Jean Monnet Module at the Department of English and American Studies
(co-funded by the European Union and Paderborn University)
"I have always believed that Europe would be built through crises, and that it would be the sum of their solutions." (Jean Monnet)
Brexit, with the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union as the first member state ever, can be seen as one of the EU's most serious crises to date. It not only has political, economic, social and cultural effects on the UK and the EU as a whole, but it particularly reshapes the role of the Republic of Ireland within the EU and the region of Northern Ireland within the UK. Creating a new EU-external border between Ireland and the UK, Brexit enforces divisionary lines between two countries that have historically been related by conflict as well as by cross-border connections and cooperation. Despite the "Northern Ireland Protocol" granting a special role to Northern Ireland to prevent an inner-Irish border, Brexit threatens the peace process there. After all, this region voted 55.8 % for remaining in the EU (Electoral Commission), as some citizens feel strong ties with the Republic of Ireland whereas others clearly identify as British-Northern Irish.
Against this background, the Jean Monnet module creates six seminars and three public events at Paderborn University that examine cultural discourses about Europe, Ireland and Brexit from a Cultural Studies perspective. Based on Monnet's belief that "Europe would be built through crises, and that it would be the sum of their solutions", the project addresses the challenges and opportunities Brexit poses for Europe as an imagined community and a shared sense of European cultural identity characterised by values of democracy, solidarity and cooperation. For this purpose, it analyses cultural representations of Ireland and Northern Ireland and their relations to Europe and Britain.
Jean Monnet modules are short teaching programmes in European Studies co-funded by the European Union. They bring innovative and interesting EU content to their learners. They also include specific research activities as well as events geared to the general public.