Bo Stråth


Bo Stråth (Curriculum Vitae) was 2007-2014 Finnish Academy Distinguished Professor in Nordic, European and World History and Director of Research at the Department of World Cultures / Centre of Nordic Studies (CENS), University of Helsinki. 1997-2007 he was Professor of Contemporary History at the European University Institute in Florence, and 1991-1996 Professor in History at the University of Gothenburg. He is a member of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Cultural Constructions of Community

by | Oct 1, 1997 | Seminars and Discussion Groups, Curriculum vitae

Bo Stråth

Bo Stråth’s seminar 1997-2001 drew on and fed back to the research work within the project The Cultural Construction of Communities in the Process of Modernisation in Comparison. During these years, the project prepared several edited volumes. The work on the volumes provided input for the seminars and vice versa. The most important seminars are listed here below.

The Cultural Construction of Community

Seminar Programme Autumn Term Oct-Dec, 1997

Mondays at 5 pm, Triaria, Fridays at 11 am, RSCThe Cultural  

The seminar provides a background of modern history-making and expanding theoretical horizons. The focus will be on the role of language and symbols in constructing social communities and identities, including the role of history in these processes. The more general theoretical focus at the eight Monday meetings in Villa Schiffanoia will be supplemented with at least three Friday meetings in Convento dealing with transforming the idea of full employment to the flexibility discourse since the 1960s. Invited speakers will there demonstrate how the constructivist theoretical perspective can be used in research praxis.


13 Oct (Triaria)
The History of Concepts and the Concept of History. Reinhart Koselleck, Bielefeld University

20 Oct (Triaria)
The Iconography of Violent Death. Reinhart Koselleck, Bielefeld University

3 Nov (Triaria)
The Cultural Construction of Norden. Otto Dann, Köln University, Øystein Sørensen, Oslo University and Bo Stråth

7 Nov (RSC)
The Interrelation of the Constructions of the Labour Markets and the Welfare State in Britain and France. Noël Whiteside, University of Bristol

10 Nov (Triaria)
Postmodern Methodology and Historical Truth. Lucy Cole

17 Nov (Triaria)
The Scenes of Power. The Stage-Setting of Berlin as a Capital and a Space of Representation. Wolfgang Kaschuba, Humboldt University, Berlin

24 Nov (Triaria)
Municipalism and a National Hierarchy: 19th Century City-Identity in the Paese delle cento città. Sten Bo Frandsen, Danish Rome Institute

28 Nov (RSC)
The Emergence of the Flexibility Discourse in France and Germany in Comparison. Bénédicte Zimmermann, Paris

1 Dec (Triaria)
The Invention of Unemployment. Bénédicte Zimmermann, Paris

5 Dec (RSC)
The Construction of the Flexible Employee. Christina Garsten, Stockholm University

9 Dec (Triaria)
Concluding Discussion

In the theoretical framework of the seminar, please notice two conferences open to researchers of the EUI:

2-5 Oct “Communities in Peril: The Memory and History of Crisis in Scandinavia and Germany” organised by Nina Witoszek in Hotel Demidoff, Pratolino. Transports will be organised from the EUI.

13-16 Nov “From 1968 to the Turn of the Millennium: Italy, Sweden and Germany in Comparison” organised by Luisa Passerini and Bo Stråth in Sala Europa.

More about these conferences under “Conferences” on the home page of the history department. For participation, please contact Sergio Amadei, tel 391 or email amadei.

Modernity, Nationalism and Religion

Bo Stråth

Seminar: Spring 1998

The seminar is a continuation of the seminars during 1997 and is closely related to the research agenda of the project The Cultural Construction of Community. The focus will be on the nexus of nationalism, religion and modernity when legitimacy and community are produced. Elements of Enlightenment thoughts and ideas of scientifically legitimised rationalities have merged with religion and ideas of a national community in building the image of the self and the other. What did these processes of merger look like more precisely? Some of the seminars will be a more immediate continuation of the seminars during 1997 and deal with the role of language in the construction of community and the question of nationalism and modernity. Three workshops and one conference will support the seminar programme. Within the After Full Employment towards Flexibility Project framework, one workshop and two seminars will be at the Schuman Centre.

23 February 17-19 Sala Triaria
B. Stråth: Introduction

2 March 17-19, Sala Triaria
Q. Skinner (Cambridge): Le métier de l’historien. The Practice of Historical Research, This seminar is organised in cooperation with the researchers’ working group on the theme.

9 March 17-19, Sala Triaria
Augustina Dimou (EUI) and Sabine Rutar (EUI): Class and Nation: Social Democratic Identity Construction in the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires

10 March 10-12, Convento
Angelo Picchieri (Torino): Flexibility and Regionalism

16 March 11-13, Sala Triaria
Thomas Howard (Valparaiso University, Indiana): Scientization of Theology at German universitites in the 19th Century

20 March 10-12, Convento
Paul Johnson (LSE, London) and A. Milward (EUI): Renegotiating the Social Contract: the Case of Pensions

23 March 17-19, Sala Triaria
Shmuel Eisenstadt (Jerusalem): Religion and Modernity

30 March 17-19, Sala Triaria
NO SEMINAR :Student interviews

3-4 April 17-19, Sala Europa
Workshop Modernity and Religion in Europe and the Middle East: Self-Image and the Image of the Other, for further details see the workshop programme

6 April 15-17, Sala Triaria (Double Seminar Begins at 15.00!)
John Breuilly (Birmingham): Nationalism and Modernity

6 April 17-19, Sala Triaria
Otto Dann (Cologne): Nationalism, Enlightenment and Modernity

20 April 17-19, Sala Triaria
NO SEMINAR: June paper presentation

27-29, April Sala Triaria
Workshop: Film and History: The Conflict of Interpretations, for further details see the workshop programme

4 May 17-19, Sala Triaria
Willfried Spohn (FU Berlin): Nationalism, Religion and Modernity: Germany and Poland in Comparison

12 May 15-17, Sala Triaria
Rudolf Vierhaus (Goettingen): Enlightenment and Universal Rights as Modern Religion

15-16 May, Sala Europa
Workshop :From the Idea of Full Employment to the Flexibility Discourse, for further details see the workshop programme

25-26 May, Sala Europa
Workshop: The Commemoration of 1848 in Europe, for further details see the workshop programme

4-7 June, Hotel Giotto, Bivigliano
Conference: Memory and Myth in the Construction of Community

Memory and Myth

Professor Bo Stråth

During the Autumn semester of 1998, a discussion/reading/editing group will be organised around the manuscripts of a forthcoming book based on the conference Memory and Myth in the Construction of Community that took place in Bivigliano last June. The book’s working title is Memory and Myth in the Construction of Community. If you are interested in participating, please contact Mette Zolner She will distribute the chapters for discussion. Reading of the texts and active participation in the discussions is expected. The meetings are scheduled as follows:

Editing and Discussion Group, Autumn 1998
19 October, 3 pm, Seminar Room 1, Convento
Bo Stråth: Memory and Myth

26 October, 3 pm, Seminar Room 3, Badia
Charlotte Tacke: Nation and Monuments

16 November, 10 am, Seminar Room 1, Convento
Lutz Niethammer: Discourse on Memory in the Early Twentieth Century

23 November, 3 pm, Seminar Room 1, Convento
Mette Zolner: Danish National Identities: Memories, Generations and Ideologies

30 November, 3 pm, Seminar Room 1, Convento
Nina Witoszek: Imaging Supremacy: The Case of Germany and Sweden

The History of European Identity

Luisa Passerini and Bo Stråth

Seminar programme, Autumn term 1998/99

Tuesdays at 3 p.m., Sala Triaria

The point of departure of this seminar is the intensified debate about a European identity during the last few decades. As a heavily charged ideological concept, “European identity” is very vague as to content. The aim of the seminar is to deconstruct not only the concept of European identity as such but the image of Europe in more general terms. We will examine the historical “use” or “invocation” of the name Europe. When has an image of Europe merged, and how has it changed? What categories of Us and the Other has such an image mediated? Which elements of it, if any, can be projected into the future?

Participation assumes the reading of texts collected in a reader and distributed before the first session.

Seminar 1 (Prof. Stråth) 17 November 1998
A Critical Approach in Historical Perspective

Denys Hay, Europe. The Emergence of an Idea. Edinburgh University Press 2nd ed., 1968, pp. xiii-xiv, 73-95.

Victoria A. Goddard, Joseph R. Llobera and Chris Shore, “Introduction: the Anthropology of Europe” in: ibid (eds), The Anthropology of Europe. Identity and Boundaries in Conflict. Berg, Oxford 1994 pp. 1-40.

Seminar 2 (Prof. Passerini) 24 November 1998
European Identity in the Age of Deconstruction

Rosi Braidotti, “By Way of Nomadism”, in Nomadic Subjects, Columbia University Press, New York 1994, pp. 1-39 and 245-57 (Notes pp. 281-5 and 303-4)

“Declaration on European Identity”, in Bulletin EC, 12-1973, pp. 118-122

Jacques Derrida, The Other Heading: reflections on today’s Europe, Indiana University Press, Bloomington Indiana 1992.

Hans Georg Gadamer, The Diversity of Europe: Inheritance and Future and other essays in Hans Georg Gadamer on Education, Poetry and History, State University of New York Press, Albany 1992.

René Girault, “Chronologie d’une conscience européenne au XX siècle”, in Identité et conscience européennes, Hachette, Paris 1994, pp. 169-206.

Seminar 3 (Prof. Passerini) 1 December 1998
Europe between Fascism and anti-Fascism

From Walter Lipgens (ed), Documents on the History of European Integration, vol. I, de Gruyter, Berlin-New York, 1985: pp. 1-30, 37-54;

documents 8, 11, 18, 22 of Section I of Part I;

documents 95, 135, 148, 186, 199 of Part II.

From Peter M. R. Stirk (ed), European Unity in Context. The Interwar Period, Pinter, London 1989, writings by Stirk (pp. 1-22 and 125-148) and John Pinder (pp. 201-223)

Seminar 4 (Prof. Stråth) 8 December 1998
East and West

William Coxe, Travels in Poland and Russia. Arno Press, New York 1970 Vol. I Book I pp. 101-121 and Vol. III Book V pp. 133-158

David Cannadine (ed.),Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat. Winston Churchill’s Famous Speeches. Cassel, London 1989, pp. 295-308 (“The Soviet Danger: The Iron Curtain” Fulton, Missouri 5 March, 1946) and pp. 309-314 (“European Unity: Something that Will Astonish You” Zürich 19 Sept., 1946)

Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika, New Thinking for Our Country and the World. Collins London 1987, pp. 190-209 (“Europe in Soviet Foreign Policy”).

Discussion group Europe and the Other

Discussion Group: Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other The Research Project The Cultural Construction of Community Professor Bo Stråth   The intensified discussion on European identity over the last 10-15 years is a debate about a heavily ideologically charged concept and, as such, very vague in its content. Often a European identity is seen in some relationship to national identity, either oppositional and tense or overlapping and supplementing. The structure of national identities are “projected” upon European identity and this “projection” is ideologically founded. The aim of this discussion group is to examine Europe and the question of a European identity by focusing on the limits and demarcations of Europe. The image of a European identity necessarily contains a demarcation to the non-European. Europe is seen in the mirror of the Other. Often something outside Europe is seen. This is Europe and the Other, a projection that might say more about Europe than the Other. Nevertheless the Other incorporates much of what has been xenostereotyped in its own self-identification. Europe can also emerge as the Other from within Europe. This is the case when Europe is referred to as “the Continent” (i.e. in Britain and Scandinavia). In this particular internal demarcation, we refer to “Europe as the Other”. The point of departure for the discussions will be book chapters in the final editorial stages. The various chapters problematise divergent demarcations between Europe and the Other. They demonstrate how historically contested, complex and contradictory their construction has been, from the self-image in Asian and American mirrors to the question of where the eastern border of Europe lies (i.e. “is Eastern Europe really Us?”). As Professor Stråth’s regular spring seminar 1999 is a joint seminar with Professor Sciarra at the Law Department meeting from January to early March, when most history researchers are on archives mission, this discussion group offers an alternative for the history researchers. Of course, researchers from other disciplines are most welcome as well. If you are interested in participating, please contact Michael Miller He will distribute the chapters for discussion. Reading of the texts and active participation in the discussions is expected. The meetings are scheduled as follows:

Programme Spring 1999
The discussion group will meet in Triaria with the exception of Gerold Gerber’s presentation which will be held in sala Europa. Please take note of the time, it varies!
29 March 15-17
Bo Stråth: Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other
21 April 11-13
Lutz Niethammer: A European Identity?
26 April 15-17
Katiana Orluc: Ideas of European Identity in the Interwar Years
5 May, 10-12 (NB.: Sala Europa)
Gerold Gerber: Doing Christianity and Europe: an inquiry into memory, boundary and truth practices
10 May 15-17
Patrizia Nanz: What it Means to be a European: processes of identity formation in a transnational public sphere 17 May 15-17
Peter Burgess: Renegotiating Legitimacy between Europe and the Nation State
26 May 11-13
Martin Marcussen: Constructing Europe? The Building of French, British and German Nation State Identities
7 June 15-19 (NB: Double Session)
Eric Tängerstad: The Third World as an Element in the Construction of a European Identity (15.00 to 17.00)
Silvia Sebastiani: Race as Construction of the Other: Americans and Africans in the Eighteenth Century Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (17.00 to 19.00)


  • Monographs
  • Anthologies
Creating Community and Ordering the World
A European Memory
A European Memory?
European Solidarities
European Solidarities
Reflections on Europe
Reflections on Europe
The Economy as a Polity
The Economy As a Polity
A European Social Citizenship
A European Social Citizenship?
Representations of Europe and the Nation in Current and Prospective Member States
States and Citizens History Theory Prospects
States and Citizens
The Meaning of Europe
The Meaning of Europe
From the Werner Plan to the EMU
From the Werner Plan to the EMU
Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other
Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other
Myth and Memory in the Construction of Community
Myth and Memory in the Construction of Community
AFTER FULL EMPLOYMENT European Discources on Work and Flexibility
After Full Employment
Enlightenment and Genocide Contradictions of Modernity
Enlightenment and Genocide, Contradictions of Modernity
Department of History and Civilization Nationalism and Modernity EUI Working Papers
Nationalism and Modernity
The Postmodern Challenge Perspectives East and West
The Postmodern Challenge
The Cultural Construction of Norden
The Cultural Construction of Norden
Comparativ Wohnungsbau im Internationalen Vergleich Heft 3-1996
Wohnungsbau im internationalen Vergleich
Language and the Construction of Class Identities
Language and the Construction of Class Identities
Idylle oder Aufbruch
Idylle oder Aufbruch?
Democratisation in Scandinavia in Comparison