University of Oregon

European Identities and Cultures Seminar

Program Overview

The European Cultures and Identities Seminar will focus on two broad kinds of contemporary challenges to national identity that are common to all European countries: from the European Union (EU), and from immigrants. 

Over the past 50 years, Western European countries have delegated a great deal of their governing power to the EU level. Many Europeans feel that this process has weakened their historically distinct national identities. This is no accident: one of the original goals of the construction of the EU was to weaken aggressive nationalism. Still, not everyone in Europe sympathized with this agenda, and many react against it today. We will look at the reasons for anti-EU sentiment, and also more broadly at how national identities still stand as obstacles to further European integration.

Over the past 30 or 40 years European countries have also taken in millions of immigrants—and unlike earlier waves of immigration, most came from outside Europe. Thus it is a relatively recent historical development that European countries have substantial internal communities of non-white, non-Christian, “non-Europeans.” This change often poses a very visible challenge to traditional views of national identity; some Europeans feel that immigrant neighborhoods of Paris, Berlin, or Amsterdam no longer look “French,” “German,” or “Dutch,” and resent these incursions. Setting such cultural differences against a background of high unemployment (with immigrants often accused of “stealing jobs”) and international politics post 9/11 makes for a good deal of potential conflict. We will look at some of the history of colonialism behind much of the pattern of immigration, how immigration is affecting these European societies, and at the racist and xenophobic responses of extremist political parties.

The  seminar will take place on location, in the following cities: Berlin, Germany; Stuttgart, Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Paris, France. You will learn firsthand from European lecturers about how European unification works and what European identity means, and then visit refugee asylums in Germany to see how these ideas are further complicated. This program offers a hands-on approach to conceptualizing important contemporary issues facing Europe, and the world, today.

Academic Details

The European Cultures and Identities Seminar is a multimodal program, combining online course work with a very intensive, short residency in Europe in order to allow you to learn about some of the major challenges to national identities in Europe today. The seminar focuses on two major sociopolitical and cultural shifts that are stretching European national identities to their limits: the challenge of a European identity that is posed by the European Union (EU) and its infrastructure, and the challenge of waves of immigrants from cultures outside of Europe. These tectonic changes in the cultural, social, and political landscape of Europe pose formidable challenges for national identities based on simpler notions of shared geography, language, and heritage. This seminar explores what these challenges mean for various European national identities.

The OXEU 388 EURO: European Identities course can be applied toward requirements for the European Studies minor, for SSC and IC.

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Housing Description

Because this program travels between multiple sites, you will live in several different housing arrangements during the course of the residency in Europe. Accommodations will include shared residence in hostels or other group housing accommodations. In most situations, you will rely on local grocers and/or restaurants to obtain your meals (as reflected in the program budget). Whenever possible, housing will be in or near the city center, facilitating access to the city's key resources during free time.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearPriority DeadlineFinal DeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.