Political Science | East European Politics
Y340 | 3418 | Bielasiak
War in Kosovo! Economic collapse in Russia! Former Communists in
NATO! -- these are the headlines from East Europe over the past year. Yet
these simple statements hide a complex reality. The collapse of communism
in 1989 brought forth a new political euphoria: peace and democracy in the
world were the expected outcomes. Since then, the countries of East Europe
have sought to build stable democracies and affluent market economies. In
this transition to democracy, they have encountered many problems --
including a bloody war in the Balkans, the revival of ethnic and national
hate, and economic chaos and hardship. Still, some of the East European
states are well on the way to success.
How are we to explain these events, the problems and the
accomplishments? We consider the question by looking at the communist and
post-communist attempts to build new societies in East Europe. To find an
answer, we look at ideological, political, economic and social issues that
influence the formation of new political systems.
Class sessions will consist of lectures, discussions of current
events, and films, as well as a variety of in-class participation exercises.
Readings will be about 100 pages a week and there will be two exams covering
the readings, the lectures, and the discussions, and a short paper.