This lecture course lays the foundations of this interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program via a lecture series offered on key topics involved in the study of Central Europe as a region and as an intellectual construct. Covering its physical and human geographies, historical development and present understanding, it will engage with notions such as backwardness, belatedness, integration, or fragmentation that are customarily used to characterize Central Europe but seldom taken under critical review. The course – just like the entire program – does not essentialize Central Europe on the grounds of supposedly endogenous, distinctive features that make it unique and incomparable. Instead, Central Europe and its experience, seemingly marginal in common perception, will be investigated as a lens and a prism through which problems of wider relevance and implications can be fruitfully studied.
The learning outcomes of this course are delivered at two levels. In the more abstract sense, students will be familiarized with the problem and the heuristic value of regionalization in the social sciences and the humanities. In more specific terms, they will acquire an interdisciplinary perspective on Central and Eastern Europe both as a distinct (symbolic as well as geographic) region and as a lens through with key issues in history, political science, economics, environmental science, heritage studies and related fields can be fruitfully studied.
Assessment is based on an “open book” final examination. The exam will last 120 minutes and is intended to assess not the lexical knowledge of students but their ability to apply their analytical skills to questions and texts explored during the course. The assignments will be designed in a way that compels students to demonstrate familiarity with several weekly topics as presented in the lectures as well as the readings. They may use their own lecture notes and the course readings, but no other printed or electronic resource.