Eastern Europe, 1000-2000
Spring Semester, 2004
Eastern Europe is here defined as contemporary Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine.
This course considers the establishment of medieval Poland, Lithuania, and Ruthenia; the early modern Commonwealth that united lands from all three; its partition among Russian, Austrian, and German empires; the experience of world war, genocide, and communism; the Cold War and the Revolutions of 1989; and the establishment of modern national states. It also treats the rise and the consolidation of the Habsburg monarchy; its consolidation as a European power, and its role as an incubator of modern political ideologies and cultural ideals. It also treats the Ottoman Empire in its contest for power with Poland-Lithuania and Austria, as well as in its connection to Hungarians and Romanians.
One theme of this course is nationality, in particular the changing structure national legitimations of political power. In Poland-Lithuania and the Habsburg domains, older notions of citizenship and service yielded to more modern ideas of ethnicity and mass participation. How did an early modern nationality yield to modern nationality: as ethical ideal, as organizing principle, as political legitimation? Why and when did modern nationality extend beyond the bounds of traditional elites? When, if ever, did nationality attain greater social significance than religion? Did ethnic cleansing of the twentieth century result from mass nationalism, or bring it about?
The Jewish experience in eastern Europe is a second theme. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was home to more of the world's Jews than any other realm. Jews in Poland-Lithuania enjoyed a degree of tolerance unparalleled elsewhere in contemporary Europe, and constituted one order of the established political system. The main currents of Jewish thought flourished in the Commonwealth. In the nineteenth century, when the Commonwealth was no more, its Jews were divided under three imperial systems: Russian, Austrian, and Prussian. Traditional life was challenged by emancipation and democratization, by modern political ideas within and without the shtetl, and by new connections between anti-Semitism and ideologies of liberation of the right and the left. Galician Jews found themselves in Austria, where they became prominent most famously in Vienna, but also in Lemberg. In independent Poland between 1918 and 1939, Jewish political life presented a fabulous kaleidoscope of possibility and impossibility, while Jewish cultural life reached fantastic heights of creativity. Poland was once again home to more Jews than any other country, and Warsaw was the largest Jewish city in the world. The Final Solution put an end to this civilization.
A third theme, suggested by the first two, is the experience of the world war. This includes the hopeful establishment of new republics after the First World War, the threat of Soviet and Nazi invasion in the interwar period, the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland in 1939-1941, and the German occupation of most of eastern Europe in 1939-1945. Communist eastern Europe will be placed within domestic traditions as well as Soviet political history, and treated as a social experiment as well as a key setting of the Cold War. Although communist rule was imposed by outside force, communists adapted to domestic society, and communism lasted for more than forty years. The course ends with the Revolutions of 1989, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and attempts by newly-sovereign states to join united Germany in a successful project of European integration.
Evaluation. Your final grade will be determined by two in-class examinations (35% each), and participation in section (30%).
Books (at the Yale Book Store):
Piotr Wandycz, The Price of Freedom
Andrzej Walicki, Poland Between East and West
Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations
Packet (at York Copy)
Week One: Getting our Bearings
1. Millenial Journeys (January 12)
2. Pagan Slavs and their Neighbors (January 14)
Robert S. Lopez, The Birth of Europe, New York: M. Evans and Co., 1972, pp. 59-106.
Week Two: Christendom and Eastern Europe
3. The Conversion of Poland (January 16)
4. The Medieval Social Order (January 21)
Francis Dvornik, The Slavs in European History and Civilization, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1962, pp. 1-60, 150-182. In packet.
Piotr Wandycz, The Price of Freedom, New York: Routledge, 1991, pp. 18-47.
Week Three: Christian Variations
5. Lithuania, Ruthenia, and the Crusades (January 26)
6. Bohemia and Hungary (January 28)
Wandycz, Price of Freedom, pp. 48-76
Week Four: Renaissance and Tyranny
7. Republic and Autocracy (February 2)
8. Renaissance Men and Women (February 4)
Jan Kochanowski, "Lament VII", 1580. (1 page).
Ihor Sevcenko, "The Many Worlds of Peter Mohyla," in Byzantium and the Slavs, Cambridge: Ukrainian Research Institute, 1991, pp. 651-683. Originally published in Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 8, 1-2 (1985), pp. 9-44.
Week Five: Toleration and Intolerance
9. Reformation and Toleration (Feb. 9)
10. Ukrainian Rebellion (February 11)
J. H. Elliot, Europe Divided 1559-1598, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, pp. 154-163. In packet.
Wandycz, Price of Freedom, 77-134
Week Six: Jews and Muslims
11. Islam and the East (February 16)
12. A Jewish Order (February 18)
Dvornik, The Slavs in European History and Civilization, 232-246. In packet.
Paul Wexler, "The Reconstruction of Pre-Ashkenazic Jewish Settlements in The Slavic Lands in the Light of the Linguistic Sources," in Antony Polonsky, ed., From Shtetl to Socialism, London: Littman Library of Polish Civilization, 1993, pp. 3-18. In packet.
Gershon David Hundert, "Some Basic Experiences of the Jewish Experience in Poland," in Polonsky, ed., From Shtetl to Socialism, 19-25. In packet.
M. J. Rosman, The Lord's Jews, Cambridge: Center for Jewish Studies and Ukrainian Research Institute, 1991, 1-22. In packet.
Week Seven: National Questions
13. Poland Partitioned (February 23)
Music: Michal Kleofas Oginski, Polonaise in A Minor, "Farewell to the Fatherland."
14. The Springtime of Nations (February 25)
Wandycz, Price of Freedom, pp. 135-201
Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 1-31, 105-132
Andrzej Walicki, Poland Between East and West, Cambridge: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 1994, pp. 9-61.
Larry Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994, pp. 332-355. In packet.
Week Eight: Decline of Empire
15. Sex, Nation, and Empire (March 1)
16. First Exam (March 3)
Roman Dmowski, Myśli nowoczesnego Polaka [Thoughts of a Modern Pole], London: Kolo Mlodych Stronnictwa Narodowego, 1953 [first edition 1903]. Brief excerpts. In packet.
Adam Mickiewicz, "Romanticism," 1821, selection. (1 page)
Week Nine: Independent States (1918-1939)
17. Greater Romania (guest lecture) (March 22)
18. Successor States (March 24)
Snyder, Reconstruction, pp. 52-72, 133-153
Wandycz, Price of Freedom, 201-235
Week Ten: Modernity as Destruction (1918-1939)
19. The Soviet-Polish Competition (March 29)
20. Society and Culture (March 31)
Snyder, Reconstruction, 73-104, 154-201
Chone Shmeruk, "Aspects of the History of Warsaw as a Yiddish Cultural Centre," in Polonsky, ed., From Shtetl to Socialism, pp. 120-133
Week Eleven: World War to Cold War (1939-1968)
21. Occupation, Expulsion, Genocide (April 5)
22. The Communist System (April 7)
Wandycz, Price of Freedom, 236-265
Aleksander Wat, My Century: The Odyssey of a Polish Intellectual, New York, Norton and Company, 1988, pp. 124-137. In packet.
Gustaw Herling, A World Apart, New York: Penguin, 1996, pp. 1-19. First edition 1951. In packet.
Week Twelve: Breakdown (1968-1989)
23. The Prague Spring (April 12)
24. Solidarity (April 14)
Snyder, Reconstruction, 202-293.
Wandycz, Price of Freedom, 265-275.
Week 13: Reconsiderations
25. Returns to Europe (April 19)
26. Second Exam (April 21)
Leszek Kołakowski, "How to Be a Conservative-Liberal-Socialist," 1978 (2 pages).
Zbigniew Herbert, "The Envoy of Mr. Cogito," 1974 (1 page). In packet.