Socialist Intermediaries: The Institutions and Practice of Transnational Communism

This course proposes that Eastern European history and Soviet history can be brought into productive comparison by embracing a transnational lens, allowing students and researchers to view their subjects as branches on a common socialist tree rather than merely side-by-side phenomena or solely through an imperial frame. This course understands socialism as more than just a type of governance but an inherently transnational phenomenon – a distinctive type of society – with explicitly expansionist goals and a border-crossing orientation. The transmission of ideas, technology, and culture did not occur on its own, however, but relied on the training and dissemination of experts, mediators and intermediaries who held aloft and spread this socialist governance and civilization. 

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Political Radicalism in Global Perspective

The course explores, from an interdisciplinary perspective, social mechanisms of political radicalism since the French Revolution. Lectures will introduce different interdisciplinary perspectives, employing approaches from the fields of social and intellectual history, social anthropology, sociology, and political science. The topics addressed include social origins, contexts, ideologies, leaderships, mobilization, policies, class composition, electoral results etc. The main aim of the course is to generate a balanced, global, and historical view of phases and paradigms of radicalization in the modern world beyond ‘the moral panic’ in which radicalisation is commonly treated these days.

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