2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Blood and Borders: Tradition and Transformation in Central Europe


Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 quarters

Patricia Krafcik Russian language and literature , Marta Botikova (F) , Robert Smurr Russian history, environmental history , Zoltan Grossman geography
Fields of Study
cultural studies, geography, history and international studies
Preparatory for studies or careers in
international affairs, history, political science, geography, cultural anthropology and international business.

Come with us on a virtual journey from the Baltics to the Balkans. The cobblestone streets of medieval Estonia, misty Carpathian and Transylvanian mountains, and sunny shores of the Adriatic Sea await our arrival as we traverse a magnificent territory stretching from the gates of Scandinavia through the mountains, plains and forests of Slavic, Hungarian and Romanian central Europe to the portals of the once-great empires of Macedonia and the Ottoman Turks.

Our theme of “Blood” examines the ethnic and cultural identities prevalent in the region and how ethno-religious and cultural nationalisms have shaped and been shaped by constructed identities as well as by regional conflicts and invading distant powers since 1848. Indeed, some of the world’s most reviled rulers and dictators, including Dracula, Hitler and Stalin, left bloody and permanent marks on this entire region.

Our theme of “Borders” explores how international and regional boundaries have been drawn and redrawn and how central Europe has served as a “borderland” between Christianity and Islam, Western and Eastern Christianity, the German, Austrian, Russian and Ottoman empires, NATO and the Soviet Union, and present-day Russia and the European Union. The revolution of 1989 and the demise of Communism, initiating a new chapter in the region’s history, will be a significant focus of our study. We will examine why the numerous ethnic, national, religious and political identities often “resolved” their differences by force and violence rather than by tolerance and acceptance.

Historical, cultural, geographical, economic, gender, and environmental modes of analysis will enable us to examine both previous and contemporary issues in each country in this region. Such analysis will also permit us to offer regional angles that transcend state boundaries, a particularly exciting aspect of investigation since so many of the current nation-state borders have been drawn recently and, in many cases, artificially. Abundant literary works and films from each of the region's relevant countries will offer additional valuable insights.

In fall quarter, we will examine the historical background chronologically, enhanced with a study of the geography and demography of this varied region. Winter quarter will focus on a variety of fascinating themes connecting the present to the past and the future. In both quarters, students will write papers and conduct research projects that link our themes over time and on a local, national and global scale. We will use lectures, images, readings, film critique, art, maps and literature as tools in our exploration.

Online Learning
No Required Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
Fall $80 for an overnight field trip to the Deception Pass Environmental Learning Center October 20-23, 2011.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
May 4th, 2011 Fees have been updated.