Mouvements homosexuels et LGBTQI en Europe

L’histoire des mouvements homosexuels, LGBT puis LGBTQI (lesbiennes, gays, bis, trans, queers et intersexes), ne peut être comprise qu’à la lumière des formes de persécution et d’oppression à l’encontre des personnes ayant des relations affectives et sexuelles avec d’autres personnes de leur sexe et/ou ne se conformant pas aux attendus sociaux de leur genre. Leur émergence remonte à la première moitié du xixe siècle. Au début du xxie siècle, on observe une prise en compte croissante des demandes du mouvement LGBTQI, notamment en raison des dispositifs de lutte contre les discriminations, qui sont au fondement de la Charte des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne (2000).

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Music and Torture

Une pendaison par un appel du soir, tandis que l'orchestre du camp joue « Alte Kameraden », Dessin n° 18 de Hans P. Sorensen publié en 1947Hans Peter Sørensen, The Neuengamme orchestra plays for an execution, drawing from 1947 taken from the booklet Neuengamme Erindringer – 20 Tegninger af Grænseovergendarm Hans P. Sørensen, published in Sønderborg in 1948.

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The use of music in the Nazi concentration camp system is brought up in practically all survivor testimonies. Played by small orchestras during the departure for work in the morning or the return to camp at night, as well as during roll call, executions, punishments, or simply played over loudspeakers, music took part in the torture process by exacerbating the physical and mental suffering inflicted on the prisoners.

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European Naval Bases and Stations in the World

A British Danae-class light cruiser inside the Admiralty IX Floating Dry Dock at Singapore Naval Base, in September 1941. HMS Dragon (D46) and HMS Durban (D99) were based at Singapore at that time.

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Intended to provide refuge in order to repair and resupply a fleet, European naval bases and stations slowly developed with the construction of colonial empires during the early modern era. For each of the various powers, it was as much a matter of protecting their commerce from possible enemy disruption (blockade, privateering, piracy…) as of being able to conduct a war far from the metropolis. With the imperial recompositions of the nineteenth century, and the two great conflicts of the twentieth century that globalized strategic considerations even further, the major powers were forced to expand their network of overseas bases, while making their tasks more complex. This projection was gradually interrupted after the Second World War, as a result of the spread of aviation, the development of long-range weaponry, and the command of atomic weapons.

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Gender of European Community Personnel (The)

Fausta Deshormes La Valle. Source: with the kindly authorization of the Deshormes family © Deshormes Family

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The process of European construction that began in the 1950s has accompanied the social evolutions of the twentieth century. Highly advanced policies for gender equality were defined and implemented in the context of the European Community (EC) and later the European Union (EU). These policies have sometimes been presented as models for gender mainstreaming, although one may legitimately wonder whether European institutions applied within their own administration the principles they were promoting abroad.

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Amsterdam and Rotterdam: actors in the European dynamic

Port of Rotterdam. Currently Europe’s busiest port in terms of traffic, the expansion of the port of Rotterdam was made possible through the construction of artificial platforms out at sea. Its extensive, high quality navigable network assured it a strategic communication axis towards Central Europe.

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At the end of the 15th century, in the wake of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish crown, the port of Amsterdam overtook that of Antwerp. This marked the beginning of a long period of prosperity for Amsterdam, symbolised by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which lasted until the end of the 18th century. In the 19th century, the growing difficulty for large, ocean-going ships to access the port contributed to Amsterdam’s decline in attractiveness. The construction of the Nieuwe Waterweg in the 1870s gave the advantage to Rotterdam, which was also well connected to a German hinterland undergoing an industrial boom. Rotterdam gradually established itself as Europe’s foremost port, and was the busiest port in the world until the early 21st century.

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Latin in Humanist Europe

Pseudo-Cicero, Rhetorica ad Herennium, Italy, early 15th century. BL, Arundel 271, f.3.

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Humanist Latin was founded on the model of Classical Latin. We can consider Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) as its creator, who imposed a resolutely different style than the one typical of the late medieval ars dictaminis. The authors that were deemed worthy of imitation were initially all of the ancients, however beginning notably with the late fifteenth century, the Ciceronian model was increasingly favoured to the exclusion of others. A few important exceptions should be noted, such as Angelo Poliziano (1454-1494), who in opposition to Paolo Cortesi (1465-1510) felt that the vitality of writing could not be limited by norms that were too rigid in imitation. At a time when vernacular languages acquired full dignity, Latin became the distinctive language of a restricted social and intellectual group, which through its mastery of Latin lay claim to an administrative and political role. Similarly, apparently erudite discussions on the origin of Latin–which for some such as Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444) was used only by an upper class, even in ancient Rome–helped create an image of an elitist and exclusive language.

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Antarctica: A “European Invention”

Bagpiper Gilbert Kerr with penguin during the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-04. Photo : William Speirs Bruce.

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Antarctica is, in a way, a “European invention”. It has captured the imagination of the old continent from Antiquity to the modern era, when it became the focus of the last great age of heroism and imperialism. Antarctica was the last continent to be the subject of European geographic imperialism, a process through which almost the whole territory of the globe was explored, mapped and ultimately annexed. After the Second World War, it was also a testing ground for the invention of world heritage, through the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 which put territorial claims on ice and established international management. Ever since, Europe has seen itself as the protector of this polar space.

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Berlin Wall (The)

The garland of light, made up of thousands of illuminated balloons: installation created for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, Berlin, November 9, 2014

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On the evening of November 9, 2014, a « chain of light » lit up the Berlin sky over the Wall’s former route through the city centre, before thousands of balloons rose toward the sky in evocation of the peaceful nature of the fall of the Wall 25 years earlier.

For 28 years the Wall separated the East and the West, dividing a city, a country, Europe, and the world. It was associated at the time with a painful history, although its history did not end on November 9, 1989. Even if only 1.5 km of the Wall remains, it is present everywhere in Berlin through its material and symbolic traces as well as its evocation in maps, photographs, songs…Tourism and economic activity connected to the Wall continue to prosper, with the Wall now recounting a different story, above all that of the end of the Cold War, and the joy and hopes that its fall sparked in Europe. Representations of the Wall testify to this more complex meaning that it took on.

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The Female Actors of European Construction

Simone Veil presiding over a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on October 12, 1979. © Claude Truong-Ngoc

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Europe only has founding “fathers”, that is, the male European politicians who in the 1950s committed themselves to building the Community. There were no women, and for good reason: at the time they were given very little space in the national political life of the six founding states, even if a few women can be identified in the shadows of the founders behind the European project. None of these, however, had a deciding role. This initial absence of women can lead one to believe that they did not share in in the construction of Europe, although what was true of the 1950s and 1960s, was no longer the case from the beginning of the 1980s.

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Guaranteeing Peace through “Collective Security” in the 20th Century

‘The doormat’, satirical drawing by David Low (1891-1963), published in the Evening Standard, 19 January 1933.

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“Collective security”, an expression that emerged in the 1930s, is an attempt to respond to the outbreak of violence in the two world wars of the twentieth century. In contrast to the notion of security through a balance of power, which characterised the international system in the nineteenth century, collective security instead relies on the “imbalance of power” (Marie-Claude Smouts and Guillaume Devin) that would be amassed by all member states against any aggressor. This system was first institutionalised in the aftermath of the First World War by the League of Nations and taken up again in 1945 by the United Nations. While never bringing the results hoped for by its advocates, it nevertheless marks a turning point in the history of international relations.

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