Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Full Court Press in Europe

Posted on September 13, 2012 in Patterns of Integration, Uncategorized

Now that August vacations are over in Europe, the European Movement  is back in the game, pressing hard for economic and political unification, making headlines. Here are some of the recent statements:

European Central Bank – Mario Draghi announces a plan to buy short-term sovereign debt with no “ex ante” limit but under certain “conditions.”

German Constitutional Court – Issued a provisional ruling (full ruling TBA) that clears the way for Germany to ratify, with conditions, a permanent bank bailout fund for the eurozone: the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Klaus Regling – As the head of the EFSF and the likely head of the ESM (which would eventually replace it), stated that “the euro is irreversible” and that “resolutions proposed by the European Commission can be adopted even against a majority of euro area countries [which] reduces the possibility of political interference significantly.”

Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, in his State of the (E)Union Address 2012, offered what he called a “Decisive Deal for Europe” which “requires the completion of a deep and genuine economic union, based on a political union.”

A full-court press in short against Europe’s centrifugal tendencies, such as … a third Greek bailout.

Waiting for Karlsruhe

Posted on September 4, 2012 in Patterns of Integration

The German Constitutional Court is expected next week to issue its judgment on whether the proposed European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is congruent with Germany’s Basic Law. A “no” would be clear but cause widespread consternation. Even a “maybe” or “partially” will considerably lengthen the process of jointly addressing Europe’s (massive) sovereign debt problems, insufficient economic growth, record unemployment and capital outflows, the fragility of the eurozone, and the political integration of Europe 27.  The Court’s ruling is expected on 12 September.

The following week, on 19 September, faculty fellows of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies will hold a joint panel discussion of these topics at Notre Dame. Not without good reason is the Nanovic Institute’s film series this semester entitled “Power and Fragility.”

Schäuble and European Integration

Posted on June 25, 2012 in Patterns of Integration

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was quite candid recently in Spiegel Online  about the nature of European politics:

If we had always said we would only take steps toward integration if they would immediately work 100 percent, we would never have advanced by so much as a meter. That’s why we wanted to introduce the euro first and then quickly make the decisions needed for a political union.

He sounds very like Jean Monnet, whose preferred method of political engrenage has long been adopted (tacitly or not) by the European political elite. So too evidently has been Monnet’s supranationalism. Schäuble:

So far, member states have almost always had the final say in Europe. This cannot continue.

At the end of this week, the leaders of four major European institutions plan to present concrete proposals for the relinquishment of more  sovereignty, in a variety of areas, to Brussels.

Faith and Migration in Europe

Posted on March 9, 2012 in The Movement of Peoples

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has just published a report on the religious affiliation of international migrants.  Pew’s research shows that there are vastly more Christian immigrants in Europe than Muslims (26 million, or 56% of the foreign-born population, versus 13 million). However, if one excludes internal migration within the European Union, the shares are much closer: 42% Christian to 39% Muslim, respectively.

Here’s the spotlight on Europe.

Steinbichler at Notre Dame

Posted on March 9, 2012 in Film, Social and Political Geographies, Students

Hans Steinbichler just spent a few days with us to discuss his work and present his new film, DAS BLAUE VON HIMMEL (“Promising the Moon”). We are still getting excited emails from faculty and students who met him and were inspired by his film and his combination of passion and intelligence.

Hans had been here ten years ago to make a short film about Vittorio Hösle, a philosopher from Germany who has now been at Notre Dame for many years. Returning after a decade, he marveled at the tools and resources available at Notre Dame. But more than that, he felt inspired by the community of students and scholars who explored so eagerly with him the history and complexity of Heimat (roughly, the concept of “home” as in “homestead” or “homeland”), the relationship between memory and forgiveness, of history and place, of legacies in German film, of acting and filmmaking technique, and the potential of film as a medium, especially at a university. In short, Hans excited everyone who met him.

We look forward to seeing him and his work at Notre Dame again soon.

European Sports and Society

Posted on March 9, 2012 in Patterns of Integration

At the Nanovic Institute, we are no strangers to sports. We certainly noticed that the US soccer team beat Italy 1-0 in an exhibition game on 29 February 2012 in Genoa, Italy. Clint Dempsey, an American career scoring leading in England’s Premier League, scored in the 55th minute with an assist from Jozy Altidore. In 78 years (11 games), the Americans had been 0-7-3 against Italy and outscored 32-4. (Ouch.) This was the first time the US beat Italy. Could this be a tiny cultural watershed? Notre Dame is a bastion of collegiate sports in America and also bastion of the Humanities — yet the two cultures rarely mix. It would be interesting, we think, to bring them together more often.

Michelangelo Frammartino

Posted on March 2, 2012 in Events, Film, Opinion, Religion & Secularization

Every semester the Nanovic Institute organizes a European film series which galvanizes what has come to be a sizable audience. Last semester, the series was guest curated by film producer Leslee Udwin (a friend of the Institute) and focused on Europe, Beyond Borders. This semester, as is our practice  every other semester, we pull together a Best of Recent European Film to keep the series fresh and current.

The first film of this semester was Michelangelo Frammartino’s QUATTRO VOLTE (“The Four Times”).

ND Italianists, always in piazza, were out in full force for this one. John Welle (Professor of Italian) gave a gentle introduction which set the tone for this unusual film, which is nearly silent, poetic, and has no human dialogue. Frammartino’s use of Pythagoras’s theory of the fourfold transmigration of the soul (hence the title) made me care about the shepherd, the sheep, the tree, and (yes) charcoal. How is this possible? By following how one is shown to mingle with the other.

There is something medieval about this film, not only in its intuition of the Great Chain of Being, but also in its cinematography. Several fixed-camera shots are composed so that you follow movement on the screen as if you were following a narrative placed on a two-dimensional surface, as in a gothic painting. Frammartino’s shots are beautifully composed. I wouldn’t be surprised if many were consciously or unconsciously arranged in Golden Sections. (He does have a background in architecture.) You have to watch the film in a different way. It is organized by repetition. Props to Frammartino for taking these kinds of risks.

It’s great for students looking for fresh ways of thinking about the kind of experience one can have in a cinema.