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Decentering European Union Foreign Policy in the Mediterranean: Insights from Religious Engagement and Migration

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6 hour course by Sarah Wolff (Leiden University)

  • Schedule: 2 July (15:00-18:00h) & 3 July (10:00-13:00h)
  • Venue: IBEI

Drawing from the decentering agenda in the study and practice of the EU as an actor of international relations, this course will address the gap between the centers and peripheries in the study of EU foreign policy towards the Mediterranean. Building upon postcolonial theories, the decentering agenda aims to reconstitute European agency through three main steps: provincialization, engagement and reconstruction. To illustrate the potential of this research agenda, the course will draw from two policy areas as case studies: religious engagement and migration. Drawing from her award-winning book (Secular Power Europe and Islam, MUP, 2021), Sarah Wolff will discuss the centrality of secularism as a narrative of EU external action and the ensuing constraints it creates for its engagement with the religious. The course will also introduce the importance of using a decentering agenda in the field of migration. This will enable the students to understand how to evolve from institutions to meanings produces, the construction of narratives and their relation to migration practices.

Sarah Wolff
Professor in International Studies and Global Politics at Leiden University.

Sarah Wolff was previously was Professor in European Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and was the Director of the QMUL MA in International Relations in Paris (2021-2023). Under her  the Centre for European Research (2017-2023)became a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the project NEXTEUK on the future of EU-UK relations . Her research concentrates on EU-UK foreign and security cooperation, EU migration and asylum policies, EU-Middle East and North Africa, as well as EU’s policies on gender and religion abroad. She is on the Editorial Board of the journal Mediterranean Politics. Her book Michigan University Press on ‘Secular Power Europe and Islam: Identity and foreign policy’(summer 2021) was conducted thanks to a Fulbright-Schuman and a Leverhulme research grants and obtained the Best Book Award 2023 of the European Union Studies Association. She is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe and on the steering committee of UACES and of ECPR SGEU.

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