselves and their beliefs in relation to the land that they occupied. So from this early point, maps inherently held social and political weight.

In 1569, European mapmaker Gerhardus Mercator devised a new world map projection, which became hugely popular and is to this day a widely-used representation of the world. In the Mercator projection, straight lines on the map represent constant directions on the Earth’s surface, which is hugely helpful for navigational purposes (one of the big reasons the Mercator projection became so popular at its creation). The Mercator projection, however, while utilitarian, does not accurately depict area. The map stretches the parts of the world that are nearer to the North and South poles (including Europe and North America), making them appear larger than they truly are. When using a world map as a teaching tool for conceptualizing the world, the Mercator map can be problematic because it distorts the size of landmasses.

In the twentieth century, especially as many nations in the equatorial regions of the globe were gaining independence from imperial powers such as the United Kingdom and the United States, the Mercator projection began drawing criticism for its misrepresentation of land masses. Since many developing nations are near the equator and therefore represented as much smaller than their actual size, critics argued that a map that more accurately depicted true land mass was needed. New projections such as Goode’s Homolosine and the Gall-Peters Projection (among many others) depicted the world more accurately in terms of land mass, and have become a more popular way to teach world geography.

Nevertheless, many argue that ignorance of world geography (or as Kai Krause calls it, “immappancy”) is still prevalent, especially among first-world peoples. This image, The True Size of Africa*, by Krause, illustrates a point that has been discussed for decades about the implications of misrepresenting land mass area in world map projections. Krause’s map makes us stop and question our view of world geography, and what effects that view could have on social and political issues. This discussion is one that will likely continue for some time, and one that carries many implications in the realm of global studies. Check out the resources below to investigate this topic further.

* It is important to point out that Krause actually used the Mercator projection country shapes in his illustration, something that has drawn some criticism from cartographers.

Books at UIUC Library:

Johnson, Jenny Marie. (2003). Geographic information :how to find it, how to use it. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press.

Barber, Peter.Harper, Tom. (2010). Magnificent maps :power, propaganda and art. London : British Library.

Garfield, Simon. (2013). On the map : a mind-expanding exploration of the way the world looks. New York, N.Y. : Gotham Books.

Piper, Karen Lynnea. (2002). Cartographic fictions :maps, race, and identity. New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press.

Wood, Denis.Fels, John. (2008). The natures of maps :cartographic constructions of the natural world. Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

Articles:

Raat, W. (2004). Innovative Ways to Look at New World Historical Geography. History Teacher, 37(3), 281-306.

Stephens, David. (February 2002). Making Sense of Maps. In History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/maps/.

Walbert, David. (2010) Projections and Propaganda. In Map skills and higher-order thinking. Retrieved from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/mapping/6434

Awesome websites on maps and cartography:

Map Projections

BU African Studies Center – Teaching Africa – How Big is Africa?

Maps as Instruments of Propaganda

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