Year of Europe Programs Look at Greek Politics, German Economics and Celtic Languages

By Gail Hairston

(Oct. 12, 2015) — The continent of Europe has a fascinating past, but it is also a vital part of the contemporary world and will undoubtedly play a considerable role in shaping the future. This year, the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences’ Passport to the World program will focus on the Year of Europe.

Passport to the World enables the college to embark on yearlong explorations of the culture and history of a particular region or country. The current series promotes understanding of the problems and prospects of the European continent and Europe’s relationship to the United States and other parts of the world. Past programs have focused on South Africa, China, Russia's Realms, Mexico, and the Middle East.

Year of Europe is offering three different presentations Tuesday, Oct. 13, to look into the economic and social matrix of Europe.

Andreas Kalyvas will discuss “The Greek Crisis and the Failure of the (European) Left” in the context of economic crisis and political instability from 4-5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Niles Gallery of UK’s Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library. The results of the upcoming national elections held in September will be discussed as the most recent episode in the neo-colonial transformation of the European Union.

Andreas Kalyvas is an associate professor of politics at the New School for Social Research and a chief co-editor of the journal Constellations. He is the author of "Democracy and the Politics of the Extraordinary: Weber, Schmitt, Arendt" and the co-author of "Liberal Beginnings: Making a Republic for the Moderns." He is currently completing a book manuscript on the relationship between the republican doctrine of government and the politics of dictatorship.

Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Mario Soos will then discuss the business and economic relationships between the U.S. and Germany from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, also in Niles Gallery.

The topic switches to "Celtic Languages in Historical and Contemporary Perspective" with Kevin Rottet of Indiana University at 7 p.m. Tuesday, in the Hardymon Theater of the Davis Marksbury Building. From the mystique of the Days of King Arthur and Camelot, to the scenes of contemporary Neo-Druids holding white-robed ceremonies at Stonehenge, the Celts have about them an aura of the mysterious, the romantic, the sinister.

Even among linguists the Celtic languages have something of a reputation for being "exotic" with their strange word orders and initial consonant mutations. Yet the current social status and future prospects of the Celtic languages are far less romantic and exotic. Like many of the minority languages of the planet, the Celtic languages are all endangered, to one degree or another, as their speakers embrace a present and future that looks more successful through the lens of English or French.

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