INTR 227 War and Memory in Eastern Europe
- Fall 2023
Current political conflicts and open wars both use the memory of past confrontations. Central and Eastern Europe is no exception here; only the Russian aggression on Ukraine in 2022 made us fully aware of those historical interconnections. Using various examples from the region (Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus), the course has two parallel aims: (1) to present the main (collective) memory conflicts in that region in the 21st century and (2) to examine the usage of the past in current memory politics. We will focus on an in-depth study of selected historical conflicts on the "Bloodlands" (to use the term by Timothy Snyder) and their role in creating a politics of memory: the legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (16th-18th century) and the Habsburg Empire (16th-20th century), World War One (1914-1918) and "wars of Pygmies" that followed, World War Two and the Shoah, Polish-German and Czech-German reconciliation, Russian imperialism and its implications in Ukraine and Belarus, communism and anticommunism. The course will have a form of a seminar which includes some lecture introductions from the instructor but predominantly students' presentations on chosen case studies and in-class discussions.