Europe: Past & Future

At a glance

What: Classes, lectures, and other ideas exploring the long history of Europe as well as its present and future

When: Spring 2019

Questions: Contact Jessica Courtier or call 608-890-3626

Map of the world mosaic on plaza grounds

Europe: Past & Future

The year 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which set the diplomatic terms for ending World War I and sought to balance the concerns of individual nations with international issues: war crimes reparations, national boundaries, trade, the formation of the League of Nations, and much more.

The issues Europe faces today are different in details but not necessarily in kind: tradition and cultural change; humanitarian crises and immigration; entwined economic systems.

This anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the deep history of Europe as well as issues in the present.

Check out the classes and events in this series:


Street Life in Paris: The Pulse of the City

Drawing on pictorial and textual examples from the French Revolution to today’s street culture, learn about the many facets of Parisian streets as sites of revolutionary protests, flourishing café culture, urban development, artistic inspiration, and creative experiments.

Wed, May 8, 7-8:30pm
Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St.

Free; registration requested but not required: email


Europe: Past & Future CLASSES


Great Composers: Dufay, Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Stravinsky

For the novice listener or the seasoned music connoisseur, here’s an opportunity to learn more about the lives and music of major composers of Western classical art music. During the course we explore the lives and music of four great composers: Dufay, Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, and Stravinsky.

Program and registration details

The Life of a Medieval City: Laon, France

What was life like in a medieval city? We’ll use the citadel of Laon, in northern France, to learn about daily life: government, education, family life, professions, and food systems. Each class will include numerous images, both historical and modern.

Program and registration details

Marble Cities of Asia Minor

Explore in depth the major marble cities of Anatolia/ Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), looking into the history, sculptures, and monumental buildings. Tour Aphrodisias, the city of Aphrodite; Pergamon, which was the home of the famous Altar of Zeus; and Ephesus, with its marble streets and facades.

Program and registration details

The Riches of European Cities, Past and Present

Take a tour of European cities, traveling from the top of Europe to the gateway to Asia. Each lecture will include a discussion of history, culture, contemporary life, and numerous images. Cities include Stockholm, Sweden; Kaunas, Lithuania; Dublin, Ireland; Berlin, Germany; and Istanbul, Turkey.

Program and registration details

Spanish Traditions Today: Old Meets New

Today, many Spaniards protest bullfighting, listen to pop music, and identify as secular, but at the same time, iconic Spanish traditions are experiencing a revival. Join us to find out how old traditions are taking on new and sometimes surprising shapes in today’s Spain.

Program and registration details

Tuesday Morning Booktalks

Join other book lovers at the downtown Madison Public Library for exciting discussions of world literature. Extensive handouts provided.

Program and registration details

Understanding Contemporary European Politics

As in the United States, the politics of Europe include debates about national identity, immigration, partisan political processes, economics, and changes in contemporary society. Learn about contemporary European politics with both a broad overview and case studies of individual countries.

Program and registration details

“What History Tells”: European Racism, Antisemitism, and the Fate of Liberalism, 1890-1945

Examine how European society constructed ‘others’ and ‘outsiders’ between 1890 and 1945, drawing from recordings, lectures, and writings from famed UW-Madison history professor George Mosse.

Program and registration details