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Presented By: Center for European Studies

Annual Distinguished Lecture on Europe. Indomitable Violence: A History of Twentieth-Century Europe

Julián Casanova, professor of contemporary history, University of Zaragoza; visiting professor, Central European University

Distinguished Lecture on Europe Distinguished Lecture on Europe
Distinguished Lecture on Europe
The analysis of indomitable violence in Europe that Professor Casanova proposes in his new book breaks with the widely accepted division of the twentieth century into two halves, contrasts, one very violent and the other peaceful. That chronological division reflects a “Western European” approach, elaborated above all in Great Britain and France, which plays down the importance or ignores altogether the different historical processes in a broad region of Central and Eastern Europe and Mediterranean countries.

In breaking with those widespread approaches and ideas in the historiography of the West, which are laden with clichés and superficial representations of other countries, he argues for a different narration and interpretation, in both space and time, of manifestations of recurring and sometimes continuous violence, which from the anarchist terrorism to the wars of succession in Yugoslavia marked the history of twentieth-century Europe in blood and fire.

As there is no one single history of Europe, but multiple histories which overlap and intersect with one another, he has tried to situate the principal manifestations of violence in a transnational shared context. Nor is there any general theory about violence, and nor do the specific cases help in themselves to establish what has been his main argument: to discover and conceptualize the logic of violence through the similarities and differences among different historical periods. And in that logic to highlight as common threads the ideologies of race and nation, the moments of crisis generated by wars and the revolutions and projects of totalitarian utopias.

Julián Casanova is professor of contemporary history at the University of Zaragoza and visiting professor at the Central European University. He has authored and co-authored important books on the history of Spain, the Spanish Civil War, and Franco’s Spain which were published, in English, by Routledge, Cambridge University Press, and I.B. Tauris. His latest book, Indomitable Violence: A History of Twentieth-Century Europe, was published in 2020, with a remarkable impact and several editions, and will be translated by Princeton University Press. In addition to his scholarship, Casanova is a frequent contributor to the Spanish "El País," and serves as a historical consultant in the television and film industry, both in documentaries and TV series and films.

Registration for this webinar is required at

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.

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