Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

Global changes prompt shift in European studies

Radical changes in Europe during the past few decades have in turn changed how the study of Europe’s cultures, languages and histories will be handled by IU students and administrators.

On Oct. 1, the West European Studies Center was renamed the Institute for European Studies to fit its new agenda of providing a wider array of studies that encompass all regions of Europe, said Kallan Picha, assistant director of the new Institute for European Studies.

“Dropping ‘West’ and recognizing that the term ‘Europe’ has come to encompass a wide variety of countries, including Western and Eastern Europe as well as European Union candidate and neighbor countries, allows us to broaden our scope in coverage of languages, cultures and the global impact of Europe as a whole,” Picha said in an email.

The naming and discourse of the West European Studies Center were decided when the institute was founded in 1968, a time when much of Europe was divided or becoming divided into a mostly democratic, capitalist west, and a mostly non-democratic, communist east.

“Moving away from the Cold War distinctions of the latter half of the 20th century, during which the designations of ‘East’ and ‘West’ were born, better positions the Institute for European Studies and IU to reflect the breadth and depth of the diversity of Europe and the European Union today,” Picha said.

In order to increase academic efficiency, the Institute for European Studies will move into the Global and International Studies building, which broke ground last spring and is set to be completed and ready for full use by the 2015-16 academic school year.

“This will put us in closer proximity to other area studies centers as well as language and culture departments, which are related to the study of Europe,” Picha said.

The Global and International Studies building will be home to 10 academic departments and almost 20 programs focused on the process and progress of global cultures. Institute for European Studies student Gregory McNabb said he is excited for the changes and relocation of the institute.

The project will cost $53 million.

“I think it’s a great investment,” McNabb said.

Although the construction of the School of International and Global Studies is occurring around the same time as the West European Studies Center’s change of name, the proximity of the dates of the two relative incidents are unrelated.

“While the name change has been in the works for a while, it is fortuitous timing that the institute will go into SGIS covering all of Europe and beyond, giving students in the new school additional opportunities in their study of Europe,” Picha said.

In addition to the relocation and renaming of the institute, the recent changes to the institute provide a more in-depth study of Europe and provide a wider selection of classes and resources to students interested in the cultural study of that portion of the world.

“We look forward to offering courses reflecting this new scope, as well as allowing our students in our master’s degree program and undergraduate and Ph.D. minors more flexibility in their studies of Europe,” Picha said.

Get stories like this in your inbox