University of Wisconsin–Madison

Featured Courses

Below is a list of new or revised courses being offered in spring 2019 which may be of interest to students in REECAS.

We will be adding additional courses in the coming weeks, so check back soon! For a full list of REECAS courses, please click on the links to the right.

History 891 – Postwar Europe East and West

Professors Francine Hirsch and Laird Boswell
W 11:00 – 1:00

This reading seminar will introduce graduate students to the history of Postwar Europe—East and West. We will explore the imprint of the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the extension of Soviet power on the countries of Europe. We will look at European reconfigurations against the backdrop of the Cold War, focusing on “the end of empire” in Western Europe, the creation of the Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe, and the creation of the European Union. We will also look at the transmission of ideas, culture, and people across borders, as well as at the politics of religion, immigration, reproduction, and environmentalism. We will end with an evaluation of the revolutions of 1989—and the new political, social, and cultural transfigurations that emerged in their wake.

Course Guide Link: History 891

Level: Graduate
Fulfills: REECAS MA, graduate certificate, doctoral minor course
Prerequisites: Graduate student or consent of instructor

Lit Trans 207 – Slavic Science Fiction in Literature and Film

Professor David S. Danaher
T/Th 2:30-3:45
3 Credits

In the United States, Science Fiction (SF) is typically thought of as a quintessentially American (or American-British) genre. This course explores the rich tradition of Slavic contributions to SF through a survey of iconic writers and their works in the Czech, Polish, and Russian contexts. SF is perhaps the dominant contemporary genre for sociocultural commentary/critique aimed at reimagining the world in which we live, and Slavic SF texts have played a defining role in establishing SF as such. Since the rise of film coincides with the rise of modern SF and since the intertextual dimension in SF literature is particularly strong, we also compare and contrast literary works with, where available, their film adaptations.

Course Guide Link: Lit Trans 207

Level: Elementary
Fulfills: REECAS Group III (Literature & Arts)
Breadth: Literature
Prerequisites: None

Poster with sci-fi film and book covers

Poli Sci/Slavic/Geog/History 253 – Russia: An Interdisciplinary Survey

Professor Manon van de Water
Lecture T/Th 1:00-2:15
Discussion W (multiple timeslots)

This course is designed as an interdisciplinary introduction to Russian civilization. Visiting lecturers and UW-Madison faculty members from ten different departments teach the lectures. The course aims to impart a basic knowledge of Russian history, literature, politics, religion, philosophy, art, geography, economy, cinema, theatre, and foreign affairs, which will provide students with the tools to begin grasping the many complex issues that Russian culture and society present.  By the end of the semester, students will be familiar with the major issues, approaches, and topics of disagreement among Russian area specialists. They will also have a solid understanding of Russian culture, history, geography, and politics.

Course Guide Link: Slavic 253

Level: Elementary
Fulfills: REECAS Group I (Interdisciplinary Survey)
Breadth: Literature, Social Science
Prerequisites: None

History 201-002 - The Historian's Craft: Russia Engages America, America Engages Russia

Professor Francine Hirsch
Lecture M/W/F 8:50-9:40
Discussion Th (multiple timeslots)

This lecture and discussion course investigates the relationship between Russia and the United States from 1890 to 1990, focusing on how the two states and their peoples influenced each other and each other’s development. The course will look at traditional diplomatic relations as well as at formal and informal economic and cultural relations. The first part of the course will focus on the period before World War II, looking at mutual perceptions and at opportunities for economic and cultural cooperation and exchange. It will devote considerable attention to America’s reaction to the revolutions of 1917 and to the rise of Stalin and Stalinism. The second part of the course will focus on the Cold War. Themes will include “superpower” competition, espionage, and Soviet reactions to the idea of “the American dream.”

Course Guide Link: History 201

Level: Intermediate
Fulfills: REECAS Group II (History & Social Sciences)
Breadth: Humanities
Prerequisites: Comm A or equivalent

Lit Trans 241/Slavic 242 - Cultures of Dissent in East Central Europe: Censorship and the Politics of Resistance

Instructor: Dijana Mitrovic
Lecture M/W 2:30-3:45

In this class we will study cultures of Eastern and Central Europe through works of literature, theatre, and film produced between the end of WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall (1945–1989). Special focus will be placed on the strategies political regimes were employing to control artistic production during the Cold War era, as well as the subversive techniques of resistance that artists and authors used in return. Apart from learning about the region of this time, the class material will help us recognize/resist various forms of (self)censorship in general, thus making us better scholars, artists, and citizens of the world.

Course Guide Link: Slavic 242

Level: Elementary
Fulfills: REECAS Group III (Literature & Arts)
Breadth: Humanities
Prerequisites: None

Poli Sci 659 – Politics and Society: Contemporary Eastern Europe

Instructor: Boriana Nikolova
Lecture T/Th 9:30-10:45

When communism ended peacefully in Eastern Europe in 1989, the future suddenly looked hopeful again in a region that had gotten quite accustomed to economic and political stagnation.  Moreover, East European countries were embarking on the road to democracy in the most favorable of international environments. The region was flanked to the east by a weakened and inward looking Russia, and to the west, by a European Union willing to provide not only advice and assistance but eventually full membership as well. What could possibly go wrong?  A lot apparently, considering that today even the East European countries that once appeared best positioned to create well-functioning democracies have backslided.

But it is not just East European democracies that are facing challenges. Liberal democracy itself, whose triumph seemed so certain with the end of the Cold War, today appears in a much more precarious position.  Have we learned the wrong lessons from what in 1989 seemed easy and unquestionable wins for democracy and market capitalism? What new lessons can we draw from taking a closer look at East European communism and the way it fell apart? What does the East European experience teach us about how we think about democracy and about creating and sustaining accountable governments? How do the East European transitions from a state-run to a market economy shine light on competing notions of equality, justice, and fairness? What do post-communist nostalgia and the ways the past is remembered tell us about the future of the democratic project in Eastern Europe and about the rise of populism in the region and beyond? These are some of the questions that we will be addressing by looking at a variety of sources including memoirs, ethnography, and film.

Course Guide Link: Poli Sci 659

Level: Advanced
Fulfills: REECAS MA, undergraduate certificate (group II), graduate certificate, doctoral minor course
Breadth: Social Science
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and Poli Sci 120 or 182 (or Poli Sci 106 or 186 taken prior to fall 2017), graduate student, or consent of instructor

Poli Sci 401-003 - Global Access to Justice

Instructor: Kathryn Hendley
Lecture T/Th 8:00-9:15

Led by Professor Kathryn Hendley, this class will explore the roles played by lawyers around the world. If you’ve ever wondered why lawyers are so much more politically relevant in the U.S. than in Russia, this could be the class for you. The course will begin by comparing the various approaches to legal education, but most of the semester will be devoted to studying the different types of lawyers, such as litigators, prosecutors, in-house lawyers, public interest lawyers, etc. The main cases will be Russia, China, and the US, though the experiences of lawyers in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and other countries will also be included.  Through the readings and classroom discussion, students will come to understand the similarities and differences between each type of lawyer, depending on the larger political context. The class will also study the variations in the expectations that clients place on their lawyers and the extent to which lawyers fulfill these expectations. If you have questions, please contact Professor Hendley (khendley@wisc.edu).

Course Guide Link: Poli Sci 401-003

Level: Intermediate
Fulfills: REECAS Group II (History & Social Sciences)
Breadth: Social Science
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Featured Language - Kazakh (Advanced)

LCA Lang 532 – Fifth Semester Kazak
TR 9:30 – 10:45
Level: Advanced
3 Credits

Kazakh is a Turkic language, closely related to Turkish, Uzbek, Tatar, and others. It is spoken by about 11 million people in Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, and Iran. Kazakh is on the US State Department list of critical languages.

For more information about Kazakh at UW-Madison, visit languages.wisc.edu.