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Unit information: Communism in Europe in 2021/22

Unit name Communism in Europe
Unit code MODL30001
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Allinson
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

At the end of the Second World War, Europe gradually became divided between West and East as Communist regimes emerged in Central and Eastern Europe, orchestrated by Stalin’s Soviet Union. In this co-taught unit, combining political, social and cultural history, we shall explore through comparative study how these regimes took and maintained power, the new society they aspired to create, the actual experience of life under them, the nature of opposition to them, the circumstances of their eventual collapse and how they are remembered now. The unit is recommended to anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of twentieth-century European political history, the Cold War, Communism in practice, the Soviet brand of so-called totalitarianism, imperialism and colonialism, the rise and fall of idealism and ideology and aspects of everyday life under dictatorship, from internal oppression to popular culture. The unit aims to challenge key preconceptions, examining the differences between various countries’ experience of state Socialism and rethinking still dominant Cold War myths. All primary material will be studied in English.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. a deep historical knowledge of the complexities of communist rule, culture and society in postwar eastern Europe;
  2. advanced skills in historical and textual analysis;
  3. the ability to set individual issues and countries comparatively within their longer-term and broader context;
  4. independent ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate arguments;
  5. the ability to identify particular academic interpretations, evaluate them critically and form an individual viewpoint;
  6. advanced writing and research skills, appropriate to level H.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

There will also be an opportunity to complete several short formative assignments (approximately 1000 words in total) during the term to help you prepare for the summative assessments.

Assessment Information

1 x 1000-word commentary (40%) Testing ILOs 1-6

1 x 3000-word essay (60%) Testing ILOs 1-6

Formative assessment where completion is required to award credit: participation in the preparation and delivery of a group presentation. Testing ILOs 3, 4, 5


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MODL30001).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.