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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

History (HIST)

HIST 142 (GS;IL) History of Communism (3) Marxism; Leninism and evolution of the Soviet Union; formation and development of the Communist bloc; impact of Chinese Communism.

HIST 142 History of Communism (3)
(GS;IL)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Communism is one of the most powerful ideologies to have ascended in the modern period of history. Fashioned from Marxist philosophy, communism was embraced in the twentieth century to over one billion people from the former USSR, to China, to South Asia, to Africa, to Latin America, and by some here in the U.S. Unquestionably, the institutionalization of communist regimes has left an indelible mark on world history. This course will explore the writings of Marx and his advocates, notably Engels and Lenin, and strive to understand why the first communist regime emerged in the unlikeliest of places: Russia. Using the Soviet Union as a case study, we will examine how Marxist principles were either applied or transformed in the construction of the first communist society. By examining the history of the Soviet Union, including its spectacular and rapid demise, we will come to a greater understanding of communist principles and of the dynamics of capitalism as well. As a counter-example, we will also focus on the Chinese experience of Communism and contrast the divergent paths to reform that have been implemented there. The goal of the class is twofold: to become familiar with the principles of communism by examining their application primarily in the USSR, Eastern Europe and China, and to come to a greater understanding of the dynamics of a capitalist system. The course grade will be determined by the student's performance on in-class essay exams, a research paper, the comprehensive final exam (essays and short answer), participation in class discussions, and regular attendance. This course serves as a prerequisite to History 430 and History of the Soviet Union, and provides valuable background for such related courses as PL SC 413 and 452 and RUS 100. HIST 142 satisfies three credits of any history for History majors. It is also a prerequisite for several upper level history courses dealing with twentieth century Eastern European or Eurasian history. For all other students, this course fulfills a Social and Behavioral requirement in general education. HIST 142 will be offered once each year with 75 seats per offering.


General Education: GS
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Other Cultures and Social and Behavioral Sciences
Effective: Spring 2006

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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