History and Mission
European Studies was created as an academic program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972. Our mission is to bring together scholars from across the campus and link departments, courses, and people, to specialized knowledge on Europe, its history, languages and cultures, and the European Union as an international actor. Just under 200 faculty members across campus work on topics wholly or partially revolving around Europe in over 20 departments offering Europe-related courses. Students at the university have the opportunity to study 15 European languages and can choose from hundreds of courses on Europe. Currently, European Studies is located in the International Division of the UW-Madison, one of nine units within the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) including the International Studies major. European Studies is a consortium of three externally funded research Centers in the International Division, where the program has resided since its creation with the first CGES, DAAD Center of Excellence, in 1998. The three Centers have always operated as a three-legged stool, each filling in sums where the other grants have restrictions (staffing, fellowships, etc.).
European Studies has competed successfully for U.S. and international competitive research grants since 1998. A major grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) created the Center for German & European Studies, now in its 26th year. Later that year, the first of many successful bids for European Commission funds arrived on campus, which in late 2023 include Erasmus Plus Jean Monnet Chair funds for Professor Mark Copelovitch and a Jean Monnet European Union Center of Excellence for Populism and Political Economy. Our students and faculty have also benefited from U.S. Department of Education Title VI funds since 2000, in the form of Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships and National Resource Center awards. Currently, we are one of only six comprehensive Title VI Centers on Western Europe in the U.S. (2022-2026).
European Studies plans symposia, teacher trainings, conferences, and guest lectures on a wide variety of topics, which are presented on campus and throughout the State. In conjunction with the “Wisconsin Idea,” we have provided events and resources for outreach to business, the media, governmental agencies, the K-14 community through the Midwest, and the general public. We also work on long-term initiatives with domestic and international partners. Our fellowships for the study of Europe are wide-ranging, and include funds for the acquisition of less-commonly-taught-languages (LCTLs) for graduate and undergraduate students. Study of European languages takes place in seven departments and summer institutes. Wisconsin graduates the highest number of students majoring in languages other than English in the country. European Studies current FLAS recipients illustrate this breadth through their study of LCTLs such as Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Arabic as spoken in Europe, and Modern Irish.