Keukeleire says some of those who take his EU introductory classes for second-year students as part of the bachelor’s programme can have trouble getting their heads around it all. “The EU is complex for them because it is complex for us.” But the huge amount of media coverage about the eurozone crisis helps. “It’s easier to teach because it’s in the news everyday,” he says. No changes Not everyone has been revamping the curriculum. Edward Arnold, director of the Centre for European Studies at Trinity College in Dublin, has not changed the course in the bachelor’s programme. “For the past 24 years, we have had a history of ideas/cultural history angle to European studies, and we have not changed our approach to teaching in the face of [this] economic armageddon.” Horst Tomann, head of the amalgamated, one-year master’s of European studies programme at Berlin’s three major universities, has also left teaching plans unchanged, at least for now. Jones says the impact of eurozone malaise in the classroom has claimed at least one victim, namely the creation of a coherent narrative for East-West relations – how former Soviet countries have dealt with the EU since the end of the Cold War. “That is an unfinished agenda,” he says. Eric Culp is a freelance journalist basedin Frankfurt. Teaching tools Paradigm shifts in Europe are pressuring educators to keep pace with the frenetic activity of politicians, civil servants and financial leaders. “The crisis is really a teaching tool,” Della Sala says. “Academic publishing takes a while to catch up with events, so I have to integrate more contemporary and ongoing issues into classes.” This has its advantages, he says. “The news offers a wider context in which to present the material.” Of course, the lack of textbooks on the current state of European policy makes learning about it that much more difficult for those starting out in European studies programmes. Della Sala says students unfamiliar with the EU are “more perplexed than anything else” as they try to comprehend the current changes along with the standard course material. For advanced students, he says, “it’s more a question of helping them make sense of what’s going on. They are just trying to understand how this will affect…the future of the EU.” In some cases, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Stephan Keukeleire, director of the master’s programme in European studies at the University of Leuven, wants his students to focus on policy-making, and he sees parallels between Europe’s history and the events of today. “Just like in the late 1970s and 1980s, decisions are bring pre-cooked by Germany and France,” he says. However, Keukeleire, who also teaches at the College of Europe in Bruges, has been telling his students that they need to look at Europe from a more detached perspective. Over the past few years, he has developed an “outside-in” approach to examining the EU, forcing students to take a step back. The view is not always pleasant. “Students are in shock”, he says, when he tells them that “the BRIC countries [Brazil, Russia, India and China] are changing the rules of the game”. As Europe changes, so does the way it is studied. The spectre of sovereign defaults, renascent nationalism, rising unilateralism and bilateralism, and ever closer links between states and major financial institutions have radically altered how the European Union goes about its business. This is forcing European studies professors to adapt their teaching to keep pace. At the same time, the more Europe affects people around the world, the more students gravitate to European studies – enrolment is on the increase. The good news is that state and financial crises have pushed an often overlooked component of European relations – political economy – to the fore, according to Erik Jones, director of the Bologna Institute for Policy Research, part of Johns Hopkins University. He suggests that difficulties within the eurozone and their global impact have made economic and financial relations between countries much more important than diplomatic history, once the main focus of European studies. While his process remains the same – “the way I teach has not changed,” Jones says – he has been updating the content of his lessons. “I’ve had to add in financial issues,” he says. Small focus Jones says the debt crisis has not only put the spotlight on the role of economics and high finance in Europe’s past, present and future, but is also “hugely helpful” in piquing interest in smaller member states and how they can drive EU policy. In fact, it was the threat of national insolvencies that prompted Jones to ask students to write about the responses of individual countries to the sovereign-debt crisis. The resulting reports were later collected in a book. In addition, the “polarising” media debate has enlivened classroom discussions and allowed for the introduction and examination of controversial positions from some of the smaller and more radical political parties in member states. “You can bring in voices from the German Free Democrats, the True Finns and the Dutch Freedom Party,” says Jones. This gives students a chance to argue and debunk populist views that some Europeans are lazier or more corrupt than others. The eurozone crisis has also reinvigorated the study of Europe itself, Jones says. Interest rose from 1999 to 2003 thanks to the introduction of the single currency and the different positions adopted on the Iraq war. But he says the failed ratification of a European constitution caused many students to turn their backs on Europe. While the number of European studies scholars has not returned to the levels of a decade ago, the economic and financial problems have boosted interest. Jones is not the only one noticing an increase in interest. “My suspicion is that the crisis has generated more interest in courses about the European Union,” says Vincent Della Sala, a professor of European studies at the University of Trento. He adds that the region’s importance among international relations scholars is on the rise, too.