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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 17, 2006

UPDATE: Both days of this conference will take place in the South Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. Originally, part of the conference was to take place in the Pappajohn Business Building. The release below contains the updated location information.

Conference Examines Changing Boundaries Of Europe, European Union March 3, 4

Students, professors and those interested in the development and impact of the European Union (EU) will discuss the transformation of the organization and continent, the most recent round of additions to the EU and what this means for European and surrounding societies in a conference Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4.

Sponsored by the University of Iowa European Studies Group (ESG), the conference, titled, "Europe in Translation: The Rearticulation of European civilization in a global age," will take place in the South Room of the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) on the UI campus.

The program runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the conference web site at To arrange special accommodations to attend the conference, call Leslie Aktan, IP Projects Coordinator, at 319-335-3862.

The conference is made possible through a UI International Programs Major Projects Grant and the UI Art & Humanities Initiative, with additional funding from The Austrian Cultural Forum New York, the UI Departments of Political Science, French and Italian Studies, Communication Studies, Art and Art History, Religious Studies and the College of Law.

With the growth of the EU, new and significant challenges and questions continue to arise regarding continental expansion. The conference, "Europe in Translation: The rearticulation of European civilization in a global age," will provide participants an opportunity to ask and discuss major questions about the current translation and redefinition issues of Europe and the EU, said conference organizer Alexander Somek, co-director of ESG and UI professor of law. Prominent issues will be addressed through four main themes: Europe in Translation; Imagining Europe; The European Union: The Sacred and the Secular; and Emerging Empire: Then and Now.

"In the eyes of Europeans and peoples living in countries surrounding the European Union, the Union has come to occupy the place of 'Europe' itself," Somek said. "This remarkable identification of a culture and a way of life with a unique form of political organization is undoubtedly the mark of the success of the integration process. However, it also raises concerns that the diversity and complexity of European culture might become appropriated and absorbed by a particular political cause."

Guest speakers include József Böröcz, associate professor of sociology and director of Hungarian studies at Rutgers University, Piscataway; Thomas Gretton, head of the department of the history of art at University College, London; Christian Joerges, professor of European economic law at European University Institute, Florence; Douglas Kibbee, professor of French at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Mattias Kumm, associate professor of law and director of the LL.M./J.S.D. program in international law at New York University, New York; Johannes Pollak, research fellow at Austrian Academy of Sciences and lecturer at University of Vienna, University of Salzburg and Webster University, Vienna; Sonja Puntscher Riekmann, directress of the Institute for European Integration Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences; and Paul Silverstein, associate professor of anthropology at Reed College, Portland.

ESG is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate and dean of International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and to promote global scholarship, research, and training.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Leslie Aktan, 319-335-3862,; Writer: Kelli Andresen