Euroculture Spotlight #13: Senka Neuman-Stanivukovic
21 Feb 2017
The 13th edition of the Euroculture spotlight introduces dr. Senka Neuman-Stanivukovic. Next to being a Euroculture teacher at the University of Groningen, Senka is the driving force behind the new free online course European Culture and Politics.
Thanks, Senka, for taking the time to answer our questions!
What is your affiliation with Euroculture?
I started teaching for Euroculture Groningen in 2014. I teach classes that concern political aspects of European integration.
What is your current occupation?
I have just been appointed a senior lecturer at the EU chair here at the University of Groningen. I am super happy about this because the position gives me some extra research time and an opportunity to develop plies and plies of research ideas into actual projects (or, at least I hope so).
Could you tell us something about your current project, the online course European Culture and Politics?
For the past year (or even longer), Jesse van Amelsvoort and I have been coordinating this MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSE (MOOC) on European Culture and Politics. What can I say about it? Well, it is massive, it is open, and it is available online on the Futurelearn platform. More importantly, the course will answer all those questions about European culture and politics that you always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask!
OK, on a more serious note, we felt that the public debate offers an overly simplistic story about the meaning of Europe and the state of contemporary European politics. In that sense, this MOOC can be understood as a sort of an uprising against simple narratives. We wanted to develop a course that would first, confront people with their own biases about Europe and Europeans and second, provide for a more thorough and sober problematization of European political environment in these troubled times. None does this better than Euroculture, so it was practically a no-brainer. We had tremendous support from our colleagues and we are extremely grateful to them for their willingness to develop our initial “let’s talk about European culture or let’s talk about democracy in Europe” into something very concrete, tangible and with pictures! Also, the 2nd semester Groningen students brought the course to a whole new level with their discussion on transculturality, minorities in China and Czech mozzarella. You simply must sign up for the course, I guarantee it will be one of those life-changing experiences.
Would you like to share something special about your Euroculture experience?
It is that moment after the initial few weeks of classes that one starts channeling thoughts and moderating discussions rather than lecturing that makes Euroculture experience so unique also for the teaching staff. Euroculture students are mature, well prepared, ambitious and an incredible pull of new ideas and experiences that brings teaching to a whole different level.
What do you like the most about Euroculture?
I love the fact that Euroculture students and staff will understand the irony and the complexity behind a Polish patriot Jerzy Andrzejewski opening a stand in Lubin (east Poland) to sell kebabs “for real Poles.”
What did you do before Euroculture?
Exactly the same as I do now – research, projects, teaching; it is only the location that was unstable back then.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to re-write the theory of European integration. Let me know if you are interested in helping out!
Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?
Goznjan/Grisignana. Why? Go and visit and you’ll understand – but don’t tell anyone ;)