My first book, based on the dissertation I wrote at Yale University, is currently under review. The manuscript, entitled "The European Rupture: A Critical Theory of Memory and Integration in the Wake of Total War," examines how memories of war on the continent acted as cognitive, motivational and justificatory resources for postwar integration. Although the past usually limits autonomy by forcing events into existing causal chains, I show that the experience of Europe’s age of total war created opportunities for political change by providing actors with new arguments to question sovereignty and the nation-state. In light of the ongoing crisis of the Eurozone, I argue that the fading of these memories has undermined Europe’s normative foundations, resulting in the increasing economization of the EU.
I am currently working on a number of interrelated papers. One group continues my exploration of the role of public intellectuals in modern, democratic societies, focusing on the responses of important thinkers to the development of the EU. The other examines the rise of transitional justice as an example of a new global norm, which is applied via different mechanisms in different parts of the world.
Dissertation: “A New Beginning for Europe: Memory, Rupture and Integration in the Wake of Total War” (Yale University, 2013).
Committee: Seyla Benhabib (Chair), Bryan Garsten, Adam Tooze (History).
ABSTRACT The memories of 1914-45 played a crucial role in the origins of the European Union (EU). Building on twentieth-century political thought, I argue that these events created a rift in European narratives of the past. I document how the past provided postwar leaders such as Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet with the cognitive, motivational and justificatory resources to rethink the continent’s political foundations. In light of the Eurozone crisis, I argue that that the passing of the generation of memory has undermined Europe’s foundations by depriving the current cohort of Europeans of the normative imperatives necessary to think of the EU as more than just an economic union.