The study of Europe, and its role in the world today, is a story of both tragedy and triumph. From the ashes of centuries of continental conflict through two World Wars and finally into integration by invitation, the European continent has taken what some have deemed the first tentative steps away from the jealously guarded system of sovereign independent states. With each shaky step away from its near five-hundred-year-old origins in the bosom of Kantian ideals and the Westphalia system (see works cited forPerpetual Peaceby Immanuel Kant; the Westphalia system will be discussed in Unit 1), the continent finds itself in conflict with the very nature of its original intent. Over the past half century, we have seen Europe move away from the world of nation-states and embrace the still largely undefined and constantly evolving idea of member-states.Yet, Europe and the many states within her bounds also guard their position within the realm of international society. With states flinching away from cultural encroachment and protecting traditional (and often nationalistic) values, the European experiment has many challenges ahead of it still. Even as the debate between “pooled sovereignty” (the idea of sharing decision-making power between nation-states) and a “common market” (the idea of eliminating or reducing trade barriers and having a common approach to external trade within a group of nation-states) winds itself to a shaky but predicted close, the idea of Europe has taken on new meaning with fast growing minorities, the inclusion of much of the former Soviet Eastern Bloc, the aging of social capitalism, and questions of what it means to be a European and how Europe positions itself in a globalized world.This course will examine the European experiment, paying particular attention to its process of integration into the most powerful supranational entity to have ever existed: the European Union. We will look at this process and a sampling of its key component historical and political units with a few particular questions in mind: Why has this happened in Europe and not elsewhere in the world? Why is it happening now? How has this process impacted the way the world does business? What possible conclusion can we expect?The course is divided into four broadly connected yet unique sections that will help us along our journey toward understanding how Europe works. In Unit One, we will examine how Europe emerged from the Wars of Religion and developed into the system of sovereign states that eventually, through centuries of conflict, would become the Europe we know today. This will provide important insight into why Europe willingly united despite numerous efforts to accomplish the goal by force. In Unit Two, we will look at the broadening and deepening of the European Union in the post-World War II environment. As part of this unit, we will touch on the key institutions that define the EU and the key policies from which European states have willingly pooled their sovereignty. Unit Three offers a sampling of the major states that make up the EU, or, as in the case of Russia and Turkey, help define larger European dynamics. We will divide this section into “Old” and “New” to delineate traditional centers of European power from emerging states within modern European politics. Finally, in Unit Four, the course will take on a sample of important contemporary issues that the EU and Europe face. From the graying of much of Western Europe to integration issues facing minority populations, this section hopes to tackle many of the challenges that stand in the way of the next steps in European Integration. We will end this final unit, and the course, by examining the idea of European identity and asking how Europe’s post-modern ideals may challenge to the modern world.
Days of the Week:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
- Level of Difficulty: All Levels
- Size: One-on-One
- Cost: Free
- Institution: Saylor
- Topics: General Business