Europe Without Borders: Reflections on 40 Years of European Cultural Studies at Princeton features more than thirty alumni of the Program in European Cultural Studies from the classes of 1975 through 2014 who have pursued careers both inside and outside the academy. The conference’s opening session focuses on interdisciplinary doctoral research on European culture by five members of the newest component of the ECS community: our Graduate Affiliates, whose participation in ECS began in 2013. Debora Silverman ’75 and Michael Steinberg ’78 will deliver keynote lectures, and former ECS Directors Robert Darnton, Jerrold Seigel, and Anthony Vidler will present papers in sessions featuring ECS alumni and moderated by current ECS faculty.

ECS 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 the eminent cultural historian Carl Emil Schorske (1915-2015). The Program’s first certificate class graduated in 1976. Current and past ECS faculty members hail from the Departments of Anthropology, Architecture, Art & Archaeology, Comparative Literature, English, French & Italian, German, History, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Slavic, Sociology, and Spanish & Portuguese.

Since its inception, ECS has maintained two central aims: to deepen students’ understanding of European civilization, and to strengthen their command of cultural interpretation through interdisciplinary investigation. Committed since its founding to encouraging our students’ engagement at an international level, ECS also endeavors to situate the study of Europe in broader global contexts. The Program brings together students and faculty from a wide range of departments in a common inquiry. Our focus is, broadly stated, the ways in which European societies, past and present, order reality, make sense of life, and communicate meaning across a range of disciplines and in a wide variety of media. Further information about the Program in European Cultural Studies can be found at

At 7:30 PM on Wednesday, May 11, the day before the Europe Without Borders conference proceedings get underway, ECS will present a screening of the film Woman in Gold (directed by Simon Curtis, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, 2015), followed by a conversation about art restitution law with ECS alumnus and conference participant E. Randol Schoenberg ’88, who represented Maria Altmann before the US Supreme Court in the landmark 2004 art restitution case depicted in the film. Details on the screening and conversation are available here. Co-sponsors for this event are: Program in Judaic Studies, Center for Jewish Life, Film Forum, Department of Art & Archaeology, University Center for Human Values, and Princeton University Art Museum.

Immediately following the conference, at 4 PM on Saturday, May 14, a memorial for Carl E. Schorske will be held in the Princeton University Chapel. ECS is honored to have the opportunity to join the Schorske family and the History Department in remembering ECS’s founding Director in the context of this celebration of our Program’s first forty years.