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Bringing Europe Into Your Classroom

At UW-Madison European Studies, we know that Europe is constantly changing and it can be hard sometimes to keep up. We have curated a list of Europe-focused media so that you can easily update yourself on everything in one place.

You can make learning about Europe engaging and relevant with current news articles, popular music, and film. Use our media suggestions to augment your lesson plan, or for your own edification and enjoyment!

Also, be sure to visit the Wisconsin Department of Public Institution for more lesson plans, learning tools, training opportunities, and other educational resources.

The below listed resources do not necessarily reflect the views of European Studies or its grantors. No official endorsement should be inferred. These publically available resources have been curated for their European themes and content for teachers to use in their personal edification or for use in their classroom. If you have any suggestions to add to our lists, please let us know by emailing us at europe@international.wisc.edu

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Featured Article

The ‘MacGyvered’ Weapons in Ukraine’s Arsenal

By Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, New York Times
August 28th, 2022

The United State of America and other allies of Ukraine have sent the country a variety of different weapons to be used in the war against Russia. The ways that Ukraine utilizes the weapons surprises everyone.

The article goes into depth of the specific ways that the weapons are utilized for maximum efficiency.

If you have an article to recommend, please contact us at  europe@international.wisc.edu

Featured Book

The Fountains of Silence

by Ruta Sepetys · October 2019

Ruta Sepetys, daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, is an internationally acclaimed #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over 60 countries and 40 languages.

The book focuses on life in post-war Spain under Franco’s dictatorship. In 1957, the regime needed money and opened the country to Americans hoping for investment. NPR says of the book, “Full of both beauty and terror. The Fountains of Silence may be about things that went unsaid for decades, but it speaks its truth loud and clear.”

 

Anno’s Journey

by Mitsumasa Anno, August 1997

This book goes through a pictorial journey through the traditional countryside, farms, and towns of northern Europe. It takes readers past familiar storybook characters, visual jokes and puzzles, tricks of perspective, and other surprises.

The author and illustrator, Mitsumasa Anno, is a Japanese illustrator and writer of children’s books. He received the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1984 for his “lasting contribution to children’s literature.”

Previous Books

Summer 2022, UK and Global
Love Marriage
By: Monica Ali

Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street: A Collection of Recipes to Share
By: Felicita Sala

Spring 2022, Sweden
Son of Svea: A Tale of the People’s Home
By Lena Andersson

Spring 2021, London
The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem
By Colleen Paeff

Fall 2021, Germany, East Germany
All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler
by Rebecca Donner

Flight for Freedom:

The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany
By Kristen Fulton

Spring 2021, France, Senegal, and Germany
At Night All Blood is Black 
by Amadou Diop

Fall 2020, Belgium and the UK 
Nowhere Boy
By  Katherine Marsh

Exit West
By, Mohsin Hamid

Spring 2020, Estonia
The Man who Spoke Snakish
By Andrus Kiviraehk

Fall 2019, Ireland 
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
By Patrick Radden Keefe

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European News Sources

BBC (UK)

Spiegl (Germany)

Le Monde (France)

Independent (Ireland)

Nordstjernan (Sweden)

El Pais (Spain)

Resident (Portugal)

Polskie Radio (Poland)

Flanders News (Belgium)

Politiken (Denmark)

European Radio/ Podcasts

Politics 

EU Confidential (Politico): A weekly podcast featuring keynote interviews on the forces shaping Europe.

Chain Reaction (Foreign Policy Research Institute): A fortnightly podcast examining the role of the US in the world with many episodes focused on the Transatlantic relationship.

The World in 30 minutes with Mark Leonard: Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, explores the big issues in foreign policy and Europe’s role in the world.

The Europeans: An award-winning podcast looking at politics and culture around the continent. It delves into stories that don’t get attention in the national media and interview fascinating people across Europe, from writers to activists, scientists to chefs.

The Political Party: Comedian and former political advisor Matt Forde interviews figures from the political world, such as current and former MPs, journalists and diplomats from all parts of the political spectrum.

Talking Politics: Launched after the Brexit vote in 2016 by Cambridge University professor David Runciman, Talking Politics is a weekly podcast that covers international and UK domestic affairs.

History 

How to Invent a Country: When did countries become countries? Misha Glenny speaks on the borders, the stories and the people of countries, with a focus on European nations.

The History of Rome: A weekly podcast tracing the history of the Roman Empire, beginning with Aeneas’s arrival in Italy and ending with the exile of Romulus Augustulus, last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

The British History Podcast: The BHP is a chronological retelling of the history of Britain with a particular focus upon the lives of the people.

 

Language 

Affaires étrangères (Radio France): Par Christine Ockrent. Les meilleurs experts nous racontent le monde qui se transforme, et où tout s’accélère.

Zistoires Mystérieuses (La Réunion): Au son de la voix enveloppante et captivante de l’artiste réunionnaise Yaëlle Trulès, écoutez les légendes de La Réunion contées sur fond de musique d’ambiance traditionnelle de l’île intense. Installez-vous confortablement et écoutez les Zistoires Mystérieuses de La Réunion.

Poubelle La Vie (Les Audios de la Redaction France-Antilles): Les déchets, on en produit tous, tout le temps. Alors, tout le système déchet, chez nous, comment ça marche ? On a tenté de répondre à cette question avec une série de podcasts, qui retrace le trajet de nos déchets.

Les pires moments de l’histoire (Radio Canada): Ce podcast humoriste raconte les pires moments de l’histoire (surtout européenne) avec bruitage. Attention: l’animateur du podcast parle VITE avec un léger accent québécois.

International SRF Podcast (Swiss): «International» befasst sich wöchentlich mit internationaler Politik und Gesellschaft. Seit 1978 am Radio und von Anbeginn auch online.

 

 

European Television

Comedy

Parlement (EU): Samy, a young European parliamentary assistant arrives in Brussels a few weeks after the Brexit referendum. He is obviously not fit for the job.

Call My Agent! (France): At a Paris talent firm, A.S.K, agents attempt to save their flailing business while confronting realities like sexism, ageism, and the gender pay gap in movies and TV.

A Very Secret Service (France): A posh series that lampoons Cold War-era politics and bureaucratic absurdity with dry wit. The French secret service inducts the main character, André, without warning or training, and we follow him as world paranoia boils and the fight for Algerian independence turns France on its head.

Fallet (Sweden): A spoof of police procedurals with spunk, verve, and a lot of heart. The Swedish series follows a Stockholm homicide detective and British chief inspector, both uninvested and incompetent, who are paired up to investigate the murder of an Englishman at a last-ditch effort to save their jobs.

Rita (Denmark): Rita, a Danish teacher, is “too cool for school,” but in this comedy, she actually cares about her students, and her unorthodox attitude is a hallmark of her equally unorthodox approach to her pupils.

Merlí (Spain/Catalonia): A free-thinking firebrand lands a gig teaching high school philosophy just as bankruptcy forces him to move back in with his mother. Complicating matters is his son, whom Merlí’s ex drops off just as he’s evicted, and who turns out to be a student in his class.

Drama

Dark (Germany): Dark clouds loom over the nuclear power plant that dominates the town and hangs over the complex storyline. Teenage boys start to disappear from the town, and these events prove to be the threads that reveal the dark, interconnected relationships of various citizens and the secrets they hold.

Occupied (Norway): In the not-so-distant future, the Norwegian Green Party, an environmentally friendly political formation, has taken control of the country, and has used their power to totally cease production of fossil fuels. When the oil stops flowing, the EU authorizes Russia to conduct a soft invasion of Norway and the geopolitical intrigue begins.

Money Heist (Spain): “The Professor” rounds up a group of talented criminals in hopes of pulling off the biggest heist in history. With high stakes, it’s a pulse-pounding action that manages to frame the story as thoughtfully as possible between gunshots and car chases.

Elite (Spain): Described as Riverdale meets Gossip Girl meets Big Little Lies, this show is full of teen melodrama. However, the material is elevated thanks to an inventive story structure that plays with the timeline, a reinvention of character tropes, and a murder mystery intertwined alongside the typical teenage drama.

Suburra: Blood on Rome (Italy): Instead of drugs or money, it is land that is at stake in this particular crime drama. A small group of young upstart criminals hatch a plan to get some land and establish themselves as underworld players. Our antiheroes quickly discover that there are many more experienced and more powerful hands playing this game, and that they might just be in over their heads.

Simulations and Lesson Plans

European Union Resources

The links below will take you directly to the official websites of the European Union. The EU is comprised of 27 member states. Four main decision-making institutions lead the EU’s administration and provide the EU with policy direction, playing different roles in the law-making process:

European Parliament
European Council
Council of the European Union
European Commission

Their work is complemented by other institutions and bodies, which include:

The Court of Justice of the European Union
The European Central Bank
The European Court of Auditors
The European External Action Service 

Teacher to Teacher

Learn from and share with other educators who teach European topics.
Find links to learning tools created or suggested by your peers.

If you have links to a blog, photos, or a lesson plan to share please contact ejconrad@wisc.edu.

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