The Post-Europe Project may sound a bit ominous. The aim is not to bring about or even hasten the end of Europe; whatever that might mean, our help is probably not needed for it - Europe is perfectly capable on its own (see here for one way how). Hopefully though, the name is provocative. Much of the debate surrounding the idea of Europe or the question of Europe seems to fall into one of three non-mutually-exclusive camps: rather technocratic discussion about the formal structure of governing institutions, eurocentrism or anti-eurocentrism (the latter being different from euro-skepticism, which often remains eurocentric).
In a recent piece, John Drabinski, Professor of Black Studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts, described eurocentrism in reference to the great Frantz Fanon’s comment that “Europe takes itself as its own measure”. Another, rather coarse, way of expressing this would be to say that the sense of superiority vis-à-vis the rest of the world is very deeply and often subconsciously ingrained in European cultural and political life.
In a post-European world this conviction has deleterious effects on the way that geopolitical challenges are addressed at all levels, and in today’s world nearly all major political issues are geopolitical in their nature. The philosopher Simon Glendinning puts it well when he writes: “For a Eurocentric thinker Europe is not just one sample of human culture among others, not just one regional culture among others – but is the best example, the head of the pack: the avant-garde for the whole of humanity in its history and its development.”
There is however a very apparent risk that the critical response to this attitude can become a form of self-loathing, an unreflective anti-eurocentrism that thinks of Europe as an “undifferentiated shit factory” as the philosopher Paul Moyaert once put it. Unreflective anti-eurocentrism risks overlooking many of the accomplishments, especially of post-WWII Europe. An unscientific and anecdotal analysis of the European psyche suggests that these two positions - eurocentrism and (unreflective) anti-eurocentrism - are often held in concert with one another in a form of debilitating cognitive dissonance, a particularly European pathology. [read more]