Volume 9, No 2

January 23, 2018

Teaching European Studies as an Academic Discipline in Australia

Peter Morgan


What have been the main driving forces behind the introduction of European Studies in Australia? In this article I outline some of the history of European Studies programs at various Australian universities, as an introduction to the theme of this issue, based on the CESAA 2017 Sydney European Studies Conference, “Teaching European Studies in Australia.”


Article Keywords: Australia, European Studies Programs

Teaching European Studies in Australia: Fostering Cultural and Historical Literacy through the Narrative Imagination

Danica Jenkins


One of the main problems we face in teaching European Studies in the Australian university context is the lack of cultural and historical literacy about Europe among the current cohort of students. Drawing on Martha Nussbaum’s concept of the ‘narrative imagination’, this paper suggests that novels, films and other literary material can help our students penetrate unfamiliar cultural and historical environments. This is because narrative provides the context to help students understand complex dynamics at play in unfamiliar situations, and makes this context meaningful by putting it into humanistic, not scientific terms. It is above all an epistemology based on the use of ‘empathy’ as a device to deepen historical and cultural understanding. While there are certainly caveats to using literary texts in an academic environment of historical or social inquiry, as long we are cognizant of the truth-value of the literary epistemological framework, that is, we understand that they do not aim to establish veritable fact, but instead provoke an emotional response from us, such texts remain useful pedagogical tools for fostering cultural and historical literacy amongst our students.


Article Keywords: Australian Tertiary Education; Cultural Literacy; Epistemology of Literature; European Studies; Historical Literacy; Narrative Imagination.

A Homage to Civil Society? Literary Responses to Germany’s Refugee Crisis by Jenny Erpenbeck and Bodo Kirchhoff

Alexandra Ludewig


Although Angela Merkel refused to close Germany’s borders in 2015 when faced with thousands of migrants, her response to this humanitarian crisis made shortfalls in EU policies abundantly apparent. It became obvious that the Schengen Agreement, and the Dublin Regulations were no longer workable in view of a global movement of people that had not been experienced on such a scale since the end of World War Two. Literary greats, Jenny Erpenbeck and Bodo Kirchhoff, have dealt with the related challenges emerging for civil society in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Their protagonists’ responses to encounters with refugees and irregular migrants serve as a litmus test for dominant values of the middle class and a truly civil society. My contribution suggeststhat literary representations of German middle-class encounters with refugees explore aspects of civil society during the European migrant crisis, illustrating gaps and failures in German and EU policy.


Article Keywords: Civil society, Dublin II, Erpenbeck, Germany, Kirchhoff, refugees

Historical Lessons for Australia's Foreign Policy: The Case of British EEC Membership

Nina Markovic Khaze


The Australian Government’s attitudes towards major events in international politics such as the UK’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) in the past and Brexit negotiations today, carry greater weight than previously assumed in political science literature. Australia was critical of the EEC (now called the European Union, EU) in the early 1960s, when its then most important trading partner, the United Kingdom (UK) first applied for membership. Australia was ill-prepared to deal with the repercussions from Britain’s entry into the EU, as Australian foreign policy was heavily influenced by local as well as international anti-EEC attitudes. This paper will analyse political debates in Australia during the 1960s and early 1970s with reference to parliamentary Hansard records and newspaper articles in order to suggest a new framework for Australian foreign policy analysis.


Article Keywords: Australian foreign policy, Australia-United Kingdom relations, Brexit, the Commonwealth

What Remains after Brexit? A View from the Outside

Filip Kokotovic and Petar Kurecic

The British referendum result to opt for exiting the European Union (EU) has left both the United Kingdom (UK), as well as the rest of the EU with questions regarding the future of the integration and their future economic development. While the EU member-states present a united front in regards to the leave process, there are deeply rooted divisions on all other relevant policy questions. The issues of migration, foreign policy, and the level of cohesion within the EU itself represent the questions where there is little or no consensus. The paper concludes that both the UK and the EU need to address a deep political divide and find a way to coexist in the aftermath of Brexit.


Article Keywords: United Kingdom (UK), European Union (EU), Brexit, political implications, immigration

What Do We Reliably Know about European Perceptions of Muslim Asylum Seekers?

Louis Talay

Immigration restrictions imposed by national governments are arguably the factor most responsible for the European Refugee Crisis (ERC). As immigration policies do not fall under the remit of European Union sovereignty, the union’s democratic nations are free to operate their own regimes. Although the primary drivers of national immigration policies have been identified as both economic and cultural in nature, empirical evidence suggests that the latter is of greater significance. Given that the perceived fear of value incompatibilities forms the basis of all cultural arguments against immigration, it was necessary to investigate the accuracy of perceptions of Muslim Asylum Seeker Values (MASV) by administering surveys in two countries at the opposite end of the immigration policy spectrum: Hungary and the Netherlands. Hungarians significantly overestimated MASV extremity while Dutch people underestimated them. Moreover, the results indicated that perceptions of MASV extremity correlate with immigration policy preferences.


Article Keywords: Europe, Refugee Crisis, Immigration Policy, Xenophobia, Perceptions of Muslim Refugees

From European Colony to a New Era: EU-Vietnam Relations - 1990-2017

Hang Thi Thuy Nguyen and Bruno Mascitelli


In the international relations literature review, there have been voluminous studies on EU-ASEAN

relations but only a small number on EU-Vietnam relations. Furthermore, it is obvious that most of studies thus far conducted on EU-Vietnam relations have dominantly addressed trade relations. As the EU and Vietnam have sought to build a comprehensive partnership and cooperation since 2012, it

is important to provide an insight into the history of the EU-Vietnam relations in various areas. With this in mind, this paper seeks to examine the past, present and the future of the EU-Vietnam relations which will be thematically divided into two periods: (i) 1990-2005: Befriending; (ii) 2006-present:

Strengthening the Friendship. Also, the paper will discuss the future direction for the EU -Vietnam relations. By using content analysis as the main research methodology, the paper has analysed official documents from both European Union and Vietnamese official bodies and scholarly writings to

demonstrate that the EU and Vietnam have make a very comprehensive effort to intensify their

bilateral relations.


Article Keywords: EU, Vietnam, partnership, the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement, cooperation