"Images and Myths of Europe: the Western and the Eastern perspectives"
Florence, 10 - 13 Dec 2007
Promoted by: Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation
Palazzo Coppini Via del Giglio, 10
50123 - Florence (Italy) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Michalski Bohdan Warsaw School of Social Psychology, University College email@example.com
Images and Myths of Europe: the Western and the Eastern Perspectives (Florence, March 2008)
The topics and the purposes of the conference and the issues that it will address:
Is the myth of Europe merely a love story involving man and woman, or does it speak about the roots of European civilisation? Could a legend about the infatuation of the bull-Zeus with the princess-Europe become a pretext for reflections on European identity? These questions simply had to be asked by those who in 2002 saw the exhibition featured at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Another issue provoked by the show on the myth of Europe was whether Central-Eastern European artists reached for this classical motif as frequently as their western colleagues. Regrettably, the 2002 Florence exhibition did not offer solutions to the thus posed problems. Among the 281 works amassed for the Uffizi display not a single one originated from the region to the east of the (fortunately non-existent) Berlin Wall or more precisely the Odra and the Łaba. Surprisingly, the exhibition did not broach the presence of the myth of Europe in that part of the Continent even though it coincided with the access treaty signed by Central-Eastern European states (as well as Malta and Cyprus), and was to commemorate the eastward expansion of the European Union! All the above mentioned queries have acted as an impulse for our CONFERENCE. They also pertain to yet anther topical problem, namely, the unity of Europe.
A depiction of the myth of Europe by the German painter Johannes Grüzke – ”Woman on a Bull” (Europa auf dem Stier, auf der Mauer balancierend. Vorwärts oder rückwärts, 1976) - makes an outright reference to Central-East Europe. The bull is shown walking on the Berlin Wall, while Europe, straddling the animal, points her hand to the east. The Grüzke canvas won first prize at a competition entitled “Where does the history of the world reveal itself?“ and is the property of the Berlin Wall Museum - (Mauermuseum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie). Grüzke sees the Berlin Wall from the western side, the symbolic gesture of the Europe’s hand is thus made towards the “great absent”, the East, the “black hole”. What sort of symbols stir the imagination of artists in this strange land, undeciphered by the West?
The foundation myth shared by some of those countries during the first stage of Union integration included, firstly, Franco-German conciliation and, secondly, economic reasons and the democratisation of Spain, Portugal and Greece.
After 1 May 2004 are they sufficient to merge West and East Europe into a single whole? It appears that the original integration myth has already fulfilled its task. The presence of new members in the Union demands a new historical myth, a legend which would define anew that what is truly capable of merging all Europeans together and show them the direction which they are to follow. Will Europe find such a common denominator? This is an increasingly urgent task since the European monolith is already starting to disclose its first cracks (such as the refusal to enact a common constitution). Will the Europeans be capable of setting up a single European nation which, according to a definition proposed by the constitutionalist Ernest-Wolfgang Böckenförd, is created to a lesser degree by biological-natural factors and to a larger extent by living memory and consciousness transmitted from generation to generation as well as by shared hopes, jointly experienced suffering and the contempt expressed by others, anticipated pride and, finally, professed myths.
In an introduction to proceedings of the conference ‘Images and Myths of Europe’, organised in 2002 by Luisa Passerini at the European University Institute EUI in Florence, Romano Prodi wrote: "These ‘Images and Myths of Europe’ remind us that tomorrow’s European Union cannot be based exclusively on economics and that, if Europe is to become a positive example for the whole world, it is perhaps necessary to place greater emphasis on ethical and aesthetic values...looking beyond day-to-day concerns, however elevated these may be, is not the European Union too inclined to neglect these values? I am deeply convinced, and profoundly worried, that this is the case”.
The contents of our conference attempt to look in to the past and ahead into the nearest future, and pertain to problems which during the twenty first century found themselves in the very centre of the European discourse. The programme conception of the conference in question assumes that economic questions, albeit up to now the most prominent in the process of integration, should no longer conceal other aspects of unification, which today have been placed in the forefront and will prove decisive for the success or failure of the project aimed at unifying our Continent. It is precisely ”the deficit of joint symbols” and the creation of a European nation as well as multicultural identity, collective security, and joint European preventive diplomacy, and not customs barriers or the free market, that in this century will most propobly occupy the minds of Europeans.
APPLICATION FORM on http://www.fondazione-delbianco.org/seminari/registration/form.asp?idw=68
Arrival and accommodation: Viva Hotel Alexander, Florence.
16.00-18.00 The Roundtable of the European Universities Consortium (University of Florence).
9.00-9.30 Opening of the Preliminary Research Seminar: Del Bianco Foundation & Prof. Michalski with Beata di Biasio, Ph.D.
Beata di Biasio, Ph.D. (Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland): The Myth of Europe in the Polish XX Century Paintings: in Search for European Identity.
9.30-14.00 Plenary sessions with presentations of participants (max 15 min. for each presentation). PLACE: Hotel Alexander, Primavera Hall.
Prof. Joanna Nowicki (Université Marne-la-Vallée, Paris, France): Mythes et symboles dans les cultures de l’Europe Médiane.
Prof. Giovanna Tomassucci (University of Piza, Italy): Idea of Europe in Mickiewicz’s and Mazzini’s writings
Prof. Jerzy Miziołek (University of Warsaw & Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland): The Polish Cincinnatus: in Search for National Identity in XVIII and XIX Century.
Prof. Marek Haftek (CNRS, Lyon, France): East-West Brain Draining or the Law of Communicating Vessels. An Everlasting Quest for the Optimal Solution.
Prof. Dariusz Czaja (Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland): Venice of two Worlds: Europe West and East.
9.00-14.00 Plenary sessions with presentations of participants (max 15 min. for each presentation). PLACE: Hotel Alexander, Primavera Hall.
Prof. Czeslaw Porebski (Jagiellonian University & Tischner European University, Krakow, Poland): The Idea of Europe and European Borders.
Prof. Zbigniew Benedyktowicz (Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, Poland): Coming Back Home. Italian Experience of Tarkowski and Kantor.
Prof. Wojtek Lamentowicz (Academy of Economic and Political Relations, Gdynia): Two Views on the Identity of Russia: Western and Polish.
Prof. Michel Henri Kowalewicz (CNRS, Montpellier & MSH i EHESS, Paris, France): Mirage russe au XVIIIe: européanisation ou simple hétéroplastie d’une culture?
Prof. Ingrid Hudabiunigg (Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany): European Culture Capitals - Representation of Europe 's Common Culture?
Prof. Wawrzyniec Konarski (Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland): Ethnoregionalistic Movements in Europe: Reshaped or Disfunctional Image of European Future?
Prof. Bohdan Michalski (Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland): The Divided Memory of Europe – Will Europe Succumb to Disintegration?
Prof. Milan Prodanovic (University of Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro): Visualisation of the Myth of Europe after Balkans: Towards post-traditional identity?
Prof. Anna Czajka (Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy): La comunicazione estetica tra le culture.
Marcin Fronia, M.A., (Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland): The Myth of Common Security and the Development of European Policy Strategies.
Jakub Zajaczkowski, Ph.D. (Warsaw University, Poland): The European Union as a Global Actor at the Turn of 21st Century – reality and myths.
Kamila Proninska, Ph.D. (Warsaw University, Poland): Perception and myths of energy security in the EU-Russia relations.
Kamil Zajączkowski, M.A. (Centre for Europe, University of Warsaw): The European Union and sub-Sahara Africa in the beginning of the 21st century – perception, myths, and reality.
Radoslaw Stanczewski (Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland): Europe as Cristal Palace.
Kasper Bajon (Warsaw University, Poland): The Myth of Europe in Milosz’s and Herbert’s writings.
19.00 Dinner offered by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation
Colleagues from the Florence University invited to participate in our Prelimanary Research Seminary:
Prof. Luciano Segreto, Prof. Giovanni Becchelloni, Prof. Marcello Verga, Prof. Marta Petricioli, Prof. Ettore Recchi, Prof. Mauro Agnioletti, Prof. Gerard Wolff, Prof. Joseph Conors and The Sopraintendente of Uffizi - Cristina Acidini Lucchinat.