CS: Eastern Europe in Transition: The Road to 1989 and Beyond

Timothy Olin's picture
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The fall of the Communist system in 1989 was a moment of euphoria for Eastern Europe, a moment seemed to herald a complete and immediate transformation of life in the region. However, once the dust had settled, it quickly became apparent that the transition from socialism to democracy and a free market economy would be a long and torturous process. This course examines the revolutionary events of 1989 in Eastern Europe and the numerous, sometimes unanticipated, problems that arose in their wake. We will consider the political, social and economic ramifications of Eastern Europe’s attempted post-Communist transformation, looking at such topics as the difficulty of building democratic institutions, the rise of the radical right and xenophobic nationalism, the troubled implementation of market-oriented economic reforms, the problem of how to dispense justice for the crimes of the Communist past, and effects of the transition on gender relations. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, incorporating ideas from historians, journalists, sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers and economists.