Cultural History of Communism CEES5081

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will provide the students with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the cultural history of East Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. Drawing on text, visual art and urban history, the course will embed cultural and aesthetic developments in the broader intellectual movements in the period between 1945 and 1991, with glimpses into the contemporary understandings and representations of communism. 


Classes will be in the form of weekly 2-hour seminars in Semester 2.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Students will be required

to produce a written assignment that analyses a work of art (text, film etc) in its intellectual historical context-- 1,000 words (25%)

to write 3,500 words essay, based on a list of essay questions provided  (65%)

to give a presentation on the assignment on the work of art  (10%)

Course Aims

The course in designed to appeal to students interested in cultural and historical studies pertaining to East Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The course aims to

■ enable the students to examine the complex relations between international intellectual trends and their reception in the region, 

■ familiarise the students with the diverse and often interlinked art forms in the region,

■ familiarise the students with the role and modes of intellectual resistance and the role of diverse social groups in the construction of an alternative public sphere,

■ enable the students to understand the complex relationship between communist cultural production and the reproduction of the period in contemporary art.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ critically assess the role of arts and culture in the development of communism,

■ understand and analyse complex theoretical notions concerning the cultural production of art,

■ assess socialist realism, dissident culture and protest culture during state socialism,

■ obtain a wide knowledge of diverse forms of cultural expressions in the region, 

■ produce and present commentary and analysis on artistic manifestations from the region across a range of genres,

■ understand how communism is depicted in contemporary art forms.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

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