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Center for European Studies Offers Secondary Field

By Melissa C. Rodman, Crimson Staff Writer

This fall, the Center for European Studies unveiled a secondary field in European History, Politics, and Societies.

“This will give students a new way to carve out a kind of independent plan of study that coincides with their interest in Europe,” CES Executive Director Elaine M. Papoulias said.

According to Papoulias, housing the European History, Politics, and Societies program in CES—which promotes an interdisciplinary focus in the social sciences and has resident faculty members from a variety of fields—will allow students to take advantage of many disciplines.

“We have a wealth of teaching on Europe, and we have had that wealth for decades,” she said. “Students should have the opportunity to point to the fact that they have taken a collection of courses–students have always been very interested in European studies–and we wanted to the possibility to offer students a more guided process for studying Europe, a more coherent process for studying Europe, more mentorship, and really kind of put conceptual and intellectual framework around a group of courses that already have existed.”

The launch of the new secondary comes after more than three years of deliberation and discussion among CES administrators, members of the Standing Committee on European Studies, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

And recent and ongoing changes in Europe—from Britain’s vote to withdraw from the European Union to a major debt crisis in Greece—emphasize why the continent remains important to study, regardless of one’s concentration, Papoulias said.

“For those students whose interests don’t lie in the social sciences, it’s kind of hard to ignore Europe right now,” she said, adding, “This might be a really good moment to understand from a historical perspective.”

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