Prof. Luiza Anna Bialasiewicz
1. Please provide a brief outline of your training and scientific activity.
With the series of ‘crises’ that Europe has faced over the past decade, from the ‘hospitality crisis’ of 2015-2016, to the Covid-19 pandemic, to the war in Ukraine, a lot of media attention has been devoted to a supposed ‘return of geopolitics’, and calls for the EU to become ‘more geopolitical’. But what do these appeals actually mean? How do EU institutions and Member States understand this ‘new’ geopolitical shift? And what sort of geopolitics are we talking about? During my time at Ca’Foscari I will be exploring these questions by looking at how understandings of the EU’s role of have shifted through the various crises the Union has had to face, asking whether we can indeed see the emergence of a distinct ‘EU geopolitical persona’.
2. Please state your reasons for choosing Venice and the Department for your research and teaching stay.
I believe that Venice and the Italian North-East are an exceptionally interesting place for examining the geopolitical shifts occurring in Europe and at its borders – both for the role played today by the city and the wider region in new forms of connectivity (economic, infrastructural, as well as political and geopolitical), but also for the historical lessons that Venice may teach us about different forms of power-projection and territoriality. I say this as a political geographer who has long been fascinated by these histories – and as someone who spent time in Venice in the early 2000s and is very happy to return!
3. Have you ever had a research collaboration with the teaching staff of Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies in the past?
I have long-standing links with the geographers at Ca’Foscari, but I have not collaborated with colleagues at the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies as yet. I feel it will be a great ‘home’ for my stay in Venice, however, since its inter-disciplinary focus spanning both the social sciences and humanities is very similar to that of my own Department of European Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam, a department that brings together historians, comparative literature experts, anthropologists, area studies scholars, political scientists – and even a geographer like me!
My research while at Ca’Foscari will examine changing understandings of the EU’s global roles and the emergence of a distinct EU geopolitical persona. Building on my previous work on EU geopolitics, I will focus specifically on the geographical imaginations that underpin the currently popular notions of ‘strategic sovereignty’ and ‘strategic autonomy’, questioning to what degree such terminology – and its accordant understanding of power – is relevant for the key challenges facing the EU and the world today, whether the need to govern climate change, or digital and viral flows