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 men.

"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 another institution.

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.

Media Contacts:
Cora Granata, coordinator of the European Studies Program, at (714) 278-3568 or

Valerie Orleans of Public Affairs at (714) 278-4540 or

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