Campus: CSU Fullerton -- April 7, 2004
Understanding Europe Without Leaving Campus
European Studies…isn't that a fancy name for Western Civ classes?
"While history and geography are certainly strong components of this new degree
program, the aim is much broader," said Cora Granata, assistant professor of
history and coordinator of the European Studies Program introduced this spring
at Cal State Fullerton.
"With 10 new countries joining the European Union and seven from eastern Europe
joining NATO, more attention will continue to be focused on this region."
At Cal State Fullerton, the European Studies Program takes the place of the
former Russian and East European Area Studies Program. It is one of only two
such degree programs offered in the California State University system.
It is, most emphatically, Granata says, "not just about a group of dead white
"European studies provide an interdisciplinary exploration of Europe as a
dynamic, multicultural world region. That means we will not only be studying
history and geography, but language, art, music, business, philosophy and
political science," Granata added. "What sets our program apart is that the
Europe we study is different from traditional images. We emphasize Europe's
ethnic, class and gender diversity."
For many years, students with a particular interest in Europe could enter
the Russian and East European Area Studies Program, which was very popular
during the Cold War, said Granata.
But as the Cold War ended, interest began to wane. When faculty members with
expertise in the field began to retire, the program simply wound down, she
noted. Yet, interest in Europe as a whole remains strong.
"European studies is picking up where Russian and East European Area Studies
left off," she said. "While our students will study Russia and east Europe,
our focus has broadened to include all of Europe. We're providing an opportunity
for students to learn more about this area of the world."
Proficiency in a European language, such as French, German, Spanish or
Portuguese, is necessary to fulfill the language requirement for the bachelor's
degree in European studies. Language classes may be taken at CSUF or at
The major consists of 39 upper-division units, including a required set of core
courses. Elective courses are selected from within five tracks: "European
Culture, Religion and Philosophy;" "European Fine Arts and Literatures;"
"European History, Politics and Society;" "Communications, Business and
Economics in Europe" or "Thematic Plan in European Studies."
"I think European studies is part of a larger, national trend," Granata said.
"After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many started to re-think their focus of
Europe. With current divisions between the U.S. and Europe regarding foreign
policy, offering American students the opportunity to develop a deeper
understanding of the region is more important than ever."
Students and faculty members will celebrate the new program with an April
7 panel discussion. "The Impact of European Union Enlargement on Central and
Eastern Europe" is slated for 2:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Performing
Arts Center. The event is open to the public free of charge.
Cora Granata, coordinator of the European
Studies Program, at (714) 278-3568 or
Valerie Orleans of Public Affairs at (714) 278-4540 or