*Abbreviations under the "Available" column: A = Available // NA = Not Available // R = Previously Registered // WL = Currently on the Wait List

The European Union after Brexit


The “Brexit” vote of June 2016 determined that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union after 40 years of membership and created tectonic shifts in British politics as well as serious implications for the global financial order. Subsequently, “populist” movements in the Netherlands, France, and Germany have actively campaigned against the EU and its institutions. Even before this critical vote, the EU had been under unprecedented stress as the result of overlapping forces such as terrorism, the Greek financial crisis, and the demographic pressures of declining birthrates and increasing numbers of refugees from conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa. Taken together, these issues have enhanced older structural problems in the organization and created new and serious sources of friction in Europe—as well as potential opportunities for other member states. This course will analyze the historical development of the EU as an institution and trace how and why it became an object both of veneration and scathing criticism in different states at different times.  We’ll discuss the implications and possible trajectories for the organization, key member states such as France and Germany, as well as for American foreign policy.
Note: This course does not meet on Thursday, November 23.

Instructor Bio:

Dr. James R. Sofka specializes in international relations and trans-Atlantic diplomatic history and political leadership. He has designed and delivered innovative academic, executive education, and general audience courses in these fields in both traditional and distance-learning formats and teaches regularly for the Brookings Institution, the Federal Executive Institute, OLLI at UVa, and the American Military University. He previously taught in the Department of Politics in the University of Virginia, where he also served as Dean of the undergraduate Honors program in the College of Arts and Sciences. He received his MA in 1991 and PhD in Politics in 1995 from the University of Virginia and his AB with Honors in Government from Franklin and Marshall College in 1989. His most recent book, Metternich, Jefferson, and the Enlightenment: Statecraft and Political Theory in the Early Nineteenth Century, was featured at a forum hosted by Monticello in 2012. Dr. Sofka resides in Ivy, where he serves on an advisory board of Albemarle County and is active in several community organizations and foundations in the arts and historic preservation.

Recommended Reading:

Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945, 2006. Sarotte, Mary Elise. 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe, 2011. Staab, Andreas. The European Union Explained: Institutions, Actors, Global Impact, 2nd ed., 2011.

Course Number Instructor Dates Day Time Location Available
B53 James Sofka Nov 9, 16, 30, Dec 7 Th 2:30-4:00 p.m. The R. R. Smith Center WL

Return to Courses