Europe Today: Transnationalism, Globalisms, and Geographies of Pan-Europe (I)  

This is part of our special feature, Imagining, Thinking, and Teaching Europe.


In reading over the syllabus, I am reminded of the challenges of teaching Europe as important shifts in material circumstances, policy arenas, and even environmental conditions change the terrain on which we stand and about which we teach. This is peculiarly inflected when teaching American students, and particularly so when teaching Geographies of Europe. My typical class is 30 students of whom two-thirds are 3rd or 4th year students who are “from” or have studied and/or travelled in Europe, and many of these are majoring in European Studies of one kind or another. The remaining one third are often computer science majors or arts majors, or they are focusing on Asia, and for them this is their first encounter with Europe, let alone the Geography of Europe. Typically, each class has two or three exchange students visiting from Europe and often there is one or two MA students from UNC’s Global or European Studies graduate Masters program.

I am sure that many instructors go through the same anxieties and ambivalences faced with such mixes of students. The redeeming element of my students, perhaps by luck, is that they are keen to read, attend and be attentive, engage, and write well.

One result of these uncertainties about Europe, discipline, and student mix is that I have constantly changed the syllabus. My second syllabus here is from this Spring (2020). Perhaps the clarity and crispness of the earlier syllabus has slipped away in the growing number and complexity of topics I now introduce to students. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the expansion of topics on the environment and environmental change, on geo-historical and cultural landscapes and legacies, and on the production of public spaces and public lives. 

―John Pickles



Syllabus I (2006)

For Syllabus II (2020) click here.

Department of Geography and the Curriculum for International and Area Studies


Geography 464 (formerly 164) / International Studies 464 (formerly 126)

In this course we will focus much of our attention on diverse geographies of Europe and how post-socialism in Central and Eastern Europe, political unification through the European Union, economic globalization, and post-colonial immigration mean for our understanding of Europe Today.

The course is an upper division undergraduate and graduate course focused on the processes and patterns of transnational and global Europe, and the ways in which these processes and patterns are reshaping everyday lives, economies, and places across the continent. The course is readings-based, organized around key texts and topical/thematic foci.  Throughout the semester, regional and national case studies will be integrated into readings, discussions, and exercises. Students will work closely with primary texts (speeches, pamphlets, Marshall Plan, Cold War documents, Warsaw Pact documents, EU chapters of accession, social movement documents, art groups exhibitions, etc.), original trade and production data, and government and non-government agencies dealing with social issues of various kinds.

Class time will be divided between short lectures that contextualize the readings, exercises and quizzes, and discussion of selected readings. Videos and films will be integrated into class times wherever possible, and arranged outside of class time when necessary.

Students will carry out weekly readings and report-backs, write short response papers, and take several short quizzes. There will also be two group projects to be presented in class.


Required Texts



Grading and Requirements:

Attendance at all classes is required, as is participation in reading, discussion, and presentation.

Four short quizzes on geographical locations will be given during the semester. These will variously test students’ knowledge of places, features, and regional structures and organizations.

Students will each write three 6-8 page response/research papers selected from specific readings and topics from the course syllabus. These papers must review and build on the course readings and incorporate evidence of further reading or independent research. One of these papers will then we revised and developed, with visual supporting materials, for presentation at the end of semester.

Students will also participate in two short group projects and report back to class on their findings.

  • Attendance: 10%
  • Reading, discussion, and presentation: 10%
  • Quizzes (4 @ 5%): 20%
      • Quiz 1: Countries and seas/oceans (not bays)
      • Quiz 2: Mountains, plains, major rivers
      • Quiz 3. Capital Cities and other large Cities
      • Quiz 4: Open spot quiz
  • Response papers (3 @ 20%): 60%





Week 1.

Introduction to the course

Outline of syllabus, readings and requirements.


Week 2.

The new European project                                                                                         


1) Craig Calhoun. European Studies: always already there and still in formation.  Comparative European Politics, vol. 1 (2003) #1: 5-20

2) Michael Biggs. Putting the state on the map: Cartography, Territory, and European State Formation. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 41(2) April 1999: 374-405 [.pdf on blackboard]

3) Explore the historical maps of Europe on this website

Quiz 1: Countries and seas/oceans (not bays)


Week 3.

Re-Mapping Europe: Political Europe


1) Milada Vachudova. EU Enlargement: An Overview. East European Constitutional Review 9, 4 (Fall 2000): 64-69.

2) Commission of the European Communities. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament. The Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Strategic Objectives 2000-2005: Shaping the New Europe. COM 2004. 154 (final)

3) Glyn Morgan. The Idea of a European Superstate: Public Justification and European Integration. or



Europe? Which Europe? Whose Europe?

1) Etienne Balibar. Europe as Borderland. The Alexander von Humboldt Lecture in Human Geography, University of Nijmegen, November 10 2004.

2) Readings from “Europe? Which Europe? Which Future Europe?”

3) Explore the fantastic cartographies of le monde diplomatique:

Quiz 2: Mountains, plains, major rivers



Week 4. 

The Cold War and its consequences                                                                          

1)  Dunford, M. Economies in space and time: economic geographies of development and underdevelopment and historical geographies of modernization. In Graham, B.J. (ed.) (1998) Modern Europe, place, culture, identity. Arnold, London. 53-88. [.pdf on blackbard]

2) David P. Calleo. Old Europe, New Europe. In Rethinking Europe’s Future. Princeton University Press, 2001. or

Group project reports on Cold War Europe.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Cold War International History Project:

CNN Cold War:

Cold War Hotlinks:

Cold War Policies 1945-1991:

Documents Relating to American Cold War Foreign Policy:

The Harvard Project on Cold War Studies:

The Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact:

The National Archives Learning Curve: Cold War:


Week 5.

History, Memory and Identity / European Cultural Identity

1) Short statements: Remarks at the Brandenberg Gate; Britain and Europe (The text of the speech delivered in Bruges by The Rt. Hon. Mrs Margaret Thatcher, FRS, on 20th September 1988); Vaclav Havel. About European Identity.; Konrad H. Jarausch.  A European Cultural Identity:  Reality or Hope? [.doc on blackboard]

2) Dieter Fuchs and Hans-Dieter Klingemann.  Eastward Enlargement of the European Union and the Identity of Europe. [.pdf on blackboard]

3) Konrad H. Jarausch. Twentieth Century Germany: Rethinking a Shattered past. or


Designated Tasks:

Group project on regionalizing Europe. Source: ‘Europe? Which Europe? Which Future Europe?’

Quiz 3. Capital Cities and other large Cities



Memory and Place

1) Edward W. Said. Invention, Memory, and Place. Critical Inquiry, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Winter, 2000), pp. 175-192 [UNC Libraries Online]

2) Karen Till “Places of Memory,” in A Companion for Political Geography, John Agnew, Katharyne Mitchell, Gearoid O’Tuathail, eds. (Oxford and Cambridge: Blackwell), 2002.

3) Karen Till. “Construction Sites and Showcases: Tourism, Maps, and Spatial Practices of the New Berlin,” for Mapping Tourism Spaces, Stephen Hanna and Vincent Del Casino, eds., University of Minnesota Press.

4) Azaryahu M. (1997). German Reunification and the Politics of Street Names: the Case of East Berlin. Political Geography, 16/6:479–93.6.

5) D.McNeill (2000), ‘McGuggenisation: globalisation and national identity in the Basque country’, Political Geography. 19. 473-494 [UNC Libraries online]


Week 6.     

Neoliberalism, Structural Adjustment and Regional Change after 1989

1) Pierre Bourdieu. ‘What is neo-liberalism? A programme for destroying collective structures which may impede the pure market logic.’ Le Monde Diplomatique

2) Peter Gowan. Neoliberal theory for eastern Europe. New Left Review, 1995 #213, September-October.

3) UNECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe maps on regional income and employment.


1) Smith, A. (2002) ‘Imagining geographies of the “new Europe”: geo-economic power and the new European architecture of integration’, Political Geography, 21: 647–70.

2) Adrian Smith et al. Where will the jobs be in the United States of Europe? Networks of value, commodities, and regions after 1989. Sussex Working Paper 1-99:

3) Adrian Smith, Al Rainnie and Mick Dunford. Regional trajectories and uneven development in the new Europe after 1989. Sussex Working paper 2-99.

[See the wide range of other working papers in the ESRC ‘One Europe of Several? Research Project:]



Week 7. 

The geopolitical consequences of the Third Balkan War

1) Ó Tuathail, G. and C.T. Dahlman. 2004. “The Effort to Reverse Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina: The Limits of Returns.” Eurasian Geography and Economics. 45(6): 439-464.

2) Dahlman, C.T. and G. Ó Tuathail. 2005. “The Legacy Ethnic Cleansing: The International Community and the Returns Process in Post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina.” Political Geography. 24(5): 569-599.


1) Relief Web: Map Centre – Eastern Europe and the Balkans:

2) Dahlman, C.T. and G. Ó Tuathail. 2005. “Broken Bosnia: The Local Geopolitics of Displacement and Return in Two Bosnian Places.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 95(3): 644-662.


Further reading:


Week 8.

European Union and Regional Integration                                                                 

Globalizing Europe and Competitiveness Policies in the EU


1) Dunford, M. and Smith, A. (2000) ‘Catching up or falling behind? Economic performance and regional trajectories in the “new” Europe’, Economic Geography, 76: 169–95.

2) Gordon Brown: Global Europe-Full employment:

3) Valdas Samonis. Sustaining Innovation: Theories and Policies for New Europe.  Ekonomika 2004 (68), 1-8.

4) KPMG International. Of Tigers, Dinosaurs and Gazelles: Defining competitive business models for manufacturers in the New Europe.


Further readings:


Regional Production Networks and the Economic Geographies of Pan-Europe

1) Samuel J. Palmisano. The Globally Integrated Enterprise. Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006.

2) Deutsche Bank. Nearshoring to Central and Eastern Europe. August 14, 2006.


3) Explore the socio-economic databases online:


Selections from:

  • Smith, A. and Pickles, J. (2005) ‘Technologies of transition: foreign investment and the (re-) articulation of East Central Europe into the global economy’, in Foreign Direct Investment and Regional Development in East Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union, Turnock, D. (ed.), Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 21–37.
  • Smith, A., Pickles, J., Begg, R., Roukova, P. and Bucek, M. (2005) ‘Outward processing, EU enlargement and regional relocation in the European textiles and clothing industry: reflections on the European Commission’s Communication on “The Future of the Textiles and Clothing Sector in the Enlarged European Union”, European Urban and Regional Studies, 12: 83–91.
  • Smith, A., Pickles, J. and Begg, R. (2003) ‘Cutting it: European integration, trade regimes and the reconfiguration of East-Central European apparel production’, Environment and Planning A, 35: 2191–2207.
  • Smith, A. (2003) ‘Power relations, industrial clusters and regional transformations: pan-European integration and outward processing in the Slovak clothing industry’, Economic Geography, 79: 17-40.
  • Pavlinek, P. and Smith, A. (1998). ‘Internationalization and Embeddedness in East-Central European Transition: The Contrasting Geographies of Inward Investment in the Czech and Slovak Republics’, Regional Studies, 32/7: 619-38.


Week 9.

 Political Europe and EU Enlargement           

1) Milada Vachudova. “The Trump Card of Domestic Politics: Bargaining Over EU Enlargement,” East European Constitutional Review 10, 2 (Spring/Summer 2001): 93-97.

2) Milada Vachudova and Andrew Moravcsik. “National Interests, State Power and EU Enlargement,” East European Politics and Societies 17, 1 (Winter 2003): 42-57.  Unabridged version: “National Interests, State Power and EU Enlargement,” Center for European Studies Working Paper No. 97(Harvard University, 2002).

3) Milada Vachudova.  “Bargaining Among Unequals: Enlargement and the Future of European Integration,” EUSA Review 15, 4 (Fall 2002): 1, 3-4.  Written with Andrew Moravcsik.

4) Read selected papers: Jozsef Borocz and Linda Kovacs. Empire’s New Clothes: Unveiling EU Enlargement. Central Europe Review2001


Further reading:

  • Zielonka, J. (ed). Europe Unbound: Enlarging and reshaping the boundaries of the European Union. Routledge, 2002. [Zielonka, J. Boundary making by the European Union. 1-16;
  • Maier, C.S. Does Europe need a frontier? From territorial to redistributive community, in 17-37;
  • Hassner, P. Fixed borders or moving borderlands? A new type of border for a new type of entity, 38-50;
  • Wallace, W. Where Does Europe end? Dilemmas of inclusion and exclusion, 51-7; Hill, C. The geopolitical implications of enlargement. 78-94;
  • Liebich, A. Ethnic minorities and long-term implications of EU enlargement. 95-116].


Additional useful readings on the background of the EU:


Week 10.

 Finance, Services, and the European city                                                                  

Student-led Roundtable on the European City: London, Barcelona, Rome

D.McNeill, (2006, in press), ‘Performing European space?’ European Urban and Regional Studies..


London: D. McNeill, (2006, in press), ‘London, Europe: a relational geography’, Comparative European Politics;  D.McNeill (2002), ‘Livingstone’s London: left politics and the world city’, Regional Studies 36. 75-91; D.McNeill (2002), ‘The mayor and the world city skyline: London’s tall buildings debate’, International Planning Studies 7, 325-334.

Barcelona: D.McNeill (2003), ‘Mapping the European Left: the Barcelona model’, Antipode 35, 74-94; D.McNeill (2002), ‘Barcelona: urban identity 1992-2002’, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Studies. 6. 245-261; D.McNeill (2001), ‘Barcelona as imagined community: Pasqual Maragall’s spaces of engagement’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 26. 340-52.

Rome: D.McNeill (2003), ‘Rome, Global city? Church, State and the Jubilee 2000′, Political Geography. 22. 535-56.


Living in the City


Week 11.

Economy and Social Exclusion                                                                                  

Social Exclusion and EU Mobility Policy


1) Smith, A. (2004) ‘Regions, territories and diverse economies in the “new Europe”’, European Urban and Regional Studies, 11: 9–25.

2) Alain Lipietz. Social Europe: the post-Maastricht Challenge. Journal of International Political Economy 3(3), Autumn 1996: 369-379.  Also available on Alain Lipietz’s website:

3) Alain Lipietz and Eric Saint-Alary.  Social Exclusion in Europe. Research Report for the European Commission Targeted Economic and Social Research (TSER), area III: RESEARCH INTO SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION IN EUROPE Project: Contract SOE2-CT97-3057 CEPREMAP. or

4) Jurgen Habermas. Why Europe needs a constitution. New Left Review. 11, September-October, 2001.


5) The European Year of Workers’ Mobility: Towards a European Labor Market


Further reading:


Precarity, neoliberalism and the flexibilization of work


1) The precarity map online

2) Precarity reaches Old Europe

3) Precarious workers tackling social exclusion:

4) Explore:  European Social Forum website: and Precarity+Migration blog:


Week 12.

Post-colonial and immigrant Europe                                                                          

Europe’s Population:  Demography and Replacement Migration


1) Addressing the challenges of Europe’s new demography. PopNet Europe, Summer (No.35) 2003.

2) In what ways will demographic trends help shape economic and foreign policies of the EU out to the year 2020. National Intelligence Council 2020 Project Workshop 2004.

3) All 10 million Europeans.


Immigration Policies in the New Europe: From Multiculturalism to Geographies of Inclusion and Exclusion


1) BBC Migrant World:

2) Leitner, H. (1995) ‘International Migration and the Politics of Admission and Exclusion in Postwar Europe’, Political Geography, 14/3:259-78.

3) Leitner, H.  (1997). ‘Reconfiguring the Spatiality of Power: the Construction of a Supranational Migration Framework for the European Union’, Political Geography, 16/2:123-43.

4) Explore MigMap:


Further reading:



Case study: Turkish immigrants


Week 13.

Postcolonial and Muslim Europe

1) Project: The veil:

2) Islam and the Changing Identity of Europe:  Culture, Politics, and Citizenship in an Era of Globalization.

3) Timothy M. Savage. Europe and Islam: Crescent Waxing, Cultures Clashing.  The Washington Quarterly 2004. 27(3), 25-50.


Borders, detentions, immigrations

Fortress Europe: Yale Global Online:

The deadly consequences of Fortress Europe

Detention in Europe:

no-border network:

  • Rens van Munster. The EU and the Management of Immigration Risk in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Political Science Publication 12/2005 Syddansk University.
  • Don Flyn. New borders, new management: The dilemmas of modern immigration policies. Ethnic and Racial Studies 28(3) May 2005: 463-490. [UNC Libraries online or on whiteboard]
  • Rosemary Sales. Secure borders, safe haven. A contradiction in terms? Ethnic and Racial Studies 28(3) May 2005: 445-462. [UNC Libraries online or on whiteboard]
  • Gail Lewis. Welcome to the margins: Diversity, tolerance and the politics of exclusion. Ethnic and Racial Studies 28(3) May 2005: 536-558. [UNC Libraries online or on whiteboard]
  • Alice Bloch and Lisa Shuster. At the extremes of exclusion: Deportation, detention and dispersal. Ethnic and Racial Studies 28(3) May 2005: 491-512. [UNC Libraries online or on whiteboard]


Week 14. – Week 16

Student presentations


Useful background materials on the European Common Market available at the UNC Center for European Studies website:

The CES website has twenty-one briefs examine the EU and the trading relationship between the US and the EU. One cluster of papers provides an overview of EU political and institutional factors relevant to doing business there; other clusters examine the EU as a trading partner, macroeconomic and market considerations and considerations such as corporate governance, tax policy, and intellectual property regulations.  

Click on a title for a summary page and link to download the document in PDF format.

  1. North Carolina and the European Union: A Transatlantic Relationship

Doing Business in Europe

  1. The Single Market (and voluntary industrial standards)
    3. Corporate Governance (the development of an EU company statute)
    4. Corporate Taxation (moves toward harmonization)
    5. Financial Services (efforts to implement the financial services directive)
    6. Intellectual Property Rights (efforts to establish and EU patent)

Europe as a Trading Partner

  1. The External Face of Europe (how the EU and the member states represent trade)
    8. Agriculture
    9. Textiles
    10. Steel and Heavy Industry
    11. Information and Communications Technology

Macroeconomic and Market Considerations

  1. Money and Exchange Rates (inside and outside the euro)
    13. Monetary and Fiscal Policy (the ECB and the stability and growth pact)
    14. Unemployment and Welfare State Reform (the Lisbon Strategy)
    15. Wage Bargaining and Worker Representation
    16. Education and Labor Mobility (Bologna Process, recognition of degrees, etc.)

Political and Institutional Factors

  1. Decision making and Legislation (Council, Commission, Parliament, Member States )
    18. Rule Enforcement and Dispute Resolution (Commission and ECJ)
    19. Security, Internal and External (CFSP, JHA, and GWOT)
    20. Special Relationships, Special Problems
    (Neighborhood, Euro-Med, Immigration)

    21. Europe as a Political Entity (Federalism, Subsidiarity, Democracy)
    22. Political and Institutional Factors (The New European Constitution)


Other meetings on European issues during the semester:

During the semester, students will be expected to participate in campus and off-campus events related to the content of the course. Currently scheduled events at the Center for European Studies are:


August 25

Milada Vachudova, “Democracy Promotion and the EU’s Foreign Policy” (Readings: Kopstein and Intro to book)


September 8

Milada Vachudova,  “The EU’s Eastward Enlargement” (Readings Chapter 5)


September 22

Ulrich Grothus (North American Director DAAD-German Academic Exchange Service). Transatlantic exchange in higher education, specifically between North America and Germany


Oct 6

Don Searing (UNC) Comparative tolerance in US and Europe (tentative topic)


Oct 13

Sophie Meunier (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Princeton University) “The EU as a conflicted trade power.” Paper on file


Oct 27

Claude Mosséri-Marlio, European Court of Justice


Nov 3

Henrik Enderlein (Fulbright Visiting Professor, Duke U.) His work is on EMU.


November 10/11

Conference:  Family, Work and Welfare. Institute for Arts and Humanities.


Nov 10

Erik Jones  (Resident Professor of European Studies, SAIS Bologna Center,Johns Hopkins University) “The Crisis of European Solidarity”—3 short readings


November 17

David Coates (WFU) “Waiting for the waters to break: New Labour in its third trimester”


Dec 1

Martine Antle (UNC) “The new faces of immigration in France”






Standard Geography of Europe texts


  • Berentsen, W. (ed.) Contemporary Europe: A Geographic Analysis (1997), 7th edn. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Gowland, D., O’Neill, B. and Dunphy, R. (2000, 2nd. ed.). The European mosaic. Longman, Harlow
  • Heffernan, M. The Meaning of Europe: Geography and Geopolitics. New York: Arnold, 1998.
  • Jordan-Bychkov, T.J. and Bella Bychkova Jordan ed.The European Culture Area: A Systematic Geography, 4th, 2001.
  • McDonald, J.R.. The European Scene: A Geographic Perspective, 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997.
  • Pinder, D. (ed.) (1998) The new Europe, economy, society and environment Wiley, Chichester
  • Unwin, T. (ed.) (1998) A European Geography. Longman, Harlow


Broader conceptual debates for graduate students:

The question of open citizenship

  • Emily Apters, “Introduction” to Balibar’s “World Borders, Political Borders,” PMLA, Volume 177/1, 2002.
  • Etienne Balibar, “World Borders, Political Borders,” PMLA, Volume 117/1, January 2002.
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, Chap. 1 “Introduction: The Idea of Provincializing Europe” in Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), (pp.1-11 only).



Derrida and Habermas’s challenge

  • Ross Benjamin and Heesok Chang. “Jacques Derrida, The Last European”
    SubStance – Issue 110 (Volume 35, Number 2), 2006, pp. 140-171
  • Iris Marion Young. 2003. Europe and the global south: toward a circle of equality.
  • James Wesley Scott, The EU and ‘Wider Europe’: Toward an Alternative Geopolitics of Regional Cooperation? Geopolitics, Autumn 2005, Vol. 10 Issue 3: 429-454.
  • Merje Kuus, Multiple Europes: Boundaries and Margins in European Union Enlargement. Geopolitics, Autumn 2005, Vol. 10 Issue 3: 567-570.
  • Michael Heffernan, The End of Atlanticism: Habermas, Derrida and the Meaning of Europe in the Twenty-first Century. Geopolitics, Autumn 2005, Vol. 10 Issue 3: 570-575.
  • Anssi Paasi, Remarks on Europe’s Transforming Meta-geography. Geopolitics, Autumn2005, Vol. 10 Issue 3: 580-585
  • John Agnew, Bounding the European Project. Geopolitics, Autumn 2005, Vol. 10 Issue 3: 575-580.


John Pickles is the Daniel W. Patterson Distinguished Professor of Geography and International Studies in the Department of Geography and the Curriculum in Global Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He holds PhDs from the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Natal, and MA and BA (Hons) from Oxford University. His primary areas of research and teaching deal with the economic geography of contemporary Europe, the history of ideas, and post-socialist Europe. He currently works on three related areas of research; the changing dynamics in apparel global value chains and their effects on the geographies of production and employment in different regions; post-socialist economies and the integration of Central and East European countries into the EU; and migration routes and border management in Euro-Med. He has published numerous books on cultural and geographical theory and the economic geographies of post-socialist Europe, including: Anomie of the Earth: Philosophy, Politics, Autonomy (co-edited, Duke University Press, 2015), A History of Spaces: Cartographic Reason, Mapping, and the Geo-Coded World(Routledge, 2004), Articulations of Capital: Global Production Networks and Regional Transformations (co-authored with Adrian Smith, Wiley, 2016), and Toward Better Work – Understanding Labour in Apparel Global Value Chains (co-edited, Macmillan 2013)


Published on June 3, 2020.





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