Political Science | East European Politics
Y340 | 3373 | Bielasiak
Revolution in Yugoslavia! War in Kosovo! Economic collapse in
Russia! Former Communists in NATO! -- those are recent headlines from East
Europe. 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 three exams
covering the readings, the lectures, and the discussions, and a short paper.