The major in Central European studies combines background in relevant languages (Russian plus either German or Polish, or more intensive study of Russian) with course work in international relations and the history, culture and politics of the region.
No longer an imperial backwater, Central Europe has risen from its Cold War stasis to become one of the world’s most dynamic and important regions. Stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Balkan Peninsula, and from the Eastern lands of Germany to the Western regions of Russia, this onetime great-power battleground is now a vital trade and energy corridor, a mosaic of languages and cultures, a place of both successful state-building and persistent ethnic frictions, and a promising but still-precarious bridge between the former Soviet Union and the West. Central Europe rivals the Far East and Southwest Asia as one of the world’s most strategically important regions — now, and over the coming decades. Those who master its history and politics, its economic, cultural and linguistic diversity, will be well positioned for fellowships, graduate work, business or analytical careers centered on this fascinating region.
The objectives of this interdisciplinary major are to provide students with: 1) the historical background and linguistic-cultural skills necessary for in-depth study of Central Europe; 2) knowledge of its main post-Cold War political, ethnic, and economic trends; and 3) understanding of current issues from nationalism and immigration to trade, military-diplomatic and alliance politics.
The fundamental linguistic background of the major is Russian (12 units).