Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pg. 99: Ray Taras' "Europe Old and New"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Europe Old and New: Transnationalism, Belonging, Xenophobia by Ray Taras.

About the book, from the publisher:
Is Europe indeed uniting or instead falling apart as a result of anti-immigrant prejudices, a massive Islamic influx, and ancient intra-European hatreds? This innovative and engaging book explores this key question by examining the national and religious phobias and prejudices, antipathies and sympathies, stereotypes and heterotypes of Europe west and east. Considering the sources of Europe's culture-based divide, Ray Taras argues that the idea of two 'Europes' is grounded both in reality and myth. The accession process that brought a dozen new members into the European Union after 2004 highlighted the persisting gulf between "old" and "new" Europe. While many concrete borders between east and west were removed (commercial, legal, passport regimes), many remained (absence of a single Euro currency zone, labor market, and security community). Virtual borders too were invented or re-imagined: the postmaterialist, inclusionary, tolerant values supposedly found in old Europe versus the materialist, nationalistic, xenophobic ones of new Europe.

After reviewing the two Europes' contrasting historical legacies, Taras examines the EU institutions designed to overcome the historical European divide. He considers the treaties, political rhetoric, citizen attitudes, and literary narratives of belonging and separation that both bind and fray the fabric of Europe. Throughout, this interdisciplinary work provides a comprehensive, hard-hitting, and unabashed review of how enlarged Europe embraces contrasting understandings of its political home and of who belongs and who does not.
Read an excerpt from Europe Old and New, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

For more information on his research, teaching, and publications, visit Ray Taras' faculty webpage.

Ray Taras is professor of political science and director of the world literature program at Tulane University.

The Page 99 Test: Europe Old and New.

--Marshal Zeringue