History | Power and Powerlessness: Communism and Dissent in Eastern Europe
D300 | 12549 | A. Muller

Above class open to undergraduates only

How did people react to the emergence of Communism in Eastern
Europe, especially Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia?
What coping strategies did they develop? When and how did they begin
to oppose their political regimes?  How did opposition groups
evolve? What was the role of men and women in the opposition

This class is designed to provide an introduction to the history of
Communism, its appeal, and subsequent disillusionment and
criticism.  Drawing on writings by various East European
oppositionists and dissidents, as well as literary pieces and
movies, this class enables students to discuss and understand
concepts related to the evolution of Communism, people’s attitude
towards it, the emergence of democracy and civil society.

We will explore the history of dissidence from the years immediately
after the war, through Stalinism, the emergence of
revisionist “Marxism,” and later democratic dissent and opposition.
We will observe the emergence and influence of the particular
phenomenon “anti-politics,” a movement that helped topple Communism
in 1989 and has had a profound influence on the post-Communist
reconstruction of Eastern Europe.