Glennys J. Young
Communism from its origins in the Bolshevik faction of Russian social democracy to the present, treating the development of the ideology, the various communist parties, and the communist states. Recommended: two history or politics of Europe courses. Offered: jointly with JSIS B 440.
Have you ever wondered why communist regimes emerged and became influential political forces in the twentieth century? Have you ever been puzzled by why those same regimes--especially the USSR and Communist China--proved to be so vulnerable? Do you want to understand the legacies for the 21st century and beyond of the quest to build a truly communist society, and of the collapse of communist regimes and their empires? These are some of the questions that this course will address. Focus will be on the origins of communist ideologies, practices of communist rule (including political rituals and ceremonies), conflict between communist regimes, dismantlement of communist systems, and communist legacies.
Student learning goals
Understand the basics of Marxist theory, and the way in which this theory was adapted by communist regimes and parties around the globe
Understand how and why Communist regimes and parties around the world developed, gained support, and lost adherents
Understand how ordinary people lived in communist societies around the world
Have an appreciation for the importance of visual material (political posters, films, architecture) and political symbols for communist regimes and polities
Read primary sources and other texts more carefully and critically.
Write more effective prose
General method of instruction
Lecture and discussion. We will also watch a few films and film clips, and examine examples of the visual art (e.g., posters, banners) of communist regimes.
There are no formal prerequisites; knowledge of European and world history will be helpful. But the most important factor for success in the course will be commitment to read, write, and think.
Class assignments and grading
Midterm, final, short papers (5-7 pp.). This is a "W" course
Grades will be assigned on the basis of written work; class participation will also be taken into consideration.