“The “New” and “Old” Europe. Revisiting the European East-West Divide”
Dr. habil. Jan Sowa
After the fall of the Soviet Bloc almost 30 year ago it seemed the division of Europe into the West and East was overcome and all major differences would grad-ually disappear in the process of catching-up and modernization in the East according to the patterns provided by the West. Reunification of Germany and enlargement of European Union seemed to confirm this optimistic scenario. However, more recent polit-ical developments – especially the so-called refugee crisis and the plan to establish “two-speed EU” – prove that this division has been much more solid and enduring than it might have seemed. It hardly comes puzzling if we look at the East-West divide in the perspective of long duration put forward by such scholars as Fernand Braudel or Immanuel Wallerstein. As a matter of fact, it is the most long-lasting division within the European continent with parts of nowadays Ger-many and Poland playing the role of borderlands between the East and the West. In my talk, I’ll sketch a general history of this old cultural and social border and point to its im-plications in contemporary politics. Jan Sowa (born 1976) is a dialectical materialist social theorist and researcher. He studied at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland and University Paris VIII in Saint-Denis, France. He holds a PhD in sociology and a habilitation in cultural studies. His research and teaching assign-ments took him to several universities in Poland and abroad, recently, University of São Paulo and Warsaw University. He is a member of the Committee on Cultural Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Moderation: Dr. habil. Mykhailo Minakov