History | Eastern Europe in the First Half of the 20th Century
D300 | 2984 | Shore


	
A portion of the above section reserved for majors
Above section open to undergraduates only

TOPIC:  "The Trouble with Being Born": Eastern Europe in the First
Half of the Twentieth Century

From the title of the Romanian writer Emil Cioran's book.  This
course will begin around the turn of the century with the twilight of
the great empires (Russian, Prussian, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian),
exploring the origins and "invention" of modern Eastern Europe.  It
will go on to examine the "rebirth" of Eastern Europe in the
aftermath of World War I; the wild and experimental 1920s, including
avant-gardism in the cultural sphere and the collapse of democracy in
the political sphere; and the polarizing ideological spectrum of the
1930s.  We will explore the dynamics of communism and fascism, along
with other configurations of Marxism and nationalism.  Given the
spectre of the Second World War, this course will pose the
overarching question of whether and how we can read the interwar
years in a way other than as a prelude to an inevitable catastrophe
to come?