HIST202 - The Global History of Communism

Communism and the struggle against it were the axis around which the history of the 20th history revolved. For some it represented the dream of a just society, national liberation and an end to poverty and oppression. For others, it was a nightmare of purges, oppression, terrorism and the pulverization of human rights. From its inception in 1917 to its collapse in 1991 it drew the allegiance of countless workers, peasants, artists, intellectuals, soldiers and, last but definitely not least, ruthless killers. It rose in a series of historical cataclysms, wars and bloody revolutions, and collapsed seemingly overnight, with hardly a bullet shot in anger. In this class we will survey the history of this movement and factors that drove its rise and fall. What drove so many people towards it, and why did Communist regimes nevertheless almost universally relied on violence to maintain their grip on power? How did internationalism and nationalism interact in the making and breaking of Communism? How did economic and political life look life under Communism? How did Communist regimes survive for so long despite their record of violence and economic inefficiency, and why did they collapse so easily and rapidly? Finally, we will consider the ways in which the legacies and memories of Communism still shape global society today, 25 years after its fall.
Day and Time: 
R 0530PM-0830PM


Cross Listings: 
    This is an LPS course. Registration may be limited to LPS students.