Institute for European Studies Year-in-Review 2022/23

The Institute for European Studies (IES) is an international research program at Cornell University that promotes learning, research, and teaching about European cultures, societies, and languages. We are part of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and the Vice-Provost for International Affairs.

2022/23 has been a busy year for IES, with new research initiatives, student opportunities, and events. Below are some highlights of our work over the past twelve months.

2022-23 Highlights

Research update
Student impact

research update


We started two major new research initiatives over the past year: Research Pod funding for faculty collaborations, and a Graduate Fellows program for graduate students interested in the interdisciplinary field of European Studies. Both of these initiatives are meant to encourage the creation of a close research community with IES at the center.

The first IES research pod has been awarded in February 2023. Led by our affiliated faculty Isabel Perera (Government), in collaboration with Virginia Doellgast (ILR) and several other researchers from Cornell’s CALS and ILR schools, this research team will explore how different occupational groups and public policies are responding to technological change (in particular the introduction of Artificial Intelligence technologies) in two key sectors – health care and telecommunications – in the United Kingdom and United States. The broader team also includes several UK-based researchers at King’s College London, a Cornell partner through the Global Hubs initiative. We at IES wish the team a productive and long-lived collaboration!

Isabel Perera https://einaudi.cornell.edu/discover/people/isabel-m-perera
Virginia Doellgast https://einaudi.cornell.edu/discover/people/virginia-doellgast

IES Graduate Fellows Program

The Institute for European Studies aims to become a focal point at Cornell for an interdisciplinary European Studies research community. In the spring of 2023, we have issued our first call for Graduate Fellows, and we have selected eight graduate students from departments as varied as History, Music, Romance Studies, Government, Medieval Studies, and Industrial and Labor Relations.

The IES Fellows will advance their research and contribute to the European Studies community by attending and engaging in IES-hosted talks, and by organizing and taking part in collective activities such as a graduate research workshop and a year-end research symposium. IES supports these activities with a small research stipend to each Fellow, and with resources for group activities. We look forward to engaging with our new Graduate Fellows over the coming year!

2023/24 IES Graduate Research Fellows

Every year, we award more than $100, 000 in fellowships and internships to students and faculty to support research, travel, and study in the field of European Studies. In 2023, fifteen graduate students received our Michele Sicca, Manon Michels, and IES Graduate Research Grants, and two shared the Luigi Einaudi Graduate Dissertation Fellowship. They will be doing research in and about European locations as diverse as Greenland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, and Turkey.

The 2022 IES Luigi Einaudi Graduate Dissertation Fellowship recipient, Aimée Plukker (History), spent the past academic year doing research for her dissertation, Europe Calling: The Marshall Plan, U.S. Tourism to Europe, and the Making of “the West”. She visited archives and libraries in Rome, Florence, Amsterdam, Koblenz, Berlin, and Madrid, looking to document tourism to Europe in the early post-war period.

"The fellowship was essential for covering my housing, traveling, daily living, and research-related expenses, and I could not have conducted my ambitious multi-sited archival research plan without the financial help from the Institute of European Studies."

In addition to the annual IES undergraduate independent research and language grants (Frederic Conger Wood, Michael Harum, and Susan Tarrow fellowships), this past year was the first time we organized structured research internships in Europe for undergraduate students, funded by the Einaudi Center as Global Summer Internships. Three undergraduates served as research assistants at the I-Communitas Center of the Public University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain, and another interned at the Peace Education Hub of the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Cornell IES Einaudi Global Summer interns Andrew Wallace, McKenzie Carrier, and Summer Seward traveled to Pamplona, Spain

"The internship in Spain was incredible! I learned about sociological approaches to collective security, the history of terrorist organizations in the Basque Country, regional Spanish politics, the rise of far-right political parties, and so much more. I was able to polish my Spanish, utilize my technical skills, and be part of a rich and thriving academic community".

"Living in Pamplona was also a learning experience in itself. Roaming around the city walls (built in the 16th century) was a journey back in time; the countless wars fought along the walls, constant destruction and construction prior to the 16th century, and its apparent persistence throughout Spanish history made the walls feel alive. Perhaps my favorite museum in Pamplona was an exhibit of Pablo Sarasate, one of the preeminent violinists of the 19th century who hailed from Pamplona; I was fascinated with his journey all around the world representing the very best of Spain’s classical musicians, especially since I listened to his music as a child!"

Being immersed in Spanish culture for six weeks was exciting, dynamic, and informative. While I was a bit nervous at first, I felt more and more comfortable and welcome once I was introduced to the people living in Spain, and the friends I made there are some of the warmest, funniest, and kindest people I’ve ever met. I loved learning about Spanish culture as well; from the meal times (very different from the US!) to education to celebration (the San Fermin Festival was incredible), I got a glimpse of their way of life. I am very fortunate to have lived in Spain, and I came home with not only so much to reminisce about but also a lot to look forward to as I use this experience to contribute to an ever-changing world."

Andrew Wallace '24, Economics Major, European Studies and Public Policy Minor

European Studies Minor

Our European Studies Minor is continuing to be a popular way for Cornell undergraduates to advance their knowledge of Europe's past, present, and future by taking classes in European languages, culture, politics, and more. In May 2023, 20 students graduated with the Minor designation. For the first time, they were recognized in a celebratory year-end gathering in conjunction with the other three Einaudi Center minors.

Our Minors majored in diverse disciplines from across Cornell colleges, from Government, Economics, Labor Relations, and Policy Analysis and Management, to German Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Architecture, and Classics. The most common European language studied for the Minor was Spanish, followed closely by French, but our Minors also studied six other European languages: Italian, German, Portuguese, Latin, Polish, and Russian. Read below some impressions from our European Studies Minors and award recipients.

IES Events
IES 2022-23 Speaker Series

This year IES continued programming on the theme of "Challenges to Democracy: Authoritarianism and Extremism in Europe and Beyond" introduced by our Director, Prof. Mabel Berezin, in 2021/22. We hosted 10 lectures and panels by prominent academics from the US and abroad, and co-sponsored numerous others with our Einaudi and academic department partners.

Photos from 2022-23 IES Speaker Series
Visiting Scholars

In 2022/23 IES hosted four visiting scholars, from countries as diverse as Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Our Institute provided space and resources for working on research, as well as opportunities to engage with Cornell faculty and students. Several of our visiting scholars gave lectures on their areas of expertise.

Top: Oscar Mazzoleni (Lausanne University), Simon Parker (University of York), Melik Karagöz (Istanbul University); Bottom: Dmitry Bykov (Russia) with students from the Russian Language Program at Cornell (learn more about Bykov's fellowship at IES)


What did you enjoy most about being at Cornell? The chance to engage with faculty and students, not just in relation to my own research but to talk about their research areas and fields of study in different international contexts and with often very different disciplinary perspectives. The library and research facilities at Cornell were also second to none, and the research support staff could not have been more helpful and welcoming (Simon Parker).

What surprised you the most about being at Cornell? Inclusive and welcoming community at Cornell was nice and a bit surprising to me. I really liked the way it is (Melik Karagöz).

I was really struck by just how international Cornell is in terms of its staff and student body and I was really impressed by how outward looking it is as an institution. There is a big emphasis on encouraging students to go out and discover the world and bring their experiences back to their classrooms and wider peer networks. This is so important at a time when the challenges we face as a world population such as the climate emergency require truly international cooperation and mutual understanding (Simon Parker).

How was the Visiting Scholar engaged at Cornell? Dmitry Bykov has been intensively engaged with my courses of Russian for Russian Specialists. Students loved his classes and were fascinated by his engagement and personal approach. In the end, I have to tell you that I truly appreciate (IES') initiative on my inviting Bykov to collaborate on my courses. This turned out to be so productive and consequential, and, moreover, so enjoyable and memorable for everyone engaged! (Raissa Krivitsky, Senior Lecturer, Comparative Literature, Cornell)

CES Europeanists Conference Round-up

The Council for European Studies (CES) is the preeminent organization linking American and European academics doing research in European Studies. As an institutional member of CES, Cornell's IES has a significant presence at CES' annual Europeanists conference. This year, the conference took place at the University of Iceland, and IES faculty associates participated in various panels. IES Director Mabel Berezin was a roundtable panelist on Historical Origins of Democratic Crisis, and spoke about whether the fascism debate matters for the 2024 US presidential election. She cautioned against using the term fascism loosely, without understanding the differences between contemporary US debates and the 1930s fascism in Italy or Germany, and proposed the term nativism as more compelling for describing current US political impulses. Isabel Perera (Government) spoke on The Welfare Workforce: Trade Unions and Mental Health Care in France, while graduate student Frances Cayton (Government) presented on Economically Motivated Persecution: Witchcraft Trials in 17th Century Poland, a paper co-authored with Alexandra Cirone (Government). Virginia Doellgast's (ILR School) new book Exit, Voice, and Solidarity: Contesting Precarity in the US and European Telecommunications Industries, was discussed in an 'author meets critics' book panel.

His Excellency, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland, himself a history professor on leave from the University of Iceland, gave the keynote address, "In Europe, Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit. Presidents and Academics, Nationalism and Objectivity", drawing on Iceland's 'Cod Wars' with the UK to make a broader point about the dangers of nationalism.

'Author Meets Critics' book roundtable for Virginia Doellgast's Exit, Voice, and Solidarity: Contesting Precarity in the US and European Telecommunications Industries (Oxford University Press, 2022).

Virginia Doellgast (Cornell ILR) answers comments about her book from Isabel Perera (Cornell Government)

Ian Greer (Cornell ILR) speaks on The Structural Power of Workers under Capitalism

Keynote address by the President of Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

In 2024, the CES annual conference will take place in Lyon, France, July 3-5, 2024. Proposals may be submitted from September 5 to October 17, 2023 on the CES website. We hope to see many Cornellians in Lyon!

Looking forward

IES will continue to offer engaging programming and funding opportunities in 2023/24. We will start the academic year with our inaugural IES Luigi Einaudi Distinguished Lecture, our keynote event of the year, delivered by renowned historian Stephen Kotkin (Hoover Institution and Princeton History Emeritus).

Soviet Collapse in the Fullness of Time: Lessons for Putin's Russia, Xi's China, and Beyond

IES Luigi Einaudi Distinguished Lecture

What lessons have Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping drawn from the Soviet collapse, and what lessons are they failing to draw? Prof. Stephen Kotkin, Kleinheinz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Professor in History and International Affairs emeritus at Princeton University, will talk about how we might see the Soviet collapse, looking back more than three decades. Was the collapse predictable? Did a new world order emerge, and is one emerging now? Could such collapse be repeated? How can we use history to illuminate the present, and potential futures, and when does history fail us?

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at 5:00pm, Physical Sciences Building 120, 245 East Avenue