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The Communist Experience in the 20th Century
HIST 353
Spring 2025
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: REES 353

Two decades have passed since the collapse of Communism, its empire, and its utopian vision of the kingdom of heaven on Earth. Indeed, the Communist collapse was heralded as not just the end of the Cold War but the end of history itself. Yet how do we understand the nature of the communist way of life, the causes of its decline, and the meaning of its demise? This course will trace the development of Communism's answer to capitalist modernity from the 1917 Revolution through the Soviet collapse. It will seek to shed light on the birth, life, and death of Communist modernity through history, literature, and art, by exploring the world socialism created as an ideological model and a way of life. The emphasis of the course will be on the lived experience of Communism, primarily within the Soviet Union, but also beyond it (in Eastern Europe and Asia). In the global conflict between capitalism and Communism, how did people understand the competing demands of ideology and reality, individual and society, private and public, production and consumption, labor and leisure? How did the state manage the contradictions that arose when lofty ideologies encountered everyday life, and how did citizens make sense of these ideological transformations? What killed Communism: bombs and diplomacy, or refrigerators and Finnish shoes?
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CGST-MN)(HIST-MN)(HIST)(REES-MN)(REES-Social Sci)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUL-13-2024
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