What will this course be about? The collapse of communism from Szczecin on the Baltic to Vladivostok on the Pacific was a landmark event in recent European history. Yet how can we understand this dramatic transformation in the lives of nearly 300 million people? What legacies has it left behind in politics, economics and social relations? Has post-communist been a transitory phenomenon or will it have lasting effects?
This seminar will attempt to answer these questions by examining a wide range of topics and perspectives. It will endeavor to make sense of ‘societal transformation’ on the basis of one of its most quintessential examples: the post-communist region. This course will provide students with an understanding of the vast social, political and economic changes that have taken place since 1989. It will do so, however, in a multi-faceted way, using both academic and non-academic sources. The course will develop students’ social-analytical skills to better understand the world they live in.
What will students learn? Upon completing the course, students will be able to:
- understand the historical system that was communism and Soviet rule;
- discern differences in how this system operated in Eastern Europe and in the USSR;
- understand the process of collapse in 1989 as a world-historical event;
- assess the political transformation that followed, e.g. democratization;
- evaluate the changes in geopolitics, including EU and NATO enlargement;
- comprehend the economic transition to free market capitalism;
- appraise different ethnographies of post-communist change (gender, ethnic minorities, labor practices, urban landscapes; migration);
- understand value-based legacies and generational change in post-communist Europe;
- reflect on current trends in terms of democratic back-sliding and autocratization in the post-communist region.
Wer die erste Sitzung der Lehrveranstaltung versäumt, ohne sich vorher schriftlich oder persönlich zu entschuldigen, kann den Anspruch auf einen Platz in der LV verlieren, wenn es mehr Interessenten als Plätze gibt. Dies gilt ungeachtet der Platzzuweisung durch Friedolin und ist im Einklang mit der grundsätzlichen Aufhebung der Anwesenheitspflicht.
The course will encompass inter alia the following topics:
- Communism as ‘totalitarianism’
- Post-communist political development
- Political attitudes
- Coming to terms with communism: transitional justice
- Nationalism & Minorities
- Communism as ‘socialism’
- Social attitudes
- Ethnographies of Change: work, gender, migration, labor, minorities
- Post-Communism: a transitory phenomenon?
- Contemporary democracy back-sliding and autocratization
This course will be of interest for students studying:
- political science and political development,
- contemporary history,
- East European studies.
No immediate requisites are required, except for a fascination for how politics and societies are transformed!