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INTR 223 Opposition in an Authoritarian State: Poland, 1945-1989

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  • Spring 2020
    Spring 2020 — TR 18:15 - 19:30
    Course Syllabus

    One of the common features of authoritarian regimes is a limited pluralism and disrupted relationship of authorities and opposition. The ruling regime denies a political representation to vast segments of society, as it allows the authorities to hold unaccountable power and further its ideology. Even if the people are far from being unanimous, living in the closed, captive society equals lack of opportunities for disseminating the ideas challenging official line. Yet the power of the powerless, to use Vaclav Havel's phrase, lies in the constant dropping in the hope that one day it will wear the stone. Thus the role of opposition to the authoritarian regimes, even if its activities might seem hopeless, cannot be underestimated.

    In this course, we will take a look on history of communism in Polish People's Republic (PPR) - from establishing the regime to the Round Table Talks - through democratic opposition perspective. During the semester, we will deal with several questions, including what was the nature of activities of Polish opposition? What were they ideas and political thought? How was the opposition structured? Which actions undertook by the ruling communist party (Polish United Workers' Party, or PZPR) triggered the society - the masses and the individuals - to join the opposition in their efforts of 'constant dropping the stone'? In order to answer these questions, we are going to take a look on major events in the Polish People's Republic history. We will scrutinize major actors of the opposition, both institutions (the Church, Radio Free Europe, KOR, Solidarity), and leading individuals (Stefan Wyszynski, Jan Nowak Jezioranski, Adam Michnik, Karol Modzelewski, Jacek Kuro?, Antoni Macierewicz, Lech Walesa, Andrzej Gwiazda, Jozef Pinior, and others), and discuss their goals and means they were using the achieve them. At the end of the semester we will also debate the nature of the Polish revolution of 1989 and investigate how it ended and why did this happen without a single gunshot.

  • Spring 2011
    Shawn Ling Ramirez
    Spring 2011 — TR 14:00 - 15:15
    Course Syllabus

    The first half of the course examines explanations of crisis initiation, the escalation of violence, and causes of protracted conflict. The second half surveys theories of conflict resolution and explanations of the successes and failures of peace-making and peace-keeping efforts. Students will work in groups to apply theories and concepts to a conflict of their choice. Additional examples will be drawn to study how war and peace evolve in cases that vary in the intensity of the conflict (causes of genocide, e.g., Rwanda), the length of the conflict (enduring rivalries, e.g., the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), and the value of the conflict (territorial and resource wars, e.g., the dispute over Kashmir, and the Congo).