Political Science | East European Politics
Y340 | 28475 | Bielasiak
The breach of the Berlin Wall in 1989 brought forth a new political
euphoria: peace and democracy in the world were the expected outcomes.
But reality proved harsher. I n the years since these dramatic events,
East Europe witnessed a bloody war in the Balkans, the revival of
ethnic and national hate, the return of former communists to power,
but also economic and political success in other parts of the region.
How are we to explain these events? We consider the question by
looking at the attempts to build new societies in East Europe in the
post-WW II era. The region has been an arena of human
experimentation, of the rise and fall of grand political projects.
These programs are examined first through the background to and the
establishment of communism in East Europe, and the major crises faced
by communist states and their breakdown during the "revolutions of
1989." Moxst of the course looks at contemporary issues of the
transition from communism to democracy, the consolidation of democracy
in some EE states, and the precocious nature of democratic politics in
other EE states. The main focus is on political, social, economic
and international factors that facilitate or hinder democratic progress.
Class sessions consist of lectures, discussions, films and in-class
exercises. Requirements include two exams, a short paper on
democratic transition, and class participation. Readings will include
a textbook, fictional accounts, and articles on current events.