The aim of this project is to explore, discuss and publicise some of the drawn-out narratives and sentiments that at different times have aided or compromised the imagining and workings of Europe. This will be achieved by engaging with and unpacking some of the constitutive stories of identity and meaning that in the past and present have helped bring together and divide Europeans.
This is a time of charged sentiments in the United Kingdom towards 'Europe'. The sentiments draw on tacit and enduring assumptions of community and belonging that are poorly understood, yet pivotal in shaping public response, as the recent referendum has shown. These assumptions are the spring well of equally charged, though perhaps different, sentiments of Europe elsewhere on the continent. Their nature, legacies, and political purchase need to be made more explicit if we are to respectfully and diplomatically negotiate the varied affects held not just around the United Kingdom but also by other Europeans.
The British Academy organised a flagship international conference to begin this new project on 4 November 2016, video highlights of which are available.