EAST EUROPEAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Department of Politics
726 Broadway 7th Fl. Room 710 Place: SILV 809
This course is designed to introduce you to the politics of Eastern Europe. We will take a comparative political history perspective rather than a country-by-country approach or focus exclusively on analyzing the contemporary political institutions of the East European countries. We will do so because the aim of this course is to expose you to some of the fundamental and lingering controversies that surround and permeate the politics of Eastern European countries. As the on-going processes of invitations and applications for admission to NATO and EU indicate, most East European countries are in transition towards a future that is being still being shaped, negotiated, and decided. Transitions do not take place in a geopolitical vacuum. Most importantly, transitions are conditioned as much by the past of these countries as they are defined by the expectations for the future. Therefore, our chief objective shall be to explain the practices, disciplines, and institutions that have governed and defined social and political life in Eastern Europe over the last century and currently. By the end of this semester, you shall have developed a sophisticated perspective about ordinary life, the potential opportunities, and the enduring problems within the Eastern European societies.
We will examine three periods designated here as pre-communist, communist and post-communist with respect to four persistent problems of political relevance: 1- institutions and the state; 2- nationalism and ethnicity; 3- economy; and 4- political culture. The course is divided into three sections. In the first section we explore Eastern European politics from WWI up to the explosion (and the end) of WWII in 1939. In the second section we seek to explore, explain, and understand the political and social processes that took place during the Communist rule, that is, when the Eastern Europe was dominated by the Soviet Union and was part of the Soviet Empire. Here we will carefully examine the revolutions that swept across Eastern Europe in 1989. Finally, we look at the issues, problems, and paradoxes of the post-socialist transition.
Particularly given the intensive nature of the course schedule you are expected to keep up with the assigned readings and to be prepared to discuss them in a knowledgeable way. This means dedicating substantial time to careful reading and thoughtful reflection before coming to class. If you fail to keep up with the readings you will not be able to contribute to and learn from the class interactions. Be prepared to ask questions and participate. Open discussion provides you with an important opportunity to wrestle with, criticize and engage the ideas presented in this course. There will be a midterm and a take-home final exam (1000-1200 words each) as well as a memo on a topic of your choice.
Participation: 10 %
Midterms: 50% (25% each)
Final Exam: 40%
Joseph Rothschild, East Central Europe between the Two World Wars Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press, 1991
Vladimir Tismaneanu, ed., The Revolutions of 1989 London: Routledge, 1999.
Raymond Pearson, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire New York: St. Martin Press, 1998
Paul G. Lewis, Political Parties in Post-Communist Eastern Europe London: Routledge, 2000
In addition, a number of articles have been placed at the Bobst Library Reserve. A course-pack could be picked up at the New University Copy Center between the Mercer and Green streets.
January 22, 2002: Introduction to the Course. What is Eastern Europe? Keith Crawford, “East Central Europe” in East Central European Politics Today, 1997: 1-28. (Lecture)
Monday January 27, 2003: Key Concepts and Themes: State, Nation, Ethnicity and Political Culture. (Lecture)
Wednesday January 29, 2003: Poland. in Rothschild, 27-73
Monday February 3, 2003: Czechoslovakia. in Rothschild, 73-137
Wednesday February 5, 2003: Hungary. in Rothschild, 137-201
Monday February 10, 2003: Yugoslavia. in Rothschild, 201-281
Wednesday February 12, 2003: Romania. Rothschild, 281-323
Monday February 17, 2003: Bulgaria. in Rothschild, 323-357.
Wednesday February 19, 2003: Albania. The Baltic States. in Rothschild, 367-382 and 357-367
Monday February 24, 2003: World War II: “World War II.” in Joseph A. Rothschild and Nancy Wingfield, Return to Diversity: A Political History of East Central Europe Since World War Two,
Third Edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000: 25-76. FIRST MIDTERM QUESTION IS HANDED TO YOU
Wednesday February 26, 2003: Pearson, p. 1-23; Charles Bohlen, “The Yalta Negotiations” in Gale Stokes, ed. From Stalinism to Pluralism New York: Oxford University Press, 19-28; Winston Churchill, “The Percentages Agreement” in Gale Stokes, ed. From Stalinism to Pluralism New York: Oxford University Press, 31-33 THE FIRST MIDTERM ESSAY IS DUE
Monday March 3, 2003: State, Party and Economic Organization in Eastern European Socialist states. Pearson, 23-50. Also selected readings from Janos Kornai, The Socialist System Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
Wednesday March 5, 2003: Pearson: 50-109. “The Breznev Doctrine” in Gale Stokes, ed. From Stalinism to Pluralism New York: Oxford University Press, 132-135
Monday March 10, 2003: Pearson, p. 109-157. (additional readings to be assigned). “Charter 77 ” in Gale Stokes, ed. From Stalinism to Pluralism New York: Oxford University Press, 163-167. Zvi Gitelman, “Public Opinion in Communist Political Systems,” pp. 1-12, in Walter Connor and Zvi Gitelman, eds., Public Opinion in European Communist Systems, Praeger, 1977.
Wednesday March 12, 2003: Peter Sugar, “The Historical Role of Religious Institutions in Eastern Europe and their Place in the Communist Party-State” in Sabrina Pedra Ramet, ed. Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1989:42-58. Sabrina Pedra Ramet, “Church and Dissent in Praetorian Poland” in Social Currents in Eastern Europe Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1991:155-173.
Monday March 17, 2003: Spring Recess
Wednesday March 19, 2003: Spring Recess
Monday March 24, 2003: Katherine Verdery, “What Was Socialism and Why Did It Fall?” in Tismaneanu, p.63-89; Janos, A., “What Was Communism?” Communist and Postcommunist Studies, 29 (1996), 1-26.
Wednesday March 26, 2003: Daniel Chirot, “What Happened in Eastern Europe in 1989?” p. 19-51; S.N. Eisenstadt, “The Breakdown of Communist Regimes” p. 89-108; SECOND MIDTERM QUESTION IS HANDED TO YOU
Monday March 31, 2003: Timothy Garton Ash, “The Year of Truth” 108-125; Jeffrey Isaac, “The Meanings of 1989”p. 125-165; (both in Tismaneanu). V. Havel, "New Year's Day Speech, 1990” in Gale Stokes, ed. From Stalinism to Pluralism New York: Oxford University Press, 249-255. SECOND MIDTERM ESSAY IS DUE
Wednesday April 2, 2003: Tony Judt, “1989: The End of Which European Era?” 165-181; G. M. Tamas, “The Legacy of Dissent”, p.181-198;
Monday April 7, 2003: Jacek Kuron, “Overcoming Totalitarianism” 198-205; Ken Jowitt, “The Leninist legacy” 213-231; Jacques Rupnik, “The Post-Totalitarian Blues” 231-244; Mircea Mihaies, “Intellectual Notes from the Underground, p.252-263; (all in Tismaneanu).
Wednesday April 9, 2003: Nationalism: Jack Snyder, ‘Nationalism Amid the Ruins of Communism” in Jack Snyder, From Voting to Violence New York: Norton 2000: 189-265
Monday April 14, 2003: Paul G. Lewis, Political Parties in Post-Communist Eastern Europe London: Routledge, 2000: 1-50 (additional articles to be assigned).
Wednesday April 16, 2003:Paul G. Lewis, Political Parties in Post-Communist Eastern Europe London: Routledge, 2000: 50-94 (additional articles to be assigned).
Monday April 21, 2003: Paul G. Lewis, Political Parties in Post-Communist Eastern Europe London: Routledge, 2000:95-125 (additional articles to be assigned).
Wednesday April 23, 2003: Paul G. Lewis, Political Parties in Post-Communist Eastern Europe London: Routledge, 2000:125-163 (additional articles to be assigned). Valerie Bunce, "Comparing East and South," Journal of Democracy 6, No. 3, July 1995, pp. 87-100.
Monday April 28, 2003: Wars in the former Yugoslavia (readings to be assigned).
Wednesday April 30, 2003: Capitalist Development in Post-Communist Societies. Lairson & Skidmore, ch.14. Also, Sachs, Lipton, and Weisskopf (in the Folder). Steven Fish, "The Determinants of Economic Reform in the Post-Communist World," East European Politics and Societies 12, No. 1, Winter 1998, pp. 31-78. Valerie Bunce, "The Political Economy of Postsocialism," Slavic Review 58, 1999, pp. 756-793.
Monday May 5, 2003: Last Day of Classes: The Future of East Central Europe: Is there an Eastern Europe? Pearson 157-183; Adam Michnik, ‘The Velvet Restoration” p. 244-252; and Zhelyu Zhelev, “Is Communism Returning?” 258-263 (in Tismaneanu).
FINAL EXAM QUESTION IS HANDED TO YOU
Friday May 12, 2003: FINAL EXAM ESSAY IS DUE at 11:00 a.m.