This project has yielded a number of related classroom activities. For instance, in the Spring of 2007, Dr. Winston Chrislock of the History department provided a lecture to BSU students using video conferencing technology at UST and the American Embassy in Minsk. The favor was returned by Dr. Shadurski in 2008 and 2009 when he lectured, again via video conferencing technology, in several of Dr. Hoffman’s POLS 104 classes. BUS and UST students also collaborated on a joint project in the Fall 2008 Honors class (see below).
In addition to these activities, a number of classes have been developed that take advantage of the evolving expertise found in the department. These include:
In January 2007, Drs. Kemp and Hoffman led a group of 24 students from St. Thomas and a number of other universities on a month-long tour of four Eastern Europe countries, including Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. The course gave students an opportunity to hear from numerous local speakers, including government officials and politicians, journalists and church leaders, reflecting on the tremendous changes that have occurred since 1989 and the variety of responses offered by the both political and civic institutions. Cooperating institutions included John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Ukrainian Catholic University, Belarusian State University, and the University of Vilnius. The course will again be offered in January 2011.
Comparative Politics of the New Europe (January 2007 and 2011):
This Aquinas Honors seminar, again offered by Drs. Kemp and Hoffman, grew directly out of the Eastern Europe study abroad course. The goal of the seminar was to introduce students to the continuing role that nationalism plays in the contemporary world. While some dismiss nationalism as having no rational basis, resting instead on such primitive notions as tribalism, clan, or other pre-modern identities, others treat the idea much more positively, understanding it as a partial source of personal identity or as a legitimate if not necessary focus of loyalty. Many political scientists also see national identity as central to the functioning and operation of the state. The seminar explored the role of nationalism as it affects both the formation of the modern state and the many conflicts that nationalism continues to spawn.
For God and Country: Nations and Nationalism in the Modern World (Fall 2008 and 2009):
This comparative politics course will provide students with a deeper understanding of the history of the Soviet Union and the fifteen post-Soviet states that came from it. While these states share some common history stemming from their Soviet experience, the differences between the successor states are just as interesting, and important, as the similarities. In order to understand these differences, the course examines the geography, history, and governments of Russia, post-Soviet states in Europe, and Central Asia. These states provide us with a deeper understanding of the process and challenges of democracy and development in the 21st Century.
Comparative Politics of Post-Soviet Countries (Fall 2010):