Laura Shannon Prize Lecture: The Peace Conundrum in European History

It has been an entrenched tradition to narrate the history of the European continent as a sequence of bloody conflicts that culminated in two World Wars and continued into the Cold War. Today the Russian-Ukrainian War seems to confirm that narrative as a dominant one. Breaking with that enduring historiographical trend, this lecture boldly takes the opposite approach, by focusing instead on Europe’s peaceful cycles between wars, over three centuries. It will explore two questions: “What is lasting peace”? and “How is it possible to achieve it?” The lecture embraces the intellectual and political history of Europe, both in space (including the Balkans and Russia) and in time (going as far back as the eighteenth century) to consider European history as the struggle of rational attempts to ensure lasting peace, against short-sighted instincts of self-destruction.

Stella Ghervas is the winner of the 2023 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies for her book Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union. This event was recorded on Thursday, November 2, 2023.

Stella Ghervas, Professor of History and Eugen Weber Chair in Modern European History at the University of California, Los Angeles

For more information visit the event website.

Nanovic Institute for European Studies

November 2, 2023

Art and HistoryGlobal AffairsLaw and PoliticsDigest188digest222EuropeHistoryKeough School of Global AffairsLaura Shannon PrizeNanovic Institute for European StudiesPeacePoliticsUniversity of Notre Dame

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