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Misidentified Europa: Identity Evropa and the Claim of European Homogeneity

 

Peter Kotiuga. Boston University. USA.

Misidentified Europa: Identity Evropa and the Claim of European Homogeneity

Peter Kotiuga. Boston University. USA.

pkotiuga@bu.edu

Identity Evropa, an American Alt-Right group founded by Nathan Damigo, attempts to manufacture a unified European cultural memory, in part through ignoring discontinuities in European art. The group has plastered college campuses around the United States with posters featuring authentic and restored Classical and Renaissance sculpture from the shoulders up with nationalistic captions but without any clear, specific, criteria for their selections: the Apollo Belvedere states that “Our Future Belongs to Us”, Coustou’s Julius Caesar tells us to “Serve Your People”, Michelangelo’s David demands, “Let’s Become Great Again”, and the restored statue of a youthful Hercules, the head, arms, club, and legs of which are from the 17th century, wants you to “Protect Your Heritage”. There are thematic ties between caption and sculpture, but nothing unites the sculptural themes, only their broadly European provenance.

Damigo sees humanity as inherently tribal: his ideology is isolationist, against immigration, and derived from a world view that prizes tribal homogeneity. The group sees ethnic diversity as a stumbling block to success, and believes that a society of pure-bred Europeans would be more prosperous and united. Their posters, whose captions reinforce their call upon Americans and Europeans to define themselves as unashamedly European, neglect the distinct cultures that bore each statue, be they Pagan or Judeo-Christian, Classical or Renaissance. Greek, Roman, and Renaissance cultures were diverse: cities and regions were only one identifier along with larger ethnicities (e.g. “Hellenes”) or smaller intramural communities (e.g the hetaireai of Athens or the political groups of Rome). Identity Evropa deludes itself by believing that Europe is or was homogenous: not even their propaganda can support it.

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