HIST 2958 Empires and Vampires: History of Eastern Europe

HIST 2958 Empires and Vampires: History of Eastern Europe (also JWST 2958) (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS) (HEU)

Tuesday and Thursday: 2:45-4:00

Professor Cristina Florea

"Undoubtedly I could call Europe my home, but it was a home that refused to acknowledge itself as a whole," the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz once wrote. In the course we will study the history of the lands, peoples, and states of Eastern Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries as an integral part of modern European and global history. We will ask what the East European experience can teach us about larger questions of cause and effect, agency in history, continuities and ruptures, the interplay between institutions, states and individuals, and the relationship between culture and politics. The course will define the region broadly, to include the lands stretching from today's Ukraine to Poland and the Balkans. But given the constant flux in borders, demographics, and sovereignties of this region, we will have to continually reconsider what and where Eastern Europe was.  We will survey key periods in the region's history, looking closely at cases from across Eastern Europe. We will learn about institutions, large-scale processes, personalities, events, cultural artifacts, and ideas using a combination of narrative history and literary essays, primary documents, works of fiction, and films. The course is organized both chronologically and thematically. The themes we will explore include: geopolitics and its role in shaping Eastern Europe's history, statehood and territory, the rise and fall of empires, Eastern European experiments with democracy, the impact of the two world wars on the region, the problems of collaboration and resistance during foreign occupations, and the relationship between the region and the great powers.

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