The European Union and the single currency have given Europe more stability than it has known in the past thousand years, yet Europe seems to be in perpetual crisis about its global role. The many European empires are now reduced to a multiplicity of ethnicities, traditions, and civilizations. Europe will never be One, but to survive as a union it will have to become a federation of “islands” both distinct and connected.
Though drawing on philosophers of Europe’s past, Cacciari calls not to resist Europe’s sunset but to embrace it. Europe will have to open up to the possibility that in few generations new exiles and an unpredictable cultural hybridism will again change all we know about the European legacy. Though scarcely alive in today’s politics, the political unity of Europe is still a necessity, however impossible it seems to achieve.
About the authors
Massimo Cacciari has been Dean of Philosophy at the Università San Raffaele in Milan and has served three times as mayor of Venice. He was also a member of the European Parliament in 1999. His books in English include Architecture and Nihilism, Posthumous People, The Necessary Angel, and The Unpolitical.
Alessandro Carrera is Director of Italian Studies and Graduate Director of World Cultures & Literatures at the University of Houston. He has edited Italian Critical Theory (Annali d’Italianistica, 29), and Music and Society in Italy (Forum Italicum, 49).
Massimo Verdicchio is professor of Italian and comparative literature at the University of Alberta. He is the author of Naming Things, Reading Dante Reading, and The Poetics of Dante’s Paradiso.
Europe and Empire is both timely and insightful. Politician, activist, philosopher and teacher, Massimo Cacciari explores both the hopes and possibilities of a nascent European Union as well as its current demise as a serious world power. What do the idea and reality of Europe hold for philosophy, politics and globalization? This is the central question of the essays of this volume. With great erudition, rich political insight and sharp critical analysis, Cacciari leads readers to a deeper understanding of the aspirations and failures of Europe, all from a deeply philosophical perspective: Europe in its “evening light” must learn to see itself through the “insufficiency” of its own self-definitions, a project similar to the negative theology of thinkers like Nicholas of Cusa. Cacciari calls us to think Europe as an unpolitical community.---—Antonio Calcagno, King’s University College, London, Canada