European Studies is an interdisciplinary concentration focusing on the complex and often contradictory crux of both historical and contemporary forces that shape Europe. From the Ural mountains to the Atlantic, the richness and contested nature of multiple national identities, socio-economic and political movements, and cultural and intellectual traditions invite such in-depth, comparative study. European Studies throws into relief inherent differences of language, culture, and history. It allows students to problematize the fundamental debates of our own times, including race, gender, and sexual inequalities; the nature and (ab)uses of state power; the relationships among language, identity, and economy; cultural expression and exchange; and the power and limitations of geographical borders.
European Studies enhances the disciplinary depth and methodological training of the undergraduate major field by exposing students to multiple perspectives and by requiring thematic, cross-disciplinary, comparative thinking. Beyond this vital intellectual contribution to a liberal arts education, the European Studies Concentration also positions students for post-graduate success. Concentrators achieve language proficiency in at least one European language, have study-abroad experience (in most cases), often participate in an internship connected to a European institution, may complete an independent, comparative capstone project outside of their major, and benefit from connections to a broad network of Grinnell alumni in European-related professions.
22 credits are required to complete the European Studies Concentration. 20 of these credits must be earned in courses chosen from the list below. Students must take at least one course in each of the following thematic areas:
1) Identities: Race, Religion, Gender, and Nation
Courses that address notions of identity and the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion as their central category of analysis
2) Artistic and Intellectual Traditions
Courses that focus primarily on various forms of artistic expression or philosophical thought
3) Social and Political Movements and Institutions
Courses that center upon the analysis of state structures, public and private organizations, and social actors
In addition to earning 20 credits in four-credit courses arrayed as indicated above, students must complete two credits for the concentration in one of the following ways:
1) participating in a two-credit, Europe-related short course;
2) taking a plus-two option alongside a four-credit course from the concentration;
3) completing an internship with a European-based organization or institution; or
4) taking a two-credit guided reading course (297) in preparation for a capstone project
Pending the approval of the concentration committee, students may elect to complete a sixth four-credit course from the concentration list in lieu of the two-credit requirement.
In accumulating 22 credits for the concentration, the following requirements pertain:
• At least one course must deal primarily with Europe before 1800
• At least one course must deal primarily with Europe after 1800
• At least one course must fall outside the geographical focus of the student's major
(eg an English major must take a course with a focus outside of the British isles)
• At least one course must be taken at the 300 level or above
• A maximum of 10 credits in the same department may count toward the concentration
• A maximum of 8 credits of coursework completed during off-campus study may be
counted toward the concentration, pending the approval of the concentration
Special topic or variable content courses may also satisfy one of the requirements for the concentration. A list of these courses will be available prior to pre-registration.
Students must demonstrate proficiency at least through the fourth semester (or equivalent) of a non-English European language sequence, as certified by the relevant department (eg completion of ancient Greek 222, Arabic 222, French 222, German 222, Latin 222, Russian 222, Spanish 285, or approved language from the ALSO program).
Students are strongly encouraged to complete two semesters of coursework beyond the intermediate level in one of the non-English European language departments (Classics, French and Arabic, German, Russian, Spanish). These courses may count toward the curricular requirement for the concentration.
Practical Learning Requirement
Students must participate in one of the following practical learning opportunities, pending approval of the concentration committee:
1) a semester or year-long study abroad program in Europe;
2) a summer language and/or culture program in Europe;
3) an internship with a European-based organization or institution; or
4) significant involvement in on-campus, European-focused lectures, short-courses, symposia, and/or extra-curricular activities. Students must develop this program in consultation with the concentration advisor and submit a summary of activities to the concentration committee.
Qualified students may choose to replace one of their five four-credit courses with a capstone project developed in collaboration with any faculty member who teaches in the concentration. Such projects should build organically from student interest and intellectual preparation and be completed during the student's senior year. The concentration capstone may take the form of an independent study, a MAP, or an advanced course such as a senior seminar in which a substantial Europe-related project is the outcome. Normally, the capstone project may not be used to satisfy any departmental requirements for completion of the major; students may petition to waive this rule in exceptional circumstances. In all cases, a formal proposal must be approved by the concentration committee during the semester before the work begins. Students may choose to take a preparatory, two-credit guided reading course (297) with the director of the project. All completed concentration capstone projects must be presented in a public forum before graduation.
ESC Chair: Kelly Maynard