Fall 2019 Courses
EURO-UA 950 Contemporary Europe
Seminar | 4 credits
Hadas Aron | Wed, 10:00-12:00
KJCC, Room 324
Please note: This is a required course for all CEMS majors.
The course examines the liberal order in Europe that was formed after WWII, its institutional design, the challenges it has been facing, and the implications of the liberal order for politics, society, and culture in Europe. The first part of the course reviews the social, economic, and security concerns Europe faced in 1945, and the institutions that were constructed to respond to these concerns. We will also explore the Cold War and its consequences for the politics, and the realities of people throughout Europe. The second part of the course explores the integration of Europe into a social, economic, and identity community, and the expansion of European institutions and identity first to Southern Europe and then to the former Soviet Bloc. The third part of the course addresses the current "Crisis of Europe" from the 2008 financial crisis through the surge of refugee migration and the rise of populism. We will ask whether and to what extent the current crisis threatens the system formed after 1945.
The course is interdisciplinary in nature. To explore political change and continuity in contemporary Europe we will combine theories from international relations, political science, sociology, and economics, as well as readings of historical primary and secondary resources. In addition to scholarly literature we will use contemporary media outlets, cultural resources and video, when available.
EURO-UA 982 History of Postwar German Politics
Seminar | 4 points
Christian Martin | Thu, 10:00-12:00
KJCC, Rm 324
This class introduces students to the political history of Germany after World War II. We will focus on politically, socially and economically relevant episodes of post-War German history and connect them to the state of contemporary Germany. We will discuss structural determinant of the German position in Europe and in the world as well as more short-term developments like the rise of the far-right AfD.
EURO-UA 983.001 The State in History
Seminar | 4 points
Peter Baldwin | Mon, 4:00-6:00
KJCC, Rm 324
From before your birth until long after your death, the state dominates your life: 24/7/365. Your parents’ willingness to conceive you was likely influenced by tax breaks or social benefits it promised. Your birth was shepherded by state-trained personnel and promptly attended by official registration. Your name was likely chosen in accord with its rules, and every other means of identification you must have is its. Postmortem, your children will inherit the fruits of your efforts according to its rules. Inbetween, you will spend scarcely a minute outside its orbit. You will be prodded, poked, vaccinated, inspected, tested, certified, autopsied, and buried as it sees fit. What you learn, how you are trained, by whom and where – it shapes all. You inhabit and are surrounded by structures built to its specifications. Whether nature exists for your enjoyment is largely its decision. How you commute to work, where you can travel, it decides. Everything you eat it vets – even whether you’re allowed to consume what hasn’t been through its inspections, like unpasteurized cheese or game. Relations to your fellow citizens it regulates: whether you marry, adopt, attack, annoy, libel, sue, or report them.
Today, it is all-powerful, omnipresent, ubiquitous. But it wasn’t always that way. The state too has a history. It emerged for the first time some five thousand years ago, in the Middle East, supplanting the tribes, clans, and chiefdoms that were humanity’s first attempts to organize ourselves. It has grown fitfully ever since. After the fall of the Roman empire, it collapsed in Europe and had to be rebuilt starting in the late middle ages. The absolutist monarchies of the 17C then trumpeted the king’s power in all its glory. Hegel thought the 19C state – regular, bureaucratic, modern – was the pinnacle of its development. The totalitarian dictatorships – fascist and communist – of the 20C unleased more raw, savage state power than ever before, combining autocratic decision-making with modern technology. Our own era has tried to curb the state – whether as neoliberalism from the right, or through an emphasis on civil rights from the left.
Nonetheless, the state is arguably more powerful than ever before. A strong state can also be subtle. Rather than rattling sabers and cages, the modern state insinuates itself into our psyches, reshapes our habits, and socializes us into the behavior contemporary society requires. Besides its uniformed forces, and similar overt power, the modern state has many other means to make us toe the line. Like gravity, the state is omnipresent, all-powerful – and often invisible. It influences our lives in countless way, some self-evident, many hardly registered. It is the single largest, most ubiquitous, most powerful thing in history. It knows all about you. Shouldn’t you know about it?