The Europe Center May 2015 Newsletter

Special Event: The Europe Center Lectureship on Europe and the World

Please mark your calendars for the second annual lectures in this series by Joel Mokyr, Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Economics and History at Northwestern University.

“Culture of Growth:  Origins of the Modern Economy”
Date:  May 20, 2015
Time:  4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Location:  Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall

Why and how did the modern economy emerge? An understanding of the origins of Modern Economic Growth that started with the Industrial Revolution requires a more complete analysis of the growth of the “useful arts” (applied science and technology) in Europe before the Industrial Revolution between 1500 and 1700. The cultural beliefs of the educated elite changed dramatically in this era. An economic approach to cultural change sheds considerable light on what changed in this era that made the modern economy possible.

“Long-Term Economic Change in China and Europe:  The Needham Paradox Revisited”
Date:  May 21, 2015
Time:  4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Location:  Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall

Many eminent scholars have argued for decades now on the origins and causes of the “Great Divergence” between Europe and China. Cultural factors that determined the big difference in the willingness to engage in and accept intellectual innovation and scientific research in practical application played an important role and created the “Needham Puzzle.” An economic analysis of the roots of this cultural gap shows how it came about and what its effects were on long-term economic development.


Professor Joel Mokyr, Northwestern UniversityJoel Mokyr specializes in economic history and the economics of technological change and population change. He is the author of Why Ireland Starved: An Analytical and Quantitative Study of the Irish Economy,  The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic ProgressThe British Industrial Revolution: An Economic PerspectiveThe Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy, and The Enlightened Economy. He is currently working on the intellectual and institutional origins of modern economic growth and the way they interacted with technological elements. We welcome you to visit our website for additional details about this event.



Introducing the Stanford Global Studies Minor with a Concentration in European Studies

The Europe Center is pleased to announce that starting in Fall 2015, Stanford undergraduate students will have the opportunity to minor in Global Studies, with a concentration in European Studies. The new minor will allow those students who have developed an interdisciplinary interest in the history, culture, politics, societies, and institutions of Europe, past and present, to organize their studies in a coherent and mentored fashion. Students will have an opportunity to design their focus within the minor to encourage the interdisciplinary and comparative study of a vast array of topics related to Europe. The minor is especially well-suited for undergraduates who plan to make Europe-based overseas studies a part of their Stanford experience. Students and faculty interested in learning more about the program should contact Ken Scheve at or Christophe Crombez at


Recap:  French Ambassador Gérard Araud Visits Stanford

France is grappling with rising terrorism and the climate change problem, French Ambassador Gérard Araud said during a talk sponsored by The Europe Center. “We had been expecting a terrorist attack for some time,” said Araud, referencing the January massacre in Paris in which two shooters who identified themselves as Islamic terrorists killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices and wounded several others. “The attack in Paris was like our 9/11.”

Gérard Araud, French Ambassador to the United States; May 1, 2015He said that France is undertaking both educational and law enforcement efforts aimed at taming the spread of radicalized Islamic youth in the country – but there is no easy solution. For example, it is almost impossible to monitor all the potential suspects, shut down offensive websites only to see them pop up shortly thereafter, and even track youth coming and going from Islamic campaigns in places like Syria and Iraq. “Everything,” Araud said, “depends on the balance between civil liberties and law enforcement. We’re trying to adjust to this new threat.” More than a hundred people turned out for Araud's talk, which was held in the Koret-Taube Conference Center. The event, held May 1, was billed as the “State of the France-U.S. Relationship and Priorities for 2015.” Araud was appointed Ambassador of France to the United States in 2014. He has held positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. (Reporting by Clifton B. Parker. Additional details about this event can be found here.)


Spring 2014 Graduate Student Grant Competition Winners Announced

Please join us in congratulating the winners of The Europe Center Spring 2015 Graduate Student Grant Competition:


  • Alexandra BlackmanPolitical Science, “The Politicization of Faith: Understanding the Rise of Political Islamism in the Contemporary Middle East”
  • Lukas DovernHistory, “Investing in Socialism: A History of the People’s Republic of Poland as Part of a Global Monetary and Financial System”
  • Andre FischerGerman Studies, “Mythic thought and utopian aesthetics in German postwar culture”
  • Adriane FreshPolitical Science, “Essays on Elites, Institutions and Development”
  • Daniel-Oliver Garcia-Macia, Economics, “The Financing of Ideas and the Great Deviation”
  • Melissa KagenGerman Studies, “‘Alle Wege der Welt’: Wandering in German/Jewish opera after Wagner”
  • Michelle KahnHistory, “Everyday Integration: Turks, Germans, and the Boundaries of Europe”
  • Camilla MazzucatoAnthropology & Archaeology, “The emergence of megasites in Central Anatolia: the view from Çatalhöyük”
  • Agustina PaglayanPolitical Science, “Comparative Political Economy of Education and Human Capital”
  • Julia RoeverHistory, “When Medicine Fails: The Origins of Medical Malpractice in Early Modern Italy”
  • David Y. YangEconomics, “The Lives of Others - Stasi and the Impairment of Social Trust”
  • Ruxi ZhangPolitical Science, “The Role of Middle Classes in Democratization in Post-Communist States”


The Spring Grant Competition winners will join 10 graduate students who were awarded competitive research grants by the Center in Fall 2014.