Chair’s message – July 2016

The UACES Network |

On Thursday 23rd June 2016 the UK will vote in a referendum to remain in or leave the European Union.  What might the vote mean for UACES and its members? The date will have come and gone by the time we go to press.  So here we look ahead by revisiting the past. We recall that the Association came into being before the UK joined the EU in 1973. In late 1967 a group of 19 ‘university teachers’ decided to form a body to keep track of the study of what they already called ‘European integration’ in the UK’s universities. In the provocative words of the late Alan Milward (a former UACES Chair), ‘The European Studies movement and the European Economic Community have risen together. A considerable number of the learned have much to be thankful for in the uninspiring and rather sordid compromises of Brussels’.[1] John Keeler made essentially the same point 30 years later when he noted how ‘the three eras of EC/EU studies that have unfolded since the 1960s’ were all ‘driven empirically’, i.e. pushed and pulled into existence by the twists and turns of European integration itself.[2]

Brexit or not Brexit therefore, we can expect a surge – another boom, in Keeler’s terms – in EU studies after the UK goes to the vote, and we know that our members will be taking leading roles in this ongoing movement.  Our forthcoming Annual Conference at Queen Mary University of London from September 5-7 2016 will be a perfectly timely forum for a post mortem, and our UACES Ideas on Europe blog invites you to share your thoughts, ideas, feelings and analyses online with UACES members and the world beyond.  And at that conference we will welcome some new faces and celebrate others. Simon Usherwood will be changing places on the Committee from member to Treasurer, and Maria-Luisa Sanchez Barrueco and Helena Farrand-Carrapiço will be joining us as committee members. The new Committee will then tackle with relish the prospect of UACES’ golden anniversary in 2017. We very much hope that the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award winner will join us in those celebrations. You can read more in this newsletter about our winner. Suffice it to say here that I am delighted to announce that Simon Bulmer, Professor of European Politics at the University of Sheffield and former co-editor of JCMS, will be the recipient of the 2016 award for his unstinting contribution to the study of the EU.

We will return to the referendum result later in the year, particularly as a Brexit would almost certainly have direct repercussions on the Association, and especially its funding. For now, please remember to join us at the AGM on Sunday 4 September in London to welcome the new Committee, say farewell to outgoing members, and kick the first post-referendum annual conference off to an excellent start.

Following the UK’s vote to leave the EU read a post-referendum message from Helen Drake.

[1] Milward, A.S., (1975), ‘The European Studies Movement: What’s in a Name?’, JCMS, XIV, 1: 69-80.

[2] Keeler, J.T.S. (2005), ‘Mapping EU Studies: the Evolution from Boutique to Boom Field 1961-2001’, JCMS 43, 3: 551-82.