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European Culture and Politics

Learn about the link between identity, culture and politics in the construction of contemporary Europe.

20,420 enrolled on this course

European flag overlaid on top of a photograph of Mostar Bridge
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours

This free online course explains Europe as a cultural and political product.

We revisit perceived truths about the meaning of European identity. We examine how cultural knowledge and facts were constructed to further post-World War II integration. We will help you understand and identify the complexities of the contemporary crises of European integration and support you in developing novel responses to these crises.

We cover such topics as European culture, religion, modernity, the nation-state, democracy and the Other.

The course has been developed by the Euroculture programme, a multi-university master’s and research programme on European culture and politics.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who played on the beach with her friends.

Skip to 0 minutes and 21 seconds One day the princess was gathering wild flowers in a seaside meadow when she came upon a beautiful, elegant bull. She fell in love with the bull and followed him to the island of Crete. This princess was called Europa, and the bull was Zeus. It is her name that was given to the continent we now call Europe.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds Wait, really? Europe was a princess falling in love with a god bull? What does this have anything to do with what we read in the news, about Europe constructing self-driving vehicles or regulating model phone charges, about disintegration and the economic crises? In primary school, we learned that Europe stands for a geographical territory. However, maps can deceive. A country can become European if it plays its cards right. People and entire nations can be classified as old, new, true, difficult, or even easy-going Europeans. There’s even something called the European way of doing things. Europe is more than a continent. It means civilisation, political integration, and a way of life. This online course is about European culture and politics.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds A multidisciplinary team of educators from four different universities will help you see how Europe is reconstructed and negotiated. You will learn to define Europe in its full complexity, and you will learn how the problems contemporary Europe is facing have been made. Together we’ll think how to solve them. Join us.

What topics will you cover?

  • Europe and European Culture
  • Europe and Religion
  • Europe and Modernity
  • Europe and Democracy
  • Europe and the Nation-State
  • Europe as/and the Other

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe how European political integration is embedded in broader cultural modalities including memory, language, heritage, national symbols, etc.
  • Identify main transdisciplinary debates on Europe and European cultural identity with the intention of proposing solutions to issues such as the future of European integration, democracy in a heterogeneous community, etc.
  • Identify solutions to problems of contemporary European integration including growing citizen alienation, lack of solidarity, individualization, and passivity through grassroots activities and rethinking of the citizen/community relationship.
  • Identify solutions to problems of contemporary European integration including the financial crisis, rising nationalism, democratic deficit, migration, and insecurity by way of reforming/rethinking the existing European institutional structure.
  • Debate sensitive topics in a culturally and academically diverse environment.
  • Engage with other learners in a culturally and academically diverse environment.
  • Contribute ethically, receptively and responsibly in a virtual environment.
  • Develop experience in virtual learning.
  • Develop experience in virtual communication.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for learners with a personal and/or professional interest in Europe, politics and culture. Those with some pre-knowledge of European history, culture and politics will find this course to be interesting and enriching. Those who studied Europe from either a political or cultural point of view will find much in this course that complements their previous studies. It is ideal for humanities and social sciences students and graduates, policy makers and those working in non-government organisations (NGOs).

Who will you learn with?

Lecturer and researcher in European Studies at the University of Groningen.

Who developed the course?

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

Endorsers and supporters

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Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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