Skip to main content


European Intellectuals and the Economic Crisis

General Programming

dateOctober 9, 2013 timeWednesday, 7:15pm EDT location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
Anatomical drawing of person with map of Europe in chest

We might have expected the severity of the crisis in Europe that opened in 2008 and intensified following fears of a Greek default in 2010 to have elicited a vibrant pan-European debate, with intellectuals playing an active role. In fact the circulation of ideas has been limited and intellectuals have not had much impact or succeeded in opening up new perspectives for the continent. In this discussion Balibar and Tooze will explore why this was so and whether it reflects a transformation in the role of the intellectuals themselves. Has a gap opened up between the technical experts and those speculating on the idea of Europe more broadly? What in particular does economic and legal expertise now contribute and what are its limitations? Has the crisis revealed the durability of national barriers and cultural divides? The participants will address these questions in order to prompt a broader and more wide-ranging debate about the power and character of intellectuals today in the face of the most serious crisis to confront the continent since the Second World War.

Mark Mazower, Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities, will chair.

  • Etienne Balibar Visiting Professor of French and Romance Philology Columbia University
  • Adam Tooze Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History Columbia University
  • Mark Mazower Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies Department of History, Columbia University