Instructor: Padraic Kenney Hellems 368
Office hours: MWF 10-1130 or by appointment
How can a small nation-state survive? Why do people choose communism or fascism, and why do they then rebel? These very current questions have been central to the East European experience throughout the 20th century. This course will examine the upheavals in the region from World War I through the revolutions of 1989-90 and the Bosnian war, as a way to understanding historical processes such as revolution, nationalism, and modernization.
Requirements: Midterm examination (includes map quiz), 15%; Final examination, 25%; Short paper, 15%; research paper, 30%; oral history project, 15%.
Texts: Crampton, Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century
Milosz, Native Realm
Hoffman, Lost in Translation
Stokes, ed., From Stalinism to Pluralism
Drakulic, How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed
Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia
Mon., 8.25 Outline of the course. Geography.
Wed., 8.27 Geography, cont'd: Images of Eastern Europe.
Fri., 8.29 discussion: Introduction to Milosz
Reading: Milosz, pp. 1-18; Stokes, document #37 (Kundera)
Wed., 9.3 Empires and traditions.
Fri., 9.5 map quiz (approx. 15 minutes); discussion
Reading: Crampton, chs. 1-2; Milosz, read as far as possible
Mon., 9.8 World War I
Wed., 9.10 Introduction to research materials and methods: meet in library lobby
Fri., 9.12 The Russian Revolution. First paper (Milosz) due in class
Mon., 9.15 Postwar settlements
Wed., 9.17 How to build a nation-state
Fri., 9.19 Discussion: making comparisons, or, what to do with all this
Reading: Crampton, pp. 39-44, 57-70, 78-85, 107-13, 119-25, 130-37
Mon., 9.22 What is fascism? Research paper: Topic proposal, bibliography due
Wed., 9.24 Group discussion #1: Searching for success in the new nation-states.
Fri., 9.26 Discussion summary: Democracy or order?
Reading: Crampton, pp. 152-176; 44-56, 70-77, 85-94, 113-18, 126-29, 138-43
Mon., 9.29 World War II.
Wed., 10.1 The Holocaust.
Fri., 10.3 Discussion: explaining/interpreting the Holocaust
Reading: Crampton, ch. 12.
Mon., 10.6 Film; conclusion of discussion
Wed., 10.8 Review
Fri., 10.10 Midterm exam in class
Mon., 10.13 1945: the "Great Powers" decide Eastern Europe's future
Wed., 10.15 or did they? Another look at the communists' seizure of power
Fri., 10.17 discussion: Reconciling two interpretations
Reading: Crampton, ch. 13; Stokes, docs. 1-6.
Mon., 10.20 How did communism work?
Wed., 10.22 Discussion: the experience of communism
Fri., 10.24 Group discussion #2: How could people be attracted to the
Reading: Crampton, ch. 14; Drakulic
Mon., 10.27 East European stalinism.
Wed., 10.29 Rebellion and thaw, 1953-56.
Fri., 10.31 Discussion: experience of communism; introduction to oral
Reading: Crampton, chs. 15-16; Stokes, docs. 7-11.
Mon., 11.3 Ordinary communism, 1956-1970s. Research paper due
Wed., 11.5 Reform in Yugoslavia and Hungary.
Fri., 11.7 Film
Reading: Crampton, ch. 17; Stokes, docs. 12-15. Begin Hoffman.
Mon., 11.10 The Prague Spring.
Wed., 11.12 Polish opposition, 1968-1981
Fri., 11.14 Discussion: memory, forgetting, and resistance to communism.
Reading: Crampton, ch. 18-20; Stokes, docs. 21, 34, 36.
Mon., 11.17 Group discussion #3: critiques of communism and plans for
Reading: Stokes, docs. 16-20, 22-24, 26-29, 32, 35.
Wed., 11.19 Discussion, continued. Introduction to group discussion #4.
Fri., 11.21 Film
Mon., 11.24 Discussion: What made 1989 possible - a debate.
Reading: Crampton, chs. 21-22; Stokes, docs. 25, 30-31, 33, 38-47, 52-53.
Wed., 11.26 The revolutions of 1989: events and interpretations.
Mon., 12.1 Yugoslavia: why did it explode? Oral history project due
Wed., 12.3 The course of the conflict
Fri., 12.5 Bosnia, 1995; looking ahead
Reading: Stokes, docs. 48-51; Glenny
Mon., 12.8 Reflections on the cold war: a report on the oral history projects
Wed., 12.10 Review for exam
Final Exam: Thurs., Dec. 18, from 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM, in this classroom.
1. On Native Realm. Due Friday, September 12. Minimum three full pages, or 750 words.
What is an East European? Can one tell by language, residence, ethnicity, history, geography, beliefs, or ways of looking at the world -- or in some other way? Using Milosz's memoir, construct an image of the East European as he sees it, or explain in what way he defines himself as an East European.
2. Research paper. Due Monday, October 27. Minimum ten full pages. Note: topic proposal and bibliography due Monday, September 22.
Grading: 40% argument/ideas; 40% organization/presentation of ideas; 15% writing; 5% topic proposal/bibliography.
Our library has recently acquired a huge collection of documents on microfilm: the records of the US embassies in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, from World War I to the 1950s. I would like you to use these materials -- with appropriate secondary sources, and other primary sources if necessary -- to investigate a topic of your choice. Here's what to do:
A. Attend the library workshop on Wednesday, September 10. Bibliographer Ben LoBue will talk about these microfilms, about government documents, and about finding other materials. Don't miss this class!
B. Do some background reading: look through appropriate chapters in Crampton, and in the following books which I have placed on reserve for this class: Brzezinski, The Soviet Bloc; Held, The Columbia History of Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century; Rothschild, East Central Europe Between the Two World Wars; Rothschild, Return to Diversity. You may also want to take a look at the guides to the microfilms, in the government document reference stacks at call numbers S 1.2/2 C92, S 1.2/2 P75, and S1.2/2 Y93.
C. With at least a rough idea of your interests, come see me during the week of September 15 (or before). I will help you narrow down your topic, or choose the most feasible topic. However, it will be up to you to make sure you have a topic which you can handle.
D. As soon as possible, start investigating! You can not produce a good paper in a few days, and you do not want to discover a week before it is due that there is not much material on your topic.
E. Keep me updated on your progress. I will read anything you write. I'll even come over to the library to look at documents which are puzzling you.
F. Your final paper must make use of at least three secondary sources (Crampton doesn't count, though you may use it); I strongly advise searching out specialized history books or articles.
3. Oral history project. Due Monday, December 1.
The Cold War -- the forty-five-year rivalry between communist and non-communist countries -- left deep marks on the lives of everyone who lived during that time. For some, like Slavenka Drakulic, it meant growing up with a sense of envy and longing which could never be assuaged. For others, like Eva Hoffman, it meant leaving one's home, and never quite feeling secure.
The Cold War was no less powerful in impact on Americans. Some still remember the terror of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Some served on the "front line" in Germany or Korea. But "the Cold War" took many forms besides military. My mother remembers being told to pray for the conversion of godless China -- and her mother's fruitless letters in search of relatives taken to Siberia after the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in 1940.
This project is in two parts. First, I would like you to write a three-page paper on the impact of the Cold War on Drakulic and Hoffman. Second, I would like you to interview someone about their experience of the Cold War. This might be an emigre, or someone who has never left the United States. You may simply write down their responses, tape-and-transcribe them, or even videotape them (I will accept video submissions, but not audio -- those must be transcribed onto paper). In October, I will give you a list of basic questions to ask; you can then add more if you like.
I hope this project will emphasize the idea that the history of Eastern Europe, especially over the last fifty years, is our history as well. On the next-to-last day of class, I will present some of your findings, and try to summarize what you have discovered.