JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Russian and Eastern European Politics"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Federigo Argentieri
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:05-4:25 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 223
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

This course presents an overview of the main cultural, religious, historical, political and socio-economic developments in the Central and Eastern parts of Europe. Topics discussed will include the concept of 'Three Europes', religious identities and cleavages, the legacy of empires and interwar nation-states, the impact of two totalitarian regimes on the region, transition to democracy, relations with NATO, the EU and other countries.
The geographic dimension: does Eastern Europe have natural boundaries? Are they the only criterion of identification?
The religious heritage and the main differences between Western and Eastern Christianity
The linguistic dimension and its cultural implications
Disappearance of medieval nation-states and surge of multi-ethnic Empires
20th century tragedies, between Hitler and Stalin
Patterns of communist collapse
21st century: the weight of the past and perspectives for the future
Present-day Central and Eastern European states and their main issues and policies, with an emphasis on the Ukraine-Russia conflict
Students are expected to become capable of understanding the complexity and identifying the main issues, debates, problems pertaining to the East European region, particularly with regards to the new political trends in Hungary and Poland and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia; to describe leading politicians and key events past and present; to assess relations with the EU and Russia; to understand and explain the most important challenges facing it, today and in the near (predictable) future.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Sources of Russia's Great Power PoliticsTaras Kuzio & Paul D'AnieriE-International Relations Publishing978-1-910814-39-0 Ebook ISBN 978-1-910814-40-6
We Need To Talk About PutinMark GaleottiPenguin9781529103595  
Central & East European Politics - From Communism to Democracy 4th EditionWolchik-Curry (Eds.)Rowman & Littlefield9781538100882 Ebook ISBN 9781538100899

five short papersPart one: format Length: 2 pages (unless otherwise specified), printed on front and back of the same sheet. Single spaced. Font: Times New Roman size 12 No title needed, just student’s name, class and number of paper on top left corner. Errors in formatting the paper will result in grade docking Part two: content Failure to use the assigned sources will result in serious docking of the paper. In the case of one or more textbook chapters, the important parts of these must be regularly referred to in parenthesis. It is important to understand the difference between “executive summary” and “analytical overview”: at no time you will be requested to provide the former. “Analytical overview” emphasizes your judgement of what is important and worth highlighting in a text, as opposed to a mere synthesis of the author’s intentions and interpretations. Part three: citations. Please use MLA, i.e. parenthesis references and ONLY when quoting verbatim Part four: style All students should make an appointment with the writing center at the intermediate or final stage of their paper in order to check on their good writing, no exception. Failure to receive feedback of at least one successful appointment with the writing center will result in grade docking Part five: deadlines must be met to the letter. If sick or other major impediment, you need to email me before the deadline, or grade will be docked Also, please read carefully below Undergrad Paper Writing Decalogue Five dos and five don’ts to submit a successful paper 1) Follow the instructions scrupulously, particularly regarding sources, style, length, etc. 2) Save trees: print on front and back, avoid unnecessary cover sheets or redundant bibliographies when all your sources have already been listed e.g. in footnotes 3) Make sure to indicate your name, the course code, semester and title on top left corner of front page and to number all subsequent pages. In case of multiple sheets, staple the paper at that corner avoiding plastic envelopes or binders, which make the reading complicated 4) Assess honestly your acquaintance with correct citing methods and procedures; do consult manuals (Chicago MS, MLA, etc.), handbooks, librarians or the writing center when in doubt; double-check with them even if you are certain about how to cite properly 5) Be loyal to yourself, to the teacher and to the entire school community and make the paper a result of your own efforts only 6) Don’t have others write your paper and don’t write a paper for others: it’s the vilest form of cheating 7) Don’t “recycle papers”, i.e. submit papers that you or others already presented in other classes: it’s morally an equivalent of the above 8) Don’t rely on no matter which sources and remember that most online materials are totally random, unchecked and not properly peer-reviewed, starting from Wikipedia, which makes them very likely to be inaccurate in all or in part 9) Don’t hesitate to consult the instructor, the writing lab or the library when in doubt about how to quote without committing plagiarism 10) Don’t refrain from expressing your views if you feel like, even when not specifically encouraged to do so, and remember that they come out more effectively through a proper handling and presentation of sources rather than as a result of mere and unsupported assertions 75%
Attendance and participationSee below25%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that req
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory and absences justified only by sickness or major emergencies. Attendance of optional events such as film screenings or school-wide lectures can help round up scores.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


SessionSession FocusReading AssignmentOther AssignmentMeeting Place/Exam Dates
Sep. 22-24    
Sep. 29-Oct.1    
Oct. 6-8    
Oct. 9-13    
Oct. 15-16    
Oct. 20-22    
Oct. 27-29    
Nov. 3-5    
Nov. 10-12    
Nov. 13-17    
Nov. 19-24    
Dec. 1-3-10