Bible paper by Dave Bullock CC BY 2.0

Teachers: Jouni Järvinen, D.Soc.Sc, Aleksanteri Institute, Director of Educational Programmes ECEBB & Marina Vulovic, M.A., Doctoral Candidate, Doct. Prog. in Pol., Soc. and Reg. Change, University of Helsinki & other teachers

The course is open for all University of Helsinki degree and exchange students. The course is especially suitable for MA students and advanced BA students.

Please note that the deadline for registration has been extended until 31st August!

NB 1: Teaching programme might be subject to changes and additions, so please check course-specific information before the start of the course.
NB 2: Registration is binding. In case you cannot participate, please cancel your participation in WebOodi. After end of registration time, contact the planning officer (see contact information below) for cancellation.
NB 3: We can take maximum 20 students on this course.

Learning outcomes:
Upon course completion, students will have acquired a sound understanding of the main themes in literature on transition and post-communist transformation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), especially in regard to different actors and institutions. Students will also gain thorough knowledge of the diverging transformation paths in different CEE countries and will be able to engage critically with the course content in class discussions, oral presentations and written work.

Course outline:
This course deals with the politics of transition and post-communist transformation in CEE from a theoretical and case-study angle, showing the different transformation trajectories of the region's countries. The themes of the course range from the dynamics of the collapse of communism and its legacies, EU integration and conditionality, nation and state-building, institutional transition and backsliding, the role of actors, such as political elites and civil society. The case studies will cover a range of CEE countries, and place a particular emphasis on institutional transformation and the agency of political elites and civil society in navigating and steering transformation.

Course focus topics:
1. Introduction
2. Democracy (crisis of democracy, democratic backsliding, populism etc.) – Responsible teacher: Marina Vulovic
3. EU-integration (possibly comparing transformation of already integrated countries to those that are to be integrated – Western Balkans), accession fatigue, economic transition etc. – Responsible teacher: TBC
4. Civil society/public sphere, its role in transformation in the region (democracy building and institutional actors in settings of limited statehood etc.) – Responsible teacher: Jouni Järvinen
5. Media transformation (uses and misuses of the media in authoritarian regimes, for nation-building, freedom of media in the region etc.) – Responsible teacher: TBC
6. Political elites and hybrid regimes (tying it to first lecture on populism and democracy for instance), political parties etc. – Responsible teacher: TBC
7. Frozen conflict and “failed/weak” states (tying it to theory on limited statehood) – Kosovo, Transnistria, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Responsible teachers: TBC

Preliminary readings:
All teachers are responsible for suggesting readings for their own focus topics.
- S. L. Wolchik, & J. Leftwich Curry (2014), Central and East European Politics: From Communism to Democracy. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 3rd ed.
- R. Anderson et al. (2001), Postcommunism and the Theory of Democracy, Princeton University Press.
- E. Arolda (2013), European integration and transformation in the Western Balkans: Europeanization or business as usual? Routledge.
- A. Grzymala-Busse (2007), Rebuilding Leviathan. Party Competition and State Exploitation in Post-Communist Democracies, Cambridge University Press.
- F. Schimmelfennig and U. Sedelmeier (2005), The Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe, Cornell University Press.
- P. Vandor et. al. (2017), Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Challenges and Opportunities, ERSTE Foundation.

Background reading:
You can take a look at the following book in case you are not familiar with the course topic:
S. L. Wolchik, & J. Leftwich Curry (2014), Central and East European Politics: From Communism to Democracy. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 3rd ed. (Available as e-book through the University of Helsinki library:

Class discussion, oral presentation and final essay

Realisation and working methods :
The course will consist of 7 sessions in total, held once per weak, in order to give students enough time to complete the course readings and prepare for discussion and presentation in class. Each session will start with a lecture part of approx. 15 minutes by the lecturers, in order to introduce the topics. Students will be expected to discuss in class and engage critically with the literature (20% of the final grade). They will also be expected to present in class on a topic of their interest tied to the subject of the particular session, either in groups or individually, depending on the size of the group (30% of the final grade). The course will be completed with a final essay, either tied to the topic of the student presentation or generally related to the course content (50% of the final grade).

Reading and other eventual material will be posted to Moodle. ECEBB Planning Officer will send instructions how to log in for those who have registered to the course. NB: Moodle instructions will be sent to your University of Helsinki email address (

Course can be also accepted as:
• ALKU-E313, ALKU-E319, ALKU-E320
• ExpREES optional studies
• ENS-515, ENS-525, ENS-H300, ENS-S300 specialization courses
• In case you wish to transfer the credit to some other study unit please contact the teacher responsible for the study unit / module or BA/MA programme

Other information:
This course is organised by the Aleksanteri Institute East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies (ECEBB). You can specialize in ECEBB in Bachelor’s Programme in Cultural Studies and the Master’s Programme in Area and Cultural Studies. ECEBB can also be taken as two study modules, ECEBB I (KUKA-IK500, 30 ECTS) and ECEBB II (ALKU-IK530, 15 ECTS).

Contact person: ECEBB Planning Officer minna.oroza at

14.8.2018 klo 09:00 - 31.8.2018 klo 23:59
Kirjaudu sisään nähdäksesi Moodlen kurssiavaimen.


Tästä osiosta löydät kurssin opetusaikataulun. Tarkista mahdolliset muut aikataulut kuvauksesta.

Ti 4.9.2018
10:15 - 11:45
Ti 11.9.2018
10:15 - 11:45
Ti 18.9.2018
10:15 - 11:45
Ti 25.9.2018
10:15 - 11:45
Ti 2.10.2018
10:15 - 11:45
Ti 9.10.2018
10:15 - 11:45
Ti 16.10.2018
10:15 - 11:45


Opintojakso on pakollinen Itäisen Keski-Euroopan, Balkanin ja Baltian tutkimuksen opintokokonaisuus 2 suorittajille.

Itäisen Keski-Euroopan, Balkanin ja Baltian tutkimuksen opintokokonaisuus 1.

Opintojaksoon sisällytettävät opinnot (esim. luentokurssin) kehittävät opiskelijan asiantuntemuksen syventämistä ja laajentamista sekä alueellista erikoistumista. Opintojakso voi tukea myös opiskelijan pro gradu -tutkielman kirjoittamista.

Järjestetään lukuvuosittain

Opintojakson sisältö määräytyy kurssikohtaisesti.

Opintojaksossa käytettävä kirjallisuus määräytyy suoritettavan kurssin mukaan.

Opetusmenetelmät ja aktiviteetit määräytyvät kurssikohtaisesti. Palaute kerätään systemaattisesti.

Opintojakso arvostellaan asteikolla 0-5. Opintojakson arvosana määräytyy suoritustavan (esim. luentokurssi) mukaisesti määriteltyjen tehtävien, aktiivisuuden ja muiden suoritusvaatimusten perusteella. Arviointimenetelmät ovat kiinteässä yhteydessä osaamistavoitteisiin ja opintojakson opetusmenetelmiin.

Opintojaksoon soveltuva luentokurssi, johon sisältyy kirjallisuutta ja kurssin mukaan sovellettuja tehtäviä. Vaihtoehtoisesta suoritustavasta esim. kirjallisuuskuulustelusta tai esseestä sovitaan opintojakson vastuuopettajan kanssa. ENS-maisteriohjelman ja EU-opintokokonaisuuden opiskelijat voivat suorittaa opintojakson vain luentokurssilla.