45, rue d'Ulm

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© Groupe d'études géopolitiques, janvier 2018.

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Building an intellectual debate on a continental scale

Six great conferences in Spring 2018

Europe, during most of its history, has been an idea.

This idea was used to signify a profound desire for circulation and freedom, as much as a concern for rigour and controversy. As it has been shown by Marc Fumaroli in his classic work on the subject, the “Republic of Letters” did not care about the regimes, despotic or not, that intersected and divided it in different countries. In Paris or Milan people read other passionately, in between Brussels and Vienna they copied each other tempestuously.

Now that Europe has become an institution, this idea seems to have faded. The intellectual class who is building Europe is not made of intellectuals anymore, but of excellent experts in law, administration, management or economics. So much so that one may asks:  Did Brussels become a Forbidden City,  to which public debate and the people who support it cannot really have access to anymore?

It is now obvious that today it is possible for an internationally known intellectual to have cast light on many problems of the contemporary world without having had the opportunity to bring it into the European debate. What is worse is that no one is there to set the tone of these debates, and that controversies in Europe are graciously left to the new nationalists who are taking advantage of the caricature of a cold, poorly embodied and  badly thought institution.

The height of irony is that, at the digital age and the arrival of the first ERASMUS generation to offices, the ideas have never moved so little between European cities. Torn apart between ones’ patriotic crusades and other’s Atlanticism, it seems that European thinkers and intellectuals do not have the time to write to, read or even copy each other.

Next Spring in Paris and in ten other cities in Europe, six internationally known thinkers will be brought to speak, for the first time in their work, of their idea of Europe, thus opening new perspectives and new paths through which we will be able to rejoin an ideal Europe, fully politic—a certain idea of Europe.

Une certaine idée de l'Europe


Six conferences in Paris

Toni Negri
Alain Badiou
Elisabeth Roudinesco
Thomas Piketty
Myriam Revault
Patrick Boucheron

A debate on the continental scale

A certain idea of Europe intends to reinvent the transnational dialogue by involving the european thinkers at a continental scale.


In order to contribute to the constitution of a meeting place for the european public debate  we offer the live broadcasting of each of the conferences in more than a dozen other european cities.


During each conference a scholar or a thinker will be here to answer to the master classes of the participants.


To these well thought reactions the parisian speakers will answer as they receive the transcript translated in french of each of the contributions of its correspondents. Each correspondence will be established from the suitable interface : the public interview (published on Le Grand Continent), the paper version or even, the private letter.

This system of links offer to the invited thinkers the unique occasion of recreate and rewrite Europe as an idea, by inaugurating a continental debate, often absent inside the political and intellectual areas.

Who are we?

The Group of Geopolitical Studies is an association domiciled at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Rue d’Ulm, which gathers more than a hundred of students, young scholars and journalists.

From a singular assertion of the “géopolitique à la français”, we support the necessity of a pluri-linguistic, interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach in order to analyze the social, economical and political contemporary crises.

Starting from the premise that the nowadays Europe has been built as an aggregate of Nation States, and that its model seems to struggle against the emerging of new nationalisms, the GEG proposes to analyse and think the Europe, searching for a way to deal with the recent wave of rejection of its institutions.

The Group of Geopolitical Studies seeks to conceive Europe as a geopolitical entity, questioning the relevance of the Nation State model and the one of a post-national beyond the frames that could damage it today.

The question at the heart of our thinking is the one of the relevant scale which allows the illustration of the european concept.

We are trying to enrich it thanks to four projects which offers theoretical elements and analysis of the news (La Lettre du dimanche, Le Grand Continent), as well as proposing new unique places for debate (Les Mardi de l’Europe et Une certaine idée de l’Europe)

Le Groupe d'études géopolitiques