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Mary Neuburger, Director BUR 452, 2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3607

Course Descriptions

REE 301 • Intro Rus/E Eur/Eurasian Stds

45185 • Pesenson, Michael
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm UTC 3.102
(also listed as HIS 306N)
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Introduction to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe through each of the major disciplines represented in the program: language, literature, anthropology, geography, history, government, sociology, and economics. Core course required for a degree in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. May not be used to fulfill the foreign language requirement for any Bachelor’s degree.


  1. Slavenka Drakulic, 2005, They Would Never Hurt a Fly, Penguin
  2. Heda Kovaly, 1997, Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague, 1941-1968. New York: Holmes and Meier
  3. Brigid Pastulka, 2009, A Long Time Ago and Essentially True, Boston, New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  4. Bella Bychkova Jordan and Terry G Jordan-Bychkov, 2001, Siberian Village: Land and
  5. Life in the Sakha Republic, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  6. Additional readings might be recommended for individual lectures.

Requirements and Grading:

  • Attendance 10%
  • Participation in lectures 10%
  • Participation in book discussions 10%
  • Book quizzes 40% (each)

REE 302 • Intro To Czech Hist/Culture

45187 • Hopkins, Mark
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm JGB 2.202
(also listed as CZ 301K, EUS 307)
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Intro To Czech Hist/Culture: Puppets, Pubs, and Polyglots

An introduction to Czech culture from 870 to the present. The first half of the course will begin with the ninth century Premyslid dynasty and Czech legends and will chronicle critical moments in the historical evolution of Czech culture up to the 19th-century Czech National Revival. The second half of the course will focus on the 20th and 21st centuries and will conclude with a field trip tour of a local brewery.


  • Alois Jirasek, Old Czech Legends
  • Jan Neruda, Prague Tales
  • Jaroslav Hasek, The Good Soldier Svejk
  • Vaclav Havel, Disturbing the Peace
  • Bazant, Bazantova, Starn, The Czech Reader: History, Culture, Politics
  • Hugh Agnew, The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown

Requirements and Grading

  • 2 Exams  50%
  • Short Paper  10%
  • Final Paper  20%
  • Attendance and Participation  20%

REE 325 • Russian Food Ways

45190 • Potoplyak, Marina
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am BUR 228
(also listed as RUS 330)
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Explores the history and practice of food production and consumption in Russia and the former Soviet Union from historical, literary, and cultural points of view.  Using the methodology of food history, we will explore the restrictions, beliefs, etiquette, and taboos surrounding food and drink in Tsarist and Soviet Russia.  From Orthodox Church-mandated dietary restrictions and fasting through the Soviet cult of nutritious and abundant food to “deficit”-driven inventive dishes of the Perestroika period, the history of Russian food reflects the vicissitudes of political, social, economic, and even spiritual life.  Through a variety of historical and literary texts, we will explore the rich cultural context of Russian food and drinks and their role as an integral part of Russian national identity.

REE 335 • Criminal Punishment In Russia

Meets M 300pm-600pm BUR 228
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Criminal Punishment in Russia

This course examines broadly the theories of criminal responsibility from a legal perspective, and the application of criminal punishment in Russia in the Imperial, Soviet and modern eras. Specific cases will be discussed and analyzed, but prior legal knowledge by students is neither required nor expected.

REE 335 • Germany In 20th Cen-Honors

45215 • Crew, David
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as HIS 337N, LAH 350)
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Course carries three flags: WR, GC, and EL.

Even from our vantage point at the end of this century, the Nazi period is still one of the most dramatic and destructive episodes in western European, indeed, in world history.  Nazism is synonymous with terror, concentration camps and mass murder.  Hitler’s war claimed the lives of tens of millions and left Europe in complete ruins.  The Nazis have therefore given twentieth-century germany a world-historical significane it would otherwise have lacked.  Whether we are looking at the Bismarckian, the Wilhelmine, or the Weimar periods, the central question -- the ‘German Problem’, as it has been termed -- is the same:  why was Germany unable to establish a viable, liberal-democratic and parliamentary society which would have prevented the triumph of Nazism?  The danger here resides in the temptation to view all of German history from about 1871 onwards as merely the pre-history of Nazism, thereby failing to deal with each period on its own terms.  And what about the years after 1945?  With the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, german history appears to have experienced a radical break.  The hostilities of the Cold War appeared to ensure a permanent division of Germany.  But in the last few years, the dramatic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have revolutionized East Germany as well.  The Berlin Wall is down, East and West Germany are once again joined together in one nation.  Economic crisis, unemployment, waves of violence and dramatic changes in immigration policy have begun to conjure up the ghosts of the Nazi past.  Even if Germany’s post-war democratic order is not fundamentally threatened, it is still clear that Germany has already begun to follow a quite different path than the one laid out for it after 1945.  Has the nature of the ‘German Problem’ changed fundamentally since 1945, or do recent events suggest that the old questions may once again be relevant?

Mary Fullbrook,The Divided Nation; Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front; Richard Bessel(ed), Life in the Third Reich; Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, Peter Schneider, The Wall Jumper

This course combines lectures and discussions of secondary readings as well as original historical documents(short selections) and contemporary visual materials such as photographs, newsreels, propaganda and election posters. The course assignments are designed to allow you to think and write about each of these different ways of gaining access to the German past.

There will be no formal mid-term or final exam. The writing requirements are:

(1)Two longer essay assignments (each 6-8 pages typewritten, each worth 30% of your final grade) which ask you to think critically about some of the major issues in twentieth century Germanhistory. The first assignment will deal with the period up to 1939. The second will focus on the period from 1939 to the present. Essay 1 will be due in mid-October. Essay 2 is due no later than the official exam date for this course.

(2)In addition to these two longer essay assignments, you will be asked to write one shorter essay (4-5 pages typewritten-worth 20% of the final grade) on any one of the books by Remarque, Bessel, Levi, or Schneider. This is not a book report. I will hand out specific questions on each of these books which you need to answer in your essays.

(3)Finally, you will be asked to write two  short (2-3 page) analyses of  visual evidence(photographs, propaganda, election posters, etc.) that I will include among the class materials, or  internet sites on twentieth century Germany that you yourself have found(each of these 2 assignments is worth 10% of the final grade).

REE 335 • World War II Eastern Europe

45218 • Lichtenstein, Tatjana
Meets W 300pm-600pm PAR 306
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 350L, J S 364)
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In Eastern Europe, the Second World War was, as the Czech Jewish woman Heda Margolius-Kovaly remarked, “a war no one had quite survived.”  Wedged between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Empire, Eastern Europe was the site of unprecedented human and material destruction in the years between 1938 and 1948.  As the staging ground for Hitler’s vision for a new racial order in Europe, the region was devastated by genocide and ethnic cleansing, programs of economic and social exploitation, and warfare.  Using a wide variety of sources, this course will examine the war in Eastern Europe with a particular emphasis on occupation, collaboration, and resistance; the Holocaust; and the connection between ethnic cleansing, population transfer, and the establishment of Communism in postwar Eastern Europe.     


  • Alan Adelson, ed., The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak: Five Notebooks from the ?ód? Ghetto (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • Lee Baker, The Second World War on the Eastern Front (New York: Pearson Longman, 2009)
  • Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen (New York: Penguin Classics, 1976)
  • Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: Harper Perennial, 1998)
  • Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)
  • Optional:Karel C. Berhoff, Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004)
  • Electronic Readings:  Material marked with * are available on-line through the course website (under Course Documents).


  • 25%: Participation (incl. final 3 page reflection essay)
  • 5%: Map Quiz      
  • 5%: Weekly Questions and In-Class Writing
  • 10% Document Analysis (2-3 pages)
  • 15%: Essay 1 (3-4 peer reviewed/rewriting)
  • 20%: Essay 2 (6-7 pages peer reviewed/rewriting)    
  • 20%: Essay 3 (6-7 pages)

REE 335 • Jews Of Eastern Europe

45219 • Lichtenstein, Tatjana
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 306
(also listed as HIS 362G, J S 364, R S 357)
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This course explores the history and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe.  Focusing on the Jewish societies in the Russian and Austrian Empires, the course seeks to map the Jewish experience from the late 1700s until the first decades of twentieth century through topics such as secularization, urbanization, migration, antisemitism, political movements, and war.  We study the destruction of the Jewish societies in Eastern Europe during the Holocaust as well as Jewish memory and renewal in Eastern Europe since the end of Communism.

Course Goals

  • Examine the cultures of Jews in Eastern Europe as well as the historical forces that transformed these societies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • Explore a variety of primary source materials and discuss their use as historical evidence
  • Write analytical, thesis-driven essays based on close reading of the course materials

Required Course Books

  • Zvi Gitelman, A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2001).
  • Henryk Grynberg, The Jewish War and The Victory (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2001).
  • Eva Hoffman, Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews (New York: Public Affairs, 2007).
  • Israel J. Singer, The Brothers Ashkenazi (Orig. 1936, New York: Other Press, 2010).
  • Electronic Readings: The YIVO Encyclopedia of the Jews of Eastern Europe.  The YIVO Encyclopediacan be accessed using this link:

Assignments and Grading

  • 10%: Attendance and Participation
  • 10%: Article Response
  • 20%: Midterm
  • 25%: Essay
  • 35%: Take-Home Final Exam

REE 345 • Regions & Cultures Of Europe

45220 • Jordan, Bella B.
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm BUR 220
(also listed as EUS 346, GRG 326)
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A systematic introduction to geography of all regions of Europe, from Iceland to Sicily and European Russia and Finland to Bretagne and Galicia. The course is based on a renowned textbook by Alexander B. Murphy, Terry G. Jordan-Bychkob and Bella Bychkova Jordan and focuses on all the major aspects of the European makeup: its physical, economics, political, and cultural geography, geolinguistics and environmental issues. Special attention is given to such issues as expansion of the European Union and NATO, problems associated with immigration and ethnic tensions, challenges of multiculturalism and intergration. A significant portion of the class is dedicated to the analysis of the evolution of the European civilization during the last two millennia and resulting geographical patterns in modern Europe.

Requirements and Grading:

The grade is based on 3 exams

REE 345 • Northern Lands And Cultures

45225 • Jordan, Bella B.
Meets MW 400pm-530pm BUR 130
(also listed as EUS 346, GRG 356T)
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Designed to develop a geographical understanding of the Circumpolar region of the North, an ancient human habitat and a home to distinct, millenia old, civilizations. These indigenous Arctic cultures and livelihoods are being constantly challenged by modern industrial powers, and the clash between two contesting realities is profound. Emphasis is given to a historical geographical perspective on the major processes forming cultural and natural landscapes (including global warming), and influence society, economy, spiritual life and politics. Regions include: Alaska, the Canadian northern territories, Scandinavian North, including Sapmi (Lapland), Iceland, Greenland, the Russian North, and Siberia.

Requirements and Grading

The final grade for the course is based on 3 exams

REE 379C • Conference Course

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Prerequisite: Consent of the undergraduate adviser in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies.

Hour(s) to be arranged. Restricted enrollment; contact the department for permission to register for this class. May be repeated for credit.

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