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Studying Socialism from a Historical and Anthropological Perspective: Thirty Years after the Political Changes of 1989

The class makes an overview of the main issues and themes related to the study of socialism from historical and anthropological perspective. After a comprehensive presentation of major trends and developments during the communist era in Eastern Europe, an emphasis is made on the political and social processes related to the changes of 1989 and the post-communist transition.

Texts for discussion:

  • Hann, Ch., C. Humphrey, K. Verdery, Introduction: Postsocialism as a Topic of Anthropological Investigation (Chris Hann – Farewell to the socialist ‘other’; Caroline Humphrey – Does the category ‘postsocialist’ still make sense?; Katherine Verdery – Whither postsocialism?). In: Hann, Ch. M., ed., Postsocialism: Ideals, Ideologies and Practices in Eurasia. London and New York, 2002, 1-30.
  • Kennedy, M. D., Introduction: Cultural Formations of Postcommunism. In: Kennedy, M. D. Cultural Formations of Postcommunism. Emancipation, Transition, Nation, and War. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press, 2002, 1-43.

Additional readings:

  • Barany, Z., I. Volgyes, eds. The Legacies of Communism in Eastern Europe, Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.
  • Berdahl, D., Where the World Ended. Re-Unification and Identity in the German Borderland. University of California Press, 1999.
  • Berdahl, D., M. Bunzl, M. Lampland, eds., Altering States: Ethnographies of Transition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, Ann Arbor, MI, 2000.
  • Bridger, S., F. Pine, eds., Surviving Post-socialism: Local Strategies and Regional Responses in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, London: Routledge, 1998.
  • Kovács, J., ed., Transition to Capitalism? The Communist Legacy in Eastern Europe, New Brunswick NJ, Transaction, 1994.
  • Verdery, K., What Was Socialism and What Comes Next, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.