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The Crises in the European Union and Germany, 2008–2020

April 15, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Hartmut Kaelble is a Senior Professor of Social History and served for many years as the Director of the Department of Economic and Social History at Humboldt University, Berlin. He earned his Ph.D. in History from the Free University Berlin and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Paris I – Sorbonne. Much of Prof. Kaelble’s research has focused on the idea of a European identity as well as on transnational identities in the twentieth century. His many publications include Europäer über Europa (Frankfurt, 2001), The European Way: European Societies in the 19th and 20th Centuries (New York, 2004), Selbstverständnis und Gesellschaft der Europäer, and Aspekte der sozialen und kulturellen Europäisierung im späten 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt, 2008), co-edited with Martin Kirsch.

The talk is moderated by Dr. Konrad Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization in the UNC Department of History.

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This talk reflects on themes discussed in Professor Jarausch’s forthcoming book, Embattled Europe: A Progressive Alternative. Book summary:

Is the European Union in decline? Recent history, from the Greek debt crisis to Brexit, has led many observers to argue that the EU’s best days are behind it. Over the past decade, right-wing populists have come to power in Poland, Hungary, and beyond—many of them winning elections using strident anti-EU rhetoric. At the same time, Russia poses a continuing military threat, and the rise of Asia has challenged the EU’s economic power. But in Embattled Europe, renowned European historian Konrad Jarausch counters the prevailing pessimistic narrative of European obsolescence with a rousing yet realistic defense of the continent—one grounded in a fresh account of its post–1989 history and an intimate understanding of its twentieth-century horrors.

An engaging narrative and probing analysis, Embattled Europe tells the story of how the EU emerged as model of democratic governance and balanced economic growth, adapting to changing times while retaining its value system. The book describes the EU’s admirable approach to the environment, social welfare, immigration, and antitrust regulation. And it presents underappreciated European success stories—including Denmark’s transition to a green economy, Sweden’s restructuring of its welfare state, and Spain’s transition to pluralistic democracy.

Embattled Europe makes a powerful case that Europe—with its peaceful foreign policy, social welfare solidarity, and environmental protection—offers the best progressive alternative to the military adventurism and rampant inequality of plutocratic capitalism and right-wing authoritarianism.

This lecture is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. It is part of the European Alternative lecture series organized by Professor Konrad Jarausch under the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence housed at the UNC Center for European Studies.

This event is also part of UNC CES’ Europe Week 2021, and is co-sponsored by the UNC Curriculum in Global Studies, the UNC Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense, the UNC Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, the UNC Department of Romance Studies, UNC Global, and the UNC Russian Flagship Program.

EU flag with the text co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Event Photos

Konrad Jarausch introduces Hartmut Kaelble.
Hartmut Kaelble speaks to a Zoom audience.
Hartmut Kaelble speaks to a Zoom audience.

Flyer advertising talk by Hartmut Kaelble on April 15 2021.


April 15, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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