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Bringing Europe Into Your Classroom

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!

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

Change in the weather: German storm names to be more diverse

A surfer jumps into the stormy Baltic Sea from the pier in Timmendorfer Strand, Germany, on Monday. Photograph: Michael Probst/AP
Photograph: Michael Probst/AP

by Associated Press
Tue 5 Jan 2021 10.13 EST

A journalists’ group has named a low pressure system bringing low temperatures, dark clouds and snow to Germany after the boy’s name of Turkish origin in an effort to increase the visibility of the country’s increasingly diverse population.

A woman waves a Czech flag from a roof as people take part in a large anti-government protest in Prague in November 2019. (Petr David Josek/AP)
A woman waves a Czech flag from a roof as people take part in a large anti-government protest in Prague in November 2019. (Petr David Josek/AP)

Czech women have had to use gendered last names for centuries. A law might change that.

By Lateshia Beachum
June 4, 2021 at 5:49 p.m. EDT

Czech women could soon have the option to use last names that don’t automatically signal their gender, the latest push to challenge male-oriented surname traditions across the globe.

The chamber of deputies pushed forward a proposal Wednesday with a 91-to-33 vote that would give women the right to utilize the masculine version of their name instead of using “ova,” to indicate they are the daughter of someone, according to the BBC and other outlets.

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

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Featured Book

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 · 2021

The true story of Mildred Harnack, an American graduate student from UW-Madison who became a leader of one of the largest underground resistance groups in Germany in WWII, as told by her great-great-niece.

European Studies will host the author for a public lecture on October 20. Register for the event on our calendar.

Flight for Freedom:
The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany

By Kristen Fulton · 2020
This is the true story of a boy and his family who risk their lives for the hope of freedom in a daring escape from East Germany with a handmade hot air balloon in 1979.
The book is illustrated and intended for readers aged 5-9, but is informative for readers of all ages.

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Previous Books

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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EU News

BBC (UK)

Spiegl (Germany)

Le Monde (France)

Independent (Ireland)

Nordstjernan (Sweden)

El Pais (Spain)

Resident (Portugal)

Polskie Radio (Poland)

Flanders News (Belgium)

Politiken (Denmark)

EU Radio/ Podcasts

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

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 domestic affairs.

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.

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.

EU Television

Comedy

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

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.