Voices from the (Semi)Peripheries: East and Central European Debates on European Identity

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Adam Kola, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

    ‘When you are in the family … you have more rights than when you are asking to join and knocking on the door’, said French President Jacques Chirac in February 2003. It was before the biggest enlargement of the European Community in 2004, and on the discussion stage with other countries, like Romania and Bulgaria. He added: ‘They missed a great opportunity to shut up’. In this paper I provocatively started with this quotation, whereas I would like to focus seriously on ‘(semi?)peripheral viewpoints’ especially from Poland, Czech and post-Yugoslav states on the discussion on European identity. I will examine all concepts going beyond the simplified schemes of Greek-Roman-Christian trinity and I will follow the conviction that (semi)peripheral Europe(s) offer(s) a more innovative and creative opinion about Europe itself. The aim of the paper is to provide a survey of East and Central European literature (academic, political, belles-lettres) and to point out the most interesting approaches. In this paper the following intellectuals-migrants will be taken into consideration: Leszek Kolakowski, Krzysztof Pomian, Dubravka Ugresic and Jan Zielonka, or even pope John Paul II, etc. though, we could find interesting voices from non-emigrants, like e.g. Karol Modzelewski or Václav Havel, etc. This (semi)peripheral Europe can offer courageous solutions in the process of building European community not as an exclusive but inclusive model. Let’s look back into (semi)peripheral histories to find voices of the marginalized and to find new Europe.