Note from the Director
Director: Randall Halle
I’m delighted that you’ve found your way to this webpage and to this message. It means that you have interest in our program and the truly unique intellectual opportunity it represents.
Of course the University of Pittsburgh is the place where the new cutting edge PhD program Critical European Culture Studies would emerge. Pitt was the original home of the Council for European Studies. Pitt established the first Cultural Studies Program. Pitt’s Film Studies is a first-generation program. And so once again we move in a vanguard of thought.
Participants in Critical European Culture Studies take up the question of Europe not as Eurocentrics or Europhilics but to offer new horizons of thought. Among the world’s transnational unions the EU distinguishes itself. Most multilateral unions are based on free trade agreements, like NAFTA. Few strive for political coordination, like the United Nations. The EU has, however, a commitment to accomplish economic, political, and cultural union. Yet in the study of the EU, culture is the least explored. Until the founding of the CECS PhD program, the impact of the EU on culture and cultural production was examined by individual scholars. At Pitt we have a collective and institutional commitment to drive research forward.
Let us be clear that the EU is not Europe. But because of the EU, the idea of Europe has changed. European union, the forces of globalization, and the material relations that form the fabric of Europe have transformed and along with them global, transnational, national, regional, and local relations and identifications have changed, intensifying some while destabilizing others. And as a result the study of Europe, the study of the long history of Europe, the Age of Empires, the colonized world, the Mediterranean, the Hansa, and the long durée of world systems has changed.
The colleagues in the CECS program have training in multiple disciplines from Africana to Theater Arts, from literary to policy studies, with emphasis on humanistic and social scientific methodologies. We are a rich set of scholars developing new directions in European Studies. As a scholar, I have spent a quarter century focused on Europeanization as cultural process and social philosophy. In my research I have focused on films and film production, national and European cultural policy. I have written about different ways to map and organize societies, to write histories, to imagine the possibilities of this world anew. I began with a focus on national film and have seen my horizons of investigation expand. Each of us is at a forefront of scholarly insights I would ask you, what are the horizons of your thought?