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2017 Conference

National Stereotyping and Cultural Identities in recent European Crisis

An international and interdisciplinary conference of the ‘Identities in Transformation’ College Research Theme in conjunction with the Coimbra Group Social Sciences and Humanities Working Group.

Serious economic, political, and societal crises have shaken Europe in recent years.  Within these, and contributing to them, politicians, journalists, and other commentators across Europe have revived, revitalised, and instrumentalised deeply engrained and predominantly divisive patterns of national stereotyping and othering. These patterns can be equally observed in Brexit and the financial crisis, in the Ukraine conflict, in anxieties and controversies around increased migration, and in the rise of populist neo-national parties and movements.

Narratives of culture clash and conflict such as the North-South divide, the East-West conflict, or the antagonism between Catholicism and Protestantism can be traced back to political and cultural fault lines going back centuries, or even millennia. They draw on historical myth, cultural memories, constructed self- and hetero-images, perceived and projected behavioural patterns, alleged cultural identities and stereotypes of national characteristics.

This conference seeks to investigate these crucial cultural dimensions behind recent European crises. It aims to interpret and critique these crisis discourses, to assess their impact, and to consider counter strategies. Experts from fourteen countries across Europe will interrogate the uses and abuses of stereotypes and narratives of othering in crisis discourse through analytic approaches from fields as varied as cultural history, international relations, political science, translation studies and literary analysis. The critical methodologies and historic perspectives of experts from a variety of disciplines offer a deeper understanding of the cultural roots of such discursive instruments of cultural and political crisis as well as new insight into their application.

The keynote speakers at the conference are leading international pioneers in their respective disciplines: Ruth Wodak in Critical Discourse Analysis, Stefan Berger in Historiography, Joep Leerssen in Imagology, and Wulf Kansteiner in Cultural Memory Studies.

The conference is a flagship event of Trinity College Dublin’s interdisciplinary Research Theme, ‘Identities in Transformation’. It is organised in conjunction with the Social Sciences and Humanities Working Group of the Coimbra Group, a pan-European network of leading and long-standing European research universities.

The organisers wish to acknowledge the generous support of Dr. Beate Schuler, one of the principal philanthropic benefactors of Trinity College Dublin and an ardent supporter of the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute.

Conference Organisers:

Professor Jürgen Barkhoff, Chair of German (1776) and Head of School, Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Mail:

Professor J.T Leerssen, Chair of European Studies and Modern European Literature, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Mail:

Jonny Johnston, Government of Ireland Postgraduate Research Scholar, Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Mail:

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