26th International Conference of Europeanists

Keynote Speaker | Joseph H.H. Weiler
"Sovereignties in Contention – The European Culture War, 2003-2019"
Time and Location to be Announced


What is frequently termed Populism and which in Europe is no longer limited to the lunatic fringe, is manifesting itself in at least two principal ways: A wide and at some places deep degree of Euroscepticism, which is calling into question the previously accepted equilibrium between Union and Member State sovereignty. It is also bringing challenges to the very foundations of another equilibrium surrounding the accepted forms of constitutional liberal democracy. In his Keynote Address Professor Weiler will attempt to locate the deep roots of this phenomenon not as is customary in economic dislocations and re-distributive discontent and social justice, but in a  “cultural war,” which has been simmering below the surface for decades and which has slowly but increasingly forcefully come to the surface in more recent times and the sour grapes of which we are experiencing now.


Joseph H.H. Weiler is University Professor at NYU Law School and Senior Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard. Until recently he served as President of the European University Institute, Florence.  Previously he served as Manley Hudson Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School. Prof. Weiler is Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law (EJIL) and the International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON). He holds a PhD. in European Law from the EUI Florence and honorary degrees from various European and American universities. He is the author of several books and articles in the field of European Integration, International and Comparative Constitutional Law, and Human Rights Law, notably The Constitution of Europe: Do the New Clothes Have an Emperor (Cambridge University Press, translated into 8 languages) and of a novella, Der Fall Steinmann.

About the Conference

Sovereignty is at the crux of current developments in Europe and at the center of political debate—of which the 2016 referendum on Brexit is just one example.  The claim to regain national sovereignty vis-a-vis EU policy-making is common to populist movements throughout Europe today, and it currently dominates the rhetoric of the national governments of Hungary and Poland as well.  Anxieties about sovereignty are also key to understanding the demands put forward by regional entities such as Scotland, Catalonia, and Lombardy.

These fights for new forms of sovereignty – or the restoration of old ones – are surprising, even bewildering, to those who imagined that the process of European integration would render the concept of sovereignty obsolete.  Yet recent developments clearly show that sovereignty again has become a crucial concept in political, social and cultural fields.  It is increasingly invoked not only by regions, nations, and Europe itself, but also by minority populations, marginalized groups, and even individuals as the reason justifying their claims of self-governance, emancipation, or political empowerment.
Recent developments and the material challenges that complicate them – globalization, the digital revolution, mobility – call upon us to reflect on the motives, polities, concepts, and rhetorics of sovereignty more profoundly and, given the complexity of the challenges, to seek fresh approaches that transcend disciplinary boundaries.  “Sovereignties in Contention in Europe: Nations, Regions and Citizens” aims to provide an opportunity to bridge the gap between different models for the study of sovereignty: from a governmental and institutional perspective to looking at bottom-up processes, from socio-economic and legal aspects to questions of identity, nationhood, and historical memory.

26th International Conference of Europeanists | June 20-22, 2019
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Madrid, Spain

Jan Willem Duyvendak, Chair
University of Amsterdam
Director, NIAS-KNAW

                             Peter Haslinger, Co-Chair                                                Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca, Co-Chair     
                       Director, Herder-Institute Marburg                                         Director, Instituto Carlos III-Juan March       
                       Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen                                                      Carlos III University

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2019 CES Conference

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