Europhilosophie à l’honneur à Memphis

article paru dans THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL (Memphis/Tennessee) :


Graduate students and their professors are visiting the University of Memphis philosophy department as part of a program designed to strengthen the international education system.


U of M is the only college in the nation taking part in the Erasmus Mundus EuroPhilosophie program that allows selected philosophy students to study at four universities of their choice over a two-year period.


« I think at the graduate level people reflect on programs recognized nationally and internationally by leading scholars, » said vice provost and philosophy professor Tom Nenon. « It’s a real honor that European scholars look at us to teach philosophy in their tradition. »


The European Union, a political and economic union of 27 countries, established Erasmus Mundus to encourage collaboration of researchers across national boundaries. It is named after a Dutch scholar of the 15th and 16th centuries. The word « mundus » is Latin for « world. »


The philosophy program is an alliance among universities in Germany, Prague, Luxembourg, Belgium and France, and non-EU partners Japan, Brazil and the United States. Students spend a semester at three EU universities and one semester at a non-EU university, studying classical German philosophy, contemporary French philosophy, German and French phenomenology — Nenon’s specialty — and other strong subjects of the member institutions.


« We learn different philosophical traditions at each university and a lot of language, » said 24-year-old Fabio Bruschi, of Frankfort, Germany, one of three EU students studying at U of M this semester. « We also make a very strong web with other students, networking and learning from students who are very bright. »


Nenon said EU professors solicited the U of M philosophy department’s participation in the program two years ago, and the first European students came to U of M last August. This semester, the first U of M student accepted into the highly competitive program is taking classes at Charles University in Prague.


The EU gives students stipends for living costs and universities exchange tuition costs. The union also finances three months of faculty exchange, which will allow Nenon to teach at the University of Wuppertal in Germany in the summer.


EuroPhilosophie also brought a professor from Germany to U of M this fall, and in the spring, a French philosopher to teach with Nenon. The program helps graduate students become more competitive in an area with few job opportunities outside of teaching, said Till Grohmann, 23, from Milan, Italy.


Grohmann said he chose to study at U of M to learn from Nenon, who is known as the « king of phenomenology, » and to improve his English.


« But on the more cultural side, it is a very interesting experience for me to be in the heart of the states, » Grohmann said.

— Juanita Cousins : 529-2594




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