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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Global Popular Culture: European Union

A guide to popular culture materials and scholarship from around the world.

Search Terms

In addition to adding country names to your subject searches, use the following geographic terms to narrow your searches (e.g. Popular Culture -- Europe)

  • Europe
  • European Union Countries
  • Europe, Central
  • Europe, Eastern
  • Europe, Western
  • Europe, Northern
  • Europe, Southern
  • Scandinavia
  • Balkan Peninsula
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • British Isles
  • Great Britain (use for United Kingdom)
  • Mediterranean Region

To specify linguistic areas, use the following formula:

  • Europe, [language]-speaking (e.g. Europe, French-speaking)

General Resources



"There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinéma. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same." --Criterion Collection

Watch the whole film on Kanopy, and explore European film in the Library catalog.


Search Terms:

Try the following keywords in the catalog and article databases to find materials on European film:

  • German Expressionism (1920s film movement)
  • Italian Neorealism (post-WWII film movement in Italy focusing on postwar challenges faced by everyday people)
  • French New Wave Cinema (highly influential art cinema movement of the 1950s and 60s)
  • German New Wave or New German Cinema (German art cinema movement influenced by the French New Wave)
  • British New Wave (also drew on the French movement)
  • Czechoslovak New Wave (active in the 1960s)
  • Polish film school (1950s and 60s)
  • Spaghetti Westerns or Euro-Westerns (refers to films produced in Europe, primarily in Italy, that adapted the tropes of the American Western)

Books on European Film:

The Library has nearly 3,000 British television titles in its collection, from sitcoms to sci-fi to documentaries. Use the filters at the right to browse, and use the subject search term "television programs" + country or language to find other information on television in the European Union. To find DVDs and streaming video, choose "movie" as your format in the filters to the right. The books below will get you started on research on European television.

Long before American Idol, there was Eurovision--begun in 1956, it's the longest running music contest in the world and among the most-watched non-sporting events internationally, attracting 204 million viewers in 2016. You can watch past livestreams and music videos on the Eurovision YouTube Channel.

Learn more about Eurovision:

More resources:

Overhead image of a soccer field

A wide variety of sports are popular across Europe, from football (soccer), cricket, and rugby to tennis and cycling. The books highlighted below explore European sport in its broader context globally and on the continent. To find library resources on European sports, experiment with using specific sports and countries in your search terms (e.g., Cricket -- Great Britain).

Image: By Adrià garcía (Flickr) CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Image of the character Obelix from the Asterix and Obelix comicsThe long-running French comic series Astérix and Obélix (first published in 1959) has been translated into over 100 languages and distributed around the world. The Library has about 20 titles, mostly in French. Visit the official site for information about more titles and translations.

Image: Astérix and Obélix official site.

Library and Web Resources:

Books on European Comics:

Hip Hop Tuga

Portuguese hip hop ("tuga" is slang for Portuguese) has a strong presence the Portugal's music scene. Learn more about the history of hip hop tuga and the current scene and listen below.