Sophomore Seminar: The Communist Experience in the 20th Century|
Spring 2015 not offered
Twenty years 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?
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Glennys Young, ed. THE COMMUNIST EXPERIENCE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: A GLOBAL HISTORY THROUGH SOURCES. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Paulina Bren, THE GREENGROCER AND HIS TV: THE CULTURE OF COMMUNISM AFTER THE 1968 PRAGUE SPRING. Cornell University Press, 2010.
Venedikt Erofeev, MOSCOW TO THE END OF THE LINE. Northwestern University Press, 1992.
Boris Groys, THE TOTAL ART OF STALINISM: AVANT-GARDE, AESTHETIC DICTATORSHIP, AND BEYOND. Verso, 2011.
Stephen Kotkin, UNCIVIL SOCIETY: 1989 AND THE IMPLOSION OF THE COMMUNIST ESTABLISHMENT, Modern Library, 2010.
Heda Margolius Kovaly, UNDER A CRUEL STAR: A LIFE IN PRAGUE 1941-1968, trans. by Franci Epstein, Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1997.
Richard Stites, REVOLUTIONARY DREAMS: UTOPIAN VISION AND EXPERIMENTAL LIFE IN THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Yuri Trifonov, ANOTHER LIFE AND THE HOUSE ON THE EMBANKMENT. Michael Glenny, trans. Northwestern University Press, 1999.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
This course is an intensive reading and writing seminar, with 2 short papers, and one long research paper. It will also incorporate a visual art component through both art history and art practice, and students will create an original visual art project in response to course material.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course is an intensive reading and writing seminar. It will also incorporate a visual art component through both art history and art practice, and students will create an original visual art project in response to course material.
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