CEES 1B: Communism and its Collapse CEES1016

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the fate of communist central and eastern Europe after the death of Stalin. It considers the reaction against Stalin's policies, the attempts at reform and communism "with a human face" and the gradual re-assertion of national and cultural challenges which the communist system could not absorb.


Three one hour lectures (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) and a one hour tutorial weekly. 

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Essay (50%) 

Exam (40%)

Tutorial performance (10%)

Tutorial performance is assessed according to a set of criteria (attendance, prep, understanding, participation and

argument) full details located in course handbook.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The course aims to provide the student with:


■ knowledge of the importance of the region to European development in the second half of the twentieth century;

■ knowledge of the impact of geography on regional development in the second half of the twentieth century;

■ knowledge of the complexity of the various ethnic groups of the region and be able to differentiate between these;

■ knowledge of the historical development of Russia and Central Europe in the second half of the twentieth century;

■ knowledge of the importance of cultural development, the position of various socio-cultural groups and the politics of gender in the region in the second half of the twentieth century;

■ the ability to distinguish between the processes of Stalinisation and 'communisation' in the region;

■ knowledge of the impact of communism in its economic, social and political forms in the region and an ability to differentiate between the experiences of various countries;

■ an appreciation of the relationship between ideology, policy and social processes in the Soviet Union and Central and East Europe.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ analyse the political, social and economic heritage of the region in the second half of the twentieth century with a view to understanding the particular nature of systemic change and development; 

■ analyse the cultural heritage of the region with a view to being able to demonstrate the comparative skills necessary for cross cultural analysis;

■ analyse the various theories of communist development and be able to compare states and societies, bringing out differences of ethnicity, gender and identity;

■ use statistical material and comparative analysis focusing on key economic and social variables with a view to comprehending the reality of regional development under communism;

■ engage with the official discourse of the communist era and extract from it information relevant to the needs of social scientists.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

For credit, students must achieve at least grade D3.

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.