This collection of articles devoted to Europe was born from the urgent need to present the specificity of European culture, both its unity and diversity, and at the same time create a stimulating dialogue about European culture and its complexities. European culture, considered as all inherited beliefs and values behind social action, has been treated in the past as a complex phenomenon of superior value, as the result of a common past among European nations, the permeation of various cultural elements between cultures, and their absorption in different contexts. In the past the process of shaping European identity was often fierce and dramatic, influenced by the events taking place within, but also outside European borders. Now, it has undergone various transformations as a result of new political, economic and cultural challenges. For this reason, the authors and editors of this volume place emphasis on diachronic perspectives: their approaches often consider local European issues against a global background.
About the Author: Krystyna Kujawinska Courtney, Full Professor in Shakespeare and Cultural Studies, heads the British and Commonwealth Studies Department and serves as Vice-Dean of the Faculty of International Studies and Politics at the University of Lodz, Poland. She has published extensively in Poland and abroad on Shakespeare, mainly the reception of his works, as well as on literary theory and cultural studies. Her most recent monograph is Ira Aldridge (1807-1867): The First African American Shakespeare Tragedian (2009). She is the Polish correspondent for The World Shakespeare Bibliography, the initiator and editor of the journal International Studies: Political and Cultural Journal and co-editor (with Yoshiko Kawachi) of Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance. Maria Lukowska is an Assistant Professor in the Department of British and Commonwealth Studies, University of Lodz, Poland. She is also the regional correspondent for the Central and Eastern Europe newsletter IUAES Commission for Urban Anthropology. Her most recent book, Fabrykant Lodzki, explores the city of Lodz as a 19th century industrial centre. Evan Williams is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of International Studies and Politics at the University of Lodz, Poland, where he leads classes in Australian culture and politics. Evan is currently preparing a doctoral thesis devoted to Australian multiculturalism and media and also works as a freelance writer and editor.