Imaginary Europes, Phantoms of the Past, Conceptions of the Future?

Elisabeth Bekers, Sissy Helff, Maggie Ann Bowers

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3 Citations (Scopus)
168 Downloads (Pure)


TThe 20th century has witnessed crucial changes in our perceptions of Europe. Two World Wars and many regional conflicts, the end of empires and of the Eastern Bloc, the creation and expansion of the European Union, and the continuous reshaping of Europe’s population through emigration, immigration, and globalization have led to a proliferation of images of Europe within the continent and beyond. While Eurocentrism governs current public debates in Europe, literary and cinematographic imaginings of Europe are produced from more distant, decentred, or peripheral vantage points and across differences of political power, ideological or ethnic affinity, cultural currency, linguistic practice, and geographical location. These particular imaginings of Europe, often without first-hand experience of the continent, do not simply hold up a mirror to Europe, but dare to conceive of new perspectives and constellations for Europe that call for a shifting of critical positions. In so doing, the artistic visions from afar confirm the significance of cultural imagination in (re)conceptualizing the past, present, and future of Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)127-131
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Imaginary Europes
  • postcolonial literature
  • Europe in literature


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