Europe, Quo Vadis? A Conversation about Post/National Identity with Ruth Wodak (Lancaster Univ./Univ. of Vienna)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
12:00PM-1:30PM, NCH 236

Europe, Quo Vadis? A Conversation about Post/National Identity with Ruth Wodak (Lancaster University/University of Vienna)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 12:00PM-2:00PM, New Cabell Hall 236. Lunch will be provided. All welcome.

Ruth Wodak is Emerita Distinguished Professor at Lancaster University. She is also affiliated to the University of Vienna where she currently oversees a 3-year research project on the "Discursive Construction of National Identity." She is author and editor of many books, including The Politics of Fear - What Right-Wing Populist Discourses Mean (2015) and "Europe at the Crossroads. Confronting Populist, Nationalist and Global Challenges" (2019), and has co-authored, with Markus Rheindorf, a study on Language change in Austrian German (from 1970 - 2010). Prof. Wodak also participates in an interdisciplinary team of historians/journalists, psychiatrists and linguists which is investigating the discursive and psychological dynamics of a unique network consisting of children of Holocaust survivors and resistance fighters in Vienna.

We are currently experiencing the rise of far-right populist/radical right parties, accompanied by a virulent (nativist) nationalism and related body and border politics, in most EU member states and beyond. Borders are being closed, walls are being constructed, to keep specific groups of people (refugees and migrants) out; the far-right agenda also contains many elements of anachronistic and apocalyptic imaginaries of impending destruction, decadence and decay. Exclusive identities are being propagated, on national and EU levels, frequently associated with the traditional metaphor of “Fortress Europe.” The colloquium will discuss different imaginaries of inclusive and exclusive national and European identities, i.e. identities accommodating the emerging migrant and refugee societies, or identities which reject such diversity. As a case in point, I compare two speculative speeches, by French President Emanuel Macron and Hungarian PM Victor Orban, which symbolically manifest the two positions – of hope and fear.

Contact: Asher Biemann (Religious Studies, or Manuela Achilles (German and History,

Sponsored by Page-Barbour Funds, the Center for German Studies, the European Studies Program, the Jewish Studies Program, The Department of Linguistics, the Department of Politics, the  Corcoran Department of History, and the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion.