The Fall Semester began with, to borrow a phrase familiar to those of us who grew up watching too much American television in the 1970s and 80s, both the triumph of victory and the agony of defeat. On July 21st,we were thrilled to learn that our application to the US Department of Education for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) scholarships was approved. FLAS is a significant source of funding- -$978,788 over 4 years—that will allow dozens of IU undergraduate and graduate students to receive financial aid to study less commonly taught European languages like Norwegian, Dutch, Greek, Croatian, Bosnian, and Hungarian. It is a real boon to both our students and to the health of our less commonly taught language programs.
Just days after experiencing the thrill of FLAS application approval, however, we received the news that the National Resource Center portion of our Title VI application was not funded. We and our many partners had devoted a tremendous amount of energy to this application and felt that we had put our best foot forward. We were eager to start pursuing the wide-ranging outreach programs that we had proposed. The Department of Education, however, decided that it would only fund six Western European National Resource Centers this cycle—down from eight in the previous cycle—and we were one of the institutions that were left out.
In spite of this setback, EURO remains active in educational outreach. Colton Ames, EURO’s associate director, is still taking the lead role in the Digital Toolbox project (recently rebranded as “Windows to the World: Digital Artifacts for Global Educators”), a multi-center educational resource for K-12 teachers that bolsters international education by providing digital resources from IU collections and lesson plans targeted at specific curriculum standards and grades. Part of his work included a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Social Science Research Council to help expand the project and support teachers who are going to be using the site in their classrooms this spring. EURO also continues to actively partner with Vesna Dimitrieska, who coordinates Global Educational Initiatives for the School of Education, and with Laura Stachowski and Faridah Pawan, who are exploring ways to expand the international experiences available to education majors in the state of Indiana and beyond through the continued growth Global Gateway for Teachers and the development of short-term international experiences.
Our intellectual program this semester was diverse and interdisciplinary. A highlight was the inaugural lecture of the Decolonizing European Studies series, titled “Conversations on the Death of Elizabeth II: Reflecting on the UK’s Colonial Past and the Future of the Monarchy,” which featured Šumit Ganguly, Feisal Istrabadi, and Purnima Bose. Particularly interesting for me, personally, was the visit of chef and food anthropologist Nafsika Papacharalampous, which was organized in conjunction with the Department of Geography and EURO faculty affiliate Olga Kalentzidou. Papacharalampous gave a cooking demonstration in the Read Test Kitchen as well as a talk titled “’It smells like the village; I don’t want the village in my home’: Imaginations of Greek Rurality and Identity” that explored the changing nexus of cuisine and identity in contemporary Greece. EURO also continues to give graduate students a forum to present their research. This semester, Ariana Gunderson, who is a second-year doctoral student in Anthropology, was the highlight of our Fall Social. She presented part of her summer research project: photographic explorations—using both a refurbished Polaroid and a homemade pinhole camera—into the performative of food in Germany.
Last, we are gearing up for a busy spring semester. One highlight will be a panel on the 21st birthday of the euro, titled “The Euro Comes of Age?: Reflections on 21 Years of the Eurozone.” We will also be working on the next installment of the Decolonizing European Studies series, a new series called Reflections on European Democracy and, of course, our annual Midwest Model EU simulation. Colton and I are also bracing ourselves for another cycle of grant-writing focused on the EU’s various Jean Monnet Grants. If you have any ideas for an event or initiative that would fall under the rubric of a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence Grant, we welcome your input.
Wishing you a productive spring semester, with hopes that your winter break was relaxing, though brief!
Fall 2022 Curriculum Update
In addition to finding ways to continue our outreach, EURO has focused on curriculum development and bolstering enrollments in our academic programs by expanding our course offerings. This Fall, Colton Ames, EURO’s Associate Director, taught a new Curriculum course that draws on his background in Religious Studies, EURO-W 205 Religion in the European Union. The course, which enrolled 60 students, is designed as a Fall 2022 Update gateway course for our minor, and it has already borne in our efforts to expand our enrollments. EURO’s director, Frank Hess, is teaching a new course this semester, EURO-E 205 Introduction to Modern Greek Culture. He hopes to use this course to recruit students to both the Modern Greek and the European Studies minors. EURO is eager to begin offering similar courses focusing on aspects of culture, identity, and society in the European Union and are willing to entertain proposals for new courses offerings. EURO is also exploring ways to expand access to our Master of Arts degree by developing a 4 + 1 pathway toward the degree which will allow IU undergraduates to add a European Studies MA onto a relevant BA or BS with a year of additional coursework. We hope to use this degree pathway to recruit high quality IU undergraduates from HLS and relevant majors in the College and the professional schools.
Grants and Programming
February 15th, 2022 was the first day in over seven months that the EURO team was able to wake up and not think about our quadrennial grant application for the US Department of Education Title VI program. Since July 2021, at least a few hours of every day at EURO had been dedicated to preparing the nearly 300 pages of narratives, course lists, faculty CVs, and budgets that were submitted on February 14th. All those hours and the hard work of countless people resulted in a successful application for Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship funds, which amounts to nearly $1 million over the next four years. We are excited that the first cohort of EURO FLAS Fellows started this past August and are studying Arabic, Portuguese, Modern Greek, and Polish, and we are ready for another round of applicants this spring.
If last year was The Year of Title VI Grants, though, then this year is The Year of European Union Jean Monnet Grants. Named after Jean Monnet, dubbed “The Father of Europe” for his pioneering efforts in establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (the precursor of today’s European Union), the Jean Monnet grants support the study of Europe and the EU in universities around the world. IU has frequently been recognized for its strengths in European Studies – EURO has regularly been designated as a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (a designation we are applying to renew). With our applications for the Jean Monnet grants, EURO hopes to develop a study abroad opportunity that would take students to Brussels to learn about the EU’s organization and institutions; continue to grow our curriculum and draw in new students; support faculty and graduate student travel and research, and more!
Finally, EURO was also awarded $100,000 by the US National Endowment for the Humanities and the Social Science Research Council to continue the growth and development of the Digital Toolbox project (now rebranded as “Windows to the World: Digital Artifacts for Global Educators”). This has been an ongoing project alongside other area studies centers and is a way to connect K-12 educators with curriculum materials based on the global content in IU’s museums, collections, and archives.
Student Spotlight – Jack Rosswurm
Jack is a first year Master of Arts student with the Institute for European Studies. He is from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and attended IU Bloomington for his undergraduate degree in International Studies. His research interests include the foreign and security policy of Estonia and Finland, E.U. foreign policy, and German politics. Jack has advanced proficiency in German and intermediate knowledge of Estonian. In the future, he hopes to learn Finnish, Ukrainian, and Kazakh.
A little background
I’m from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have two beagles. I can speak English, German, and intermediate-level Estonian. I am an enormous fan of Star Wars (especially the Clone Wars series) and The Boys. I am always reading the news: state, national, and international.
Tell us a little about your undergraduate degree studies
I graduated from HLS at IU with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, with a concentration in diplomacy, security, and governance, and a minor in Germanic Studies. I think the biggest achievement of my undergraduate career was my senior thesis project. I showed how the domestic politics of individual EU member states has affected decisions of importance to the whole Union, sometimes in favor of one member state and at the expense of others.
Why did you choose the Institute for European Studies for your graduate program?
I chose EURO because I knew that I wanted to study the European Union and European states more closely, and the Institute for European Studies is the premier center for research on Europe in Indiana. Additionally, the small size of the institute was appealing. I was looking for a program where I could feel a sense of community with my fellow graduate students and the program directors, and I am pleased that I have found exactly that.
Tell us a bit about your research interests
While I am still fleshing out my research plans, I do have some broad interests: Baltic and Finnish foreign policy and security, EU foreign policy, and how the Baltic states and Finland play a role in the formation of EU security policy with respect to Russia, the Gulf of Finland, and the Baltic Sea.
You are a Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship recipient. Congratulations! Tell us a little bit about your language of study (continued)
Thanks! My FLAS award allows me to study Estonian, the national language of Estonia. Estonian is not an Indo-European language, which already separates it from the most commonly studied languages such as Spanish, German, or French. Estonian is a Finno-Ugric language …meaning that it shares similarities with Finnish, and more distantly, with Hungarian. Studying the language has been challenging but immensely rewarding. Learning Estonian has forced me to change the way I think about language and use a different logic when constructing sentences. I think my favorite part about Estonian that makes it unique is the post-position. In English, we have prepositions, such as in, about, at, etc. In Estonian, these positions are not their own words, but instead are tacked onto the end of the thing whose position is being described. For example, in English we say, “The computer is in the bedroom”. In Estonian, we say, “Magamistoas on arvuti”. Fun, right?!
In your opinion, why is it important to study Europe?
If Russia’s illegal and malicious war on Ukraine does not demonstrate why we need to study Europe, I do not know what does. The European Union is the United States’ strongest ally, and it is only surpassed in economic power by the United States. Understanding the European Union is a matter not just of national security for the United States, but also critical to the international community. The EU is not a state, but an international organization made up of many sovereign states. As such, it is critical that we study and develop a deeper understanding of the parts of the European Union that are driving its economy, defense, and foreign policy. Russia has made this abundantly clear. Furthermore, it has become apparent that the voices of Eastern European states, who warned the world far in advance of Russia’s increasingly aggressive actions, have been ignored to the detriment of the global economy and the security of the European continent.
Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Gabriel Popescu
Gabriel Popescu is Professor of Geography in the department of Political Science at Indiana University South Bend. Prof. Popescu is originally from Romania, where he attended the University of Bucharest during the 1990s momentous social and political transformations in Eastern Europe. He serves as a member of EURO’s affiliated faculty as well as the EURO advisory board. Prof. Popescu describes himself as a “political geographer with interests in the ongoing influence of space on the relationships between states and societies.” He has recently taught courses focusing on geopolitics and globalization.
Professor Popescu first moved to Indiana in 2005 for an appointment as an ABD at Ball State University, and after the defense of his dissertation the following year he joined the Indiana University South Bend faculty to teach political geography. In his research, Professor Popescu has long been interested in the ongoing influence of space/geography on the relationships between politics and social life. Considering that the nation-state has been commonly imagined as the main political entity to divide the globe, national territories have become taken for granted as discrete containers of social relations and as natural divisions between people. Professor Popescu’s research agenda has been to understand how actors beyond the nation-state actively shape social interaction in space.
His recent scholarship focuses on examining how new developments in information technology are redefining the nature of contemporary borders and territorial institutions, and how these transformations affect citizenship rights, identity, and the ways in which people relate to space. He is studying the circumstances in which biometric and wireless technologies are routinely embedded into bodies, travel documents, phones, and drones in order to enable the circulation of flows and to achieve control of mobility at the smallest possible scale. He finds that the new kinds of political and social geographies that are emerging today can be better understood by employing notions of topological space, defined by nodes, connections, and “portals”, which is qualitatively different from the modern notion of Euclidean space defined by proximity and distance decay.
Professor Popescu has examined the connections between digitization and topology in his book Bordering and Ordering the Twenty-First Century: Understanding Borders (Rowman & Littlefeld, 2011), and during a subsequent sabbatical residency at the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies in Marseille, France. There, he conducted a study entitled “Rearticulating Border Spaces: Technology, Bodies and Networks in the Age of Mobility” and became involved in the “Anti – Atlas of Borders” project, an interdisciplinary research program driven by an approach at the arts-science interface.
The project is based on the idea that the ways in which we draw borders on maps structure the ways we think and act upon the world. Collaborations between scientists and artists in academic seminars and art exhibitions illustrate technologically-enabled flows and instantaneous time-space connections in ways that go beyond drawing borderlines around territories on world maps.
Professor Popescu’s latest project investigates the movement of refugees unfolding in Europe, and refugees’ unprecedented reliance on digital technologies such as GPS, cellular phones, and social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, that help them navigate European space and decode a maze of European borders. In pursuit of his research interests, Professor Popescu has travelled widely around the world and has secured grants from various national and European Union institutions. In this sense, he has been a visiting professor at universities in Grenoble and Toulon, France; Hamburg, Germany; and a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Populations and Socio-economic Policies in Luxembourg. Professor Popescu says that Indiana University has played a key role in supporting his scholarship, providing access to grants and exchange programs that have enabled him to stay connected with networks of international scholars. He is a member of both the Institute for European Studies and the Russian and East European Institute.
At IUSB, Professor Popescu has taught a variety of courses ranging from undergraduate classes to graduate seminars, and has led study abroad programs to Mexico. His lectures on Political, Economic, World, and Human Geography, as well as his seminars on Global Cities and Networks, and on International Public Affairs and Global Governance, incorporate his research interests as much as possible. In classroom interactions with his students he seeks to help them gain knowledge about other places and cultures, as he believes that familiarity with difference is essential to foster critical thinking about their own place in the world, and to understand how their daily lives are inextricably connected with others in faraway places. The biggest rewards of all in his teaching is when he sees his students using the information they acquire to make sense of their own topics of interest, and when students’ questions about various issues they learn about in his classes make him think of a certain topic in a new way.
Remembering our friend, Esther Ham
Esther was a cherished colleague and one of EURO’s most important supporters. Appointed to both Germanic Studies and EURO, Esther embodied the best values of our broad community. As a member of EURO’s Advisory Board, Esther played a crucial role in EURO’s successes in our grant activities and the development of partners and collaborations in the Netherlands. Esther was also a warm and generous friend. Her and Peter’s annual Dutch New Year’s Celebrations, complete with the oliebollen and huzarensalade, were always a highlight of the holiday season. Our thoughts are with her loved ones that she has left behind.