European Cultural Studies
The Program in European Cultural Studies was established in 1975 on the joint initiative of a number of faculty members in History, Comparative Literature, Romance Languages and Literatures, Politics, and Architecture and Urban Planning, under the leadership of Professor Carl Schorske. Its first certificate class was in 1979.
The program has two purposes: to deepen students’ understanding of European civilization, and to strengthen their command of cultural interpretation. ECS brings together faculty and undergraduates from a number of departments in the Humanities and the Social Sciences in a common inquiry. Their focus is, broadly stated, the ways in which European societies, past and present, order reality, make sense of life, and communicate meaning. In order to reduce these intellectual problems to manageable proportions, these issues are studied in seminars on specific themes in European history, literature, art, and philosophy.
Carl Emil Schorske, founding director of the Program in European Cultural Studies, died peacefully at his home in the Meadow Lakes retirement community in East Windsor on September 13, 2015. He was 100 years old. Professor Schorske, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his epochal book Fin de Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (1980) and a 1981 MacArthur Fellowship recipient, was a renowned and beloved teacher, as documented in a memorial reflection posted by Michael Roth, the president of Wesleyan University, who wrote his dissertation under Professor Schorske’s supervision in the History Department at Princeton. Update, September 18: an obituary for Professor Schorske appeared in today’s New York Times.