In cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the German-Italian Center for European Excellence Villa Vigoni has established the Gerda Henkel Academy at Villa Vigoni to discuss past and present challenges of Europe in the political, social and cultural realm. The Academy’s work is dedicated to the theme “From the Ideas on Europe to the European Citizen”.
The first graduate workshop of the Gerda Henkel Academy will take place in November 2017 at Villa Vigoni. The workshop’s theme is “Citizenship and belonging in Europe - historical and contemporary perspectives”.
The workshop’s aim is based on the observation that Europeans are engaged in a continuous discussion of what “Europe” means, and what it could or should mean to be “European”. At present, societies and politics in Europe are witnessing deep transformations, with migration and the rise of populism as only two of many processes. New ways of political participation, integration, and identification need to be discussed. Against this background, it appears worthwhile and indeed valuable to examine present as well as past ideas, norms, and practices that have shaped and continue to shape European political, social, and cultural interactions. The Gerda Henkel Academy at Villa Vigoni aims to bring together young scholars for an interdisciplinary exchange on concepts of belonging and notions of citizenship in the European context, both from a historical and from a contemporary perspective. Among the questions the workshop will address are the following: What is the relationship between citizenship and belonging in a European context, and what tensions can we identify? What are (or have been) the underlying constructions and narratives of “Europeaness” and “European citizenship” in different parts of Europe and the world? What role do national, religious, and ethnic categories play in creating practices of inclusion and exclusion? Villa Vigoni encourages PhD candidates in the Humanities and Cultural Studies as well as in the Social Sciences and Law to present their dissertation projects and to discuss their ideas in a stimulating, interdisciplinary environment overlooking Lake Como.