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Unit information: Communist Worlds (Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Communist Worlds (Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HISTM0044
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Richard Jobson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

From the Russian revolution in 1917 to the collapse of communist regimes after 1989, communism represented one of the most significant and defining ideologies of the twentieth century. Yet, what did it mean to be a communist? Is it fair to speak of a single, monolithic and totalitarian ‘Communism’ or were communist identities multiple and adaptable to different contexts and personal experiences? Is an analysis of communism as a criminal ideology akin to Nazism sufficient to understand why the communist ‘faith’ held such appeal for so many men and women across the twentieth century? These are just some of the possible questions students will be engaging with in the course of this unit, as communist politics, society and culture are explored in a variety of contexts in Eastern and Western Europe across the period of its existence.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1) To give students a thorough understanding of the development of communist ideology, politics and culture in the twentieth century.

2) To improve students’ ability to argue effectively and at length (including an ability to cope with complexities and to describe and deploy these effectively).

3) To be able to display high level skills in selecting, applying, interpreting and organising information, including evidence of a high level of bibliographical control.

4) To develop the ability of students to evaluate and/or challenge current scholarly thinking.

5) To foster student’s capacity to take a critical stance towards scholarly processes involved in arriving at historical knowledge and/or relevant secondary literature.

6) To be able to demonstrate an understanding of concepts and an ability to conceptualise.

7) To develop students’ capacity for independent research.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Information

One summative coursework essay of 5000 words (100%). This will assess ILOs 1-7.

Reading and References

Archie Brown, The Rise and Fall of Communism (2009).

Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe (2002).

Josie McLellan, Love in the Time of Communism (2011).

Robert Service, Comrades!: Communism a World History (2007).

Eric Weitz, Creating German Communism (1997).

Tim Rees and Andrew Thorpe, International Communism and the Communist International (1998).