Europe matters. It has made significant contributions to the world: intellectual, artistic, political, spiritual, economic, and scientific, among others. However, it has also been an arena for much conflict and struggle – racial, religious, political – with implications far beyond its borders, and it has subjected most of the world to imperial rule. Knowing about Europe gives insight into past and present and their interconnectedness, and helps us imagine the future.
At the same time, for centuries the question of what constitutes “Europe” has been up for debate. Is Europe a geographical entity? A political construct, delineated by institutions such as the European Union? Or is Europe a cultural construct that emerged from a synergy of late Roman influences, the Christian religion, and the legacy of the Germanic migrations? The European Studies minor approaches the study of Europe through a wide range of disciplinary vantage points to help students find their own answers to the complex and often controversial questions of what constitutes Europe and why it matters.
European Studies minors can take advantage of course offerings in a variety of departments, including but not limited to art history, classics, economics, English, history, modern languages and literatures, music, philosophy, political science, sociology, and theater, dance and media studies. Students are guided in defining their learning goals, their course selections, and in possible study abroad options by the faculty members contributing to the minor.