Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University
The Centre for EU Studies (CEUS) is the political science pillar of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at Ghent University. Established in 2005, the CEUS has attracted a growing number of students and researchers.
Research at the CEUS focuses on the conceptual debates about the EU’s role in the world, as well as the EU’s external action, particularly in the areas of external trade, development and humanitarian aid, social and environmental policies, and democracy and human rights promotion. Significant attention goes to the internal-external nexus and to decision-making processes on external action. While being grounded in the disciplines of political science and international relations, the CEUS is also open to interdisciplinary research, for instance, through cooperation with colleagues from departments for European law, history and economics.
Since 2005, more than 30 PhD dissertations and other research projects have been completed at the Centre. The CEUS is currently engaged in some fifteen PhD and postdoc research projects. These include analyses of the way in which the EU’s trade policies (may) contribute to its climate policies; the politicisation of EU external policies, including trade and development; the migration-development nexus in the EU and EU member states; the linkage between EU trade and environmental policies; post-development approaches to Europe’s global role; the role of civil society in EU external relations, e.g. human rights promotion in the Eastern Neighbourhoud and Central Asia; external forest governance and trade agreements; the EU’s trade relations with South East Asia; and the geo-economic policies of the EU in relation to the United States, China and Russia.
The CEUS also constitutes the driving force behind the (mostly Dutch-language) Master’s programme in EU Studies at Ghent University. It offers elective and specialized courses on EU Trade Politics, EU Development Policy, and EU Neighbourhood Policies.
CEUS aims to be critical, pluralistic and engaged, not only in research and teaching but also in its working culture. Critical refers to the questioning or problematisation of power relations. While this implies that analyses are often explicitly grounded in critical theory, researchers at CEUS are encouraged to apply different theories and methods, often in a pragmatic or eclectic way. This is what is meant with pluralistic: the active stimulation of a dialogue between different academic approaches, without any prejudices. Engaged, finally, refers to the belief that doing research is not an end in itself and never value-neutral. While being realistic about this and without this always being an explicit goal, research at CEUS ultimately aims to contribute to ‘a better Europe in a better world’. In terms of research focus, this means that we pay particular attention to the role of norms, values, ethics and principles in European and international politics. CEUS staff members aim to highlight the broader societal and policy relevance of their academic research and to be actively involved in the public debate about the EU.
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