In our first seminar, the first modern languages seminar of the OxNet Course, we were introduced to the notion of European Intellectual Identity. Our discussion was led by Felix Slade from Pembroke College who opened questions to both the North West and London cohort of students which were simultaneously challenging and thought-provoking. Some of the preeminent questions that we both discussed and that I reflected on following the seminar were:
Is Europe an ideology?
Does Europe see itself as superior?
What is European Integration?
What is a European Metanarrative?
What is the difference between European assimilation and European integration?
What makes a person or place ‘European’ (not only its geographical boundaries)?
What are Europeans united by?
How can somewhere feel ‘European’ yet not be part of Europe?
Do British colonies have anything in common with Europe?
All of these questions, notions and concepts which we explored were particularly fascinating to examine and extended beyond the borders as seeing Europe as simply a ‘continent’. Instead we analysed how European history, values, ideas, languages and cultures all contribute to the European society we now have today. The first seminar was highly intriguing and I’m eager to further our study into ‘What it means to be European’.
By Shannon von Schoor