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Europe’s New North? Enduring stereotypes in the Nordic and Baltic regions

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Join us for an engaging conversation with Daunis Auers (University of Latvia) and Amir Weiner (Stanford University) on

Europe’s New North?  Enduring stereotypes in the Nordic and Baltic regions

Stereotypes (deeply ingrained beliefs or assumptions) about nations are central to country images which in turn impact domestic economic developments and relations with other states. Stereotypes are also resistant to change and can become outdated and themselves stymie change.

The contemporary images of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the five Nordic states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden present an interesting case study of the durability of stereotypes despite a radically changed reality.

Three decades ago, the three Baltic states regained their sovereign independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union and started out on a path of democratic and economic development that would eventually lead them to accession to the European Union and NATO in 2004. Baltic-Nordic cooperation in the 1990s was quite intense and the initial expectation (and hope) on both sides of the Baltic Sea was that the Baltic states would gradually converge with the Nordic states, passively adopting “Nordic models” of democracy, economy and the welfare state. 

Thirty years later, both Baltic and Nordic regions have changed drastically, although national stereotypes have barely shifted. This talk examines the radical transformations in politics, economics and culture in the Northern Europe and discusses why, despite these changes, stereotypes of the “good” Nordics and the “shifty” Baltics persist.

SPEAKER: Daunis Auers is Professor of European Studies and Jean Monnet Chair at the University of Latvia, and serves as Director-at-large of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS). He studied at the London School of Economics and defended his PhD at University College London. He has been a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California-Berkeley (2005-2006) and a Baltic-American Freedom Foundation Scholar at Wayne State University in Detroit (2014) and published widely on political parties, elections, referendums, populism and the radical right and economic competitiveness in the Baltic states. His book on The Comparative Government and Politics of the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the 21st Century – was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. He is currently working on a monograph analyzing Nordic-Baltic integration and is a Fulbright program Visiting Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle during the fall and winter of 2023/2024. 

DISCUSSANT: Amir Weiner is Director of Stanford's Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and Associate Professor of Soviet History. Professor Weiner teaches and writes on totalitarian movements and regimes with a focus on the Soviet polity; population politics; the Second World War; and modern mass violence. His current research is on the KGB and the Soviet surveillance state. 

The event is free and open to the public. RSVP is requested.

This event is part of Global Conversations, a series of talks, lectures, and seminars hosted by Stanford University Libraries and Vabamu with the goal of educating scholars, students, leaders, and the public on the benefits of but also challenges related to sustaining freedom.