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   Course Title    Totalitarianism
Lecturer    Sergey Cheiketov
Institution    Novosibirsk State University
Country    Russia


Course Description

This is an upper division course that has three purposes: 1) to provide an introductory overview of European history in the first half of the twentieth century, 2) to familiarize students with the methods of comparative history, 3) to provide more in depth analysis of the phenomenon of the totalitarian society: its creation, development and structure.

I will begin with the history of totalitarian projects and the basic differences between open and totalitarian societies. Then I will tighten the focus to the social, economic, political and cultural conditions that existed at the beginning of the twentieth century which brought totalitarian regimes to the power. After that I intend to devote several classes to the detailed study of the structural characteristics of a totalitarian society: the political system, the state economy, the relations between the state and society and the totalitarian culture. By examining the post-Stalin development of the Soviet Union I will show the possible evolution of a totalitarian society. My analysis of a totalitarian society will be built upon the comparison between two typical totalitarian societies: the Soviet Union and fascist Germany. I am going to familiarize students with classic totalitarian theory created by Z. Brzezinski and H. Arendt as well as with the contemporary challenge to this theory produced by so-called "revisionists".

Course Requirements

Attendance at lectures and participation in discussion is essential, but not crucial. There will be one take-home exam at the end of the quarter and a 20-25 page final paper, which require an in depth analysis of the topic chosen by the student. Those students who will be presenting one of the recommended topics during the seminars will be freed from taking the final exam.

Evaluation Criteria

Take home exam or presentation : 30%

Final paper: 50%

Participation in the discussion: 20%

Required Texts:

  • H. Arendt, The origins of totalitarianism, (New York, Meridian Books [1958])

  • C. Friedrich Z Brzezinski, Totalitarian dictatorship and autocracy, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1965)

  • K. Popper, Open society and its enemies, (London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1962

  • Siniavskii, Soviet civilization : a cultural history, (New York : Arcade Publishing, c1990)

  • V. Slapentokh, Public and Private life: changing values in post-Stalin Russia, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989)

Required Fiction Literature:

  • A. Huxley, Brave new world, (New York : Harper & Row, [1990], c1965)

  • G. Orwell, Nineteen eighty-four, (Oxford: Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, [1984])

  • E. Zamiatin, We, (New York, Dutton, [1952])

Week one. Introduction

Introduction into the course, familiarizing students with the required and recommended literature, assigning topics for presentation.

Reading:

  • A. Huxley, Brave new world, (New York : Harper & Row, [1990], c1965)

  • G. Orwell, Nineteen eighty-four, (Oxford: Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, [1984])

  • E. Zamiatin, We, (New York, Dutton, [1952])

Week two. Open Society vs. Totalitarian Society

Topics for presentation:

  • Plato’s Ideal State

  • The Despotic States of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia

Lecture/discussion topics:

Open society vs. Closed society

The main structural components of a Closed society

The Plato’s Ideal State and Oriental despotic states

The factors which may cause the emergence of a closed society

  • I. Diakonov, The paths of history, (Cambridge, U.K. ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1999)

  • J. Kamil, The ancient Egyptians: a popular introduction to life in the Pyramid, (Cairo: The American Univ. in Cairo Press, c1984)

  • L. Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: portrait of a dead civilization, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977)

  • B. Russell, A history of western philosophy, and its connection with political and social circumstances from the earliest times to the present day, (New York, Simon and Schuster [1945])

  • E. Starikov, Obshestvo-Kazarma: ot Faraonov do Nashih Dney (Novosibirsk, 1996)/ Society - Barrack: from Ancient Egypt till Present Times

  • E. Starikov, Faraoni, Gitler I Kolhozi in Znamy, vol. 2, 1991 / Pharaons, Hitler and Kolhozes

Readings:

K. Popper, Open society and its enemies, (London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1962, v. 1, pp. 86-202

Week three. The Origins of Modern Totalitarianism

Lecture/discussion topics:

The development of European societies before World War One

Imperialism as a dominant political doctrine

The rise of nationalism

Modern anti-Semitism

The rise of the mass culture and mass politics

  • B. Anderson, Imagined communities : reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism, (London : Verso, 1983)

  • H. Arendt, The origins of totalitarianism, (New York, Meridian Books [1958])

  • R. Aron, The Industrial Society, (New York, A Clarion Book , 1966)

  • E. Gellner, Nations and nationalism, (Oxford : Blackwell, 1983)

  • E. Nolte, Three faces of fascism; Action Francaise, Italian fascism, National Socialism, (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1965)

  • P. Sorokin, Society, culture, and personality: their structure and dynamics; a system of general sociology, (New York, Cooper Square Publishers, 1962)

  • O. Spengler, The decline of the West, (New York : A. A. Knopf, 1926-28)

Readings:

  • H. Arendt, The origins of totalitarianism, (New York, Meridian Books [1958]); Part two, Imperialism, pp. 123-266

Week four. The World War One and Revolutions

Lecture/discussion topics:

The impact of World War One on European societies

The "era of revolutions"

Totalitarian tendencies in Germany and in Russia: commonalties and differences

  • H. Arendt, The origins of totalitarianism, (New York, Meridian Books [1958])

  • N. Berdiaev, The origin of Russian communism, (Ann Arbor] University of Michigan Press [1960])

  • Kershaw, The "Hitler myth" : image and reality in the Third Reich, (Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York : Oxford University Press, c1987)

  • E. Nolte, Three faces of fascism; Action Francaise, Italian fascism, National Socialism, (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1965)

  • P. Sorokin, Society, culture, and personality: their structure and dynamics; a system of general sociology, (New York, Cooper Square Publishers, 1962)

  • Z. Sternhell, The birth of fascist ideology : from cultural rebellion to political revolution, (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, c1994)

Readings:

  • H. Arendt, The origins of totalitarianism, (New York, Meridian Books [1958]); Chapters: The Decline of the Nation State, Classless Society and The Totalitarian Movement, pp. 267-389

Week five. The Political System of Totalitarian Regimes

Lecture/discussion topics:

The formation of totalitarian regimes

The structure of the state apparatus

The role of a charismatic leader

Totalitarian ideology

Propaganda and terror

  • C. Friedrich Z Brzezinski, Totalitarian dictatorship and autocracy, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1965)

  • M. Geller, Utopia in power : the history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the present, (New York : Summit Books, c1986)

  • S. Fitzpatrick, The Russian revolution, (Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1994)

  • Istoria Rossii 20-y Vek (Moscow, 1996) / Russian History: 20th century

  • Pavlova I. Stalinizm: Stanovlenie Mehanizma Vlasti (Novosibirsk, 1993) / Stalinizm: The Formation of Power Mechanism

  • E. Starikov, Obshestvo-Kazarma: ot Faraonov do Nashih Dney (Novosibirsk, 1996)/ Society - Barrack: from Ancient Egypt till Present Times

Reading:

C. Friedrich Z Brzezinski, Totalitarian dictatorship and autocracy, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1965); Chapters: Dictator and Party, The totalitarian Ideology, Propaganda and Terror, pp. 31-205

Week six. The State Economy

Presentation topic:

The shadow economy in totalitarian societies

Lecture/discussion topics:

The essence of the State economy

The advantages of the command-administrative system

The shortcomings of the state economy

The "shadow" economy under totalitarian regimes

  • A. Ball, Russia's last capitalists : the Nepmen, 1921-1929, (Berkeley: University of California Press, c1987)

  • C. Friedrich Z Brzezinski, Totalitarian dictatorship and autocracy, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1965)

  • M. Geller, Utopia in power : the history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the present, (New York : Summit Books, c1986)

  • G. Grossman.1977. The Second Economy of the USSR. The Problems of Communism. 5:25-40

  • G. Grossman 1990. Sub-Rosa Privatization and Marketization in the USSR. Annals of the AAPSS. 507

  • A. Ledeneva, Russia's economy of favour : blat, networking, and informal exchange, (Cambridge, UK ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1998)

  • E. Starikov, Obshestvo-Kazarma: ot Faraonov do Nashih Dney (Novosibirsk, 1996)/ Society - Barrack: from Ancient Egypt till Present Times

  • Starikov E. Faraoni, Gitler I Kolhozi in Znamy, vol. 2, 1991 / Pharaons, Hitler and Kolhozes

  • A. Vaksberg, The Soviet Mafia, (New York : St. Martin's Press, 1991)

Reading:

C. Friedrich Z Brzezinski, Totalitarian dictatorship and autocracy, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1965); Chapter, The Directed Economy, pp. 205-279

Week seven. Totalitarian Society

Lecture/discussion topics:

The social structure of a totalitarian society

The state-society relations

The "islands of independence"

  • Fitzpatrick, Ascribing Class: The Construction of Social Identity in Soviet Russia in Journal of Modern History, vol. 4, 1993

  • G. Freez, Estate Paradigm in the Russian Social History in American History Review, February, 1996

  • C. Friedrich Z Brzezinski, Totalitarian dictatorship and autocracy, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1965)

  • Izmenenie Classovoy Structuri Sovetskogo Obshestva v Processe Stroitelstva Sozializma (Moscow, 1961) / Changes in the Class Satructure of the Soviet society in the Process of Socialism Building

  • Izmenenie Classovoy Structury Sovetskogo Obshestva (Moscow, 1976) / Changes in the Class Structure of the Soviet Society

  • Komplexniy Podhod K Izucheniy Sozialnoy Structuri. Istochniki I Metodi (Moscow, 1991) / The Complex Approach to the Researchin of Social Structure: Sources and Methods

  • D.Lane, The End of Social Inequality? Class, Status and Power under State Socialism (London, 1982)

  • O. Osipova, Sozialnay Startifikazia I Politika (Moscow, 1993) / Social Stratification and Policy

  • V. Selunskay, Sozialnay Structura Sovetskogo Obshestva: Istoria I Sovremennost (Moscow, 1987) / Social Structure of Soviet Society: Past and Present

  • P. Sorokin, Society, Culture and Personality: their Structure and Dynamics (New York, Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1947)

  • V. Radev . O. Shkaratan, Sozialnay Stratifikazia (Moscow, 1995) / Social Stratification

  • A. Zinoviev, Kommunizm kak real'nost', (Lausanne: L'Age d'homme, 1981) / Communism as a reality

Week eight. Totalitarian Culture: Quest for the New Man

Lecture/discussion topics:

The phenomenon of a totalitarian culture

High culture and mass culture under totalitarianism

"New men": Fascist Germany and Soviet Russia

Everyday life under totalitarianism

  • Bolshevik culture : experiment and order in the Russian Revolution / edited by Abbott Gleason, Peter Kenez, and Richard Stites, (Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1989)

  • S. Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: ordinary life in extraordinary times : Soviet Russia in the 1930s, (New York : Oxford University Press, 1999)

  • Cultural revolution in Russia, 1928-1931 / edited by Sheila Fitzpatrick, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, c1978)

  • Russia in the era of NEP : explorations in Soviet society and culture / edited by Sheila Fitzpatrick, Alexander Rabinowitch, and Richard Stites, (Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1991)

  • Siniavskii, Soviet civilization : a cultural history, (New York : Arcade Publishing, c1990)

  • E. Starikov, Obshestvo-Kazarma: ot Faraonov do Nashih Dney (Novosibirsk, 1996)/ Society - Barrack: from Ancient Egypt till Present Times

  • Zinoviev, Homo Sovieticus,, (London : Victor Gollancz, 1985)

Readings:

  • Siniavskii, Soviet civilization : a cultural history, (New York : Arcade Publishing, c1990); Chapters, The New Man, The Soviet Way of Life, The Soviet Language, pp. 114-226

Week nine. The Evolution of Totalitarian Regimes

Lecture/discussion topics:

The patterns of evolution of the totalitarian regimes

Why totalitarian regimes change?

  • M. Geller, Utopia in power : the history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the present, (New York : Summit Books, c1986)

  • Istoria Rossii 20-y Vek (Moscow, 1996) / Russian History: 20th century

  • P. Kenez, A history of the Soviet Union from the beginning to the end, (Cambridge; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1999)

  • V. Slapentokh, Public and Private life: changing values in post-Stalin Russia, (New York : Oxford University Press, 1989)

  • N. Vert, History of the Soviet Union 1900-1992, (Moscow, 1993)

Readings:

V. Slapentokh, Public and Private life: changing values in post-Stalin Russia, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989)

Week ten. Totalitarianism in the History of the Twentieth Century

Topics for presentations:

  • "Peripheral" totalitarianism: Eastern European societies, Southern Europe, etc.

  • The phenomenon of the bipolar world: stabilizing factor or threat to humankind?

  • Is totalitarianism possible today?

Reading:

Gleason, Totalitarianism : the inner history of the Cold War, (New York : Oxford University Press, 1995)



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