Events

Past Event

Book Launch: "Alarums & Excursions: Improvising Politics on the European Stage"

May 8, 2019
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Albertine, 972 Fifth Avenue (between 78th & 79th St)

Crisis after crisis has beset the European Union in recent years – Greek sovereign debt, Russian annexation of Crimea, unprecedented levels of migration, and the turmoil created by Brexit. From Paris to Berlin, London to Athens, European leaders have had to improvise on issues – problems of identity, sovereignty and solidarity – that the Union was never set up to handle and which threaten to engulf this unique political entity. And they have had to do so in full view of an increasingly disenchanted and dissonant public audience.

In this candid and revealing portrayal of a Europe improvising its way through a politics of events and not rules, Luuk van Middelaar makes sense of the EU’s political metamorphosis over its past ten years of crisis management. Forced into action by a tidal wave of emergencies, van Middelaar shows how Europe has had to reinvent itself by casting off its legal straitjacket and confronting hard issues of power, territorial borders and public authority.

Author Luuk van Middelaar is joined by panelists Sheri Berman, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and Christoph Heusgen to discuss his latest book, Alarums & Excursions: Improvising Politics on the European Stage.

In English. Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary.


Luuk van Middelaar is a historian and political theorist. In his role as a speechwriter and close advisor to the president of the European Council (2010–15), van Middelaar witnessed the political theater of Europe from the first row. He now works as an author and academic. His previous book, The Passage to Europe (winner of the 2012 European Book Prize), has been translated into more than ten languages.

Sheri Berman is a professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno is a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations.

Christoph Heusgen is the Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations and served as Foreign Policy and Security Advisor to Chancellor Merkel from  2005 to 2017.


This event is co-presented by Albertine Books and the European Institute at Columbia University. It is made possible thanks to the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.