Eastern Europe has long been thought of as the "Other Europe," a marginalized region rife with political upheaval, shifting national borders, an astonishing variety of ethnic diversity, and relative isolation from the centers of power in the West. Yet in recent years, Eastern European nations have begun integrating with Western Europe-joining NATO and the European Union-as the region has gained a new measure of self-determination in the wake of communist collapse. Nonetheless, Eastern Europe still maintains an aura of "otherness" and mystery, due to its relatively tumultuous timeline and complex cultural tapestry. Indeed, history haunts this region, so to truly understand Eastern Europe today, it is necessary to examine its past in the broader context of world history, asking such questions as: Who are the diverse ethnic groups that make up the region, and how have they cooperated and clashed? How and why have national borders shifted so frequently? What is the region's relationship to Western Europe? How has the region been isolated from-and connected with-the West? You'll find the answers to these questions and more in A History of Eastern Europe. Taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, an award-winning professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, these 24 insightful lectures offer a sweeping 1,000-year history of Eastern Europe with a particular focus on the region's modern history. You'll observe waves of migration and invasion, watch empires rise and fall, witness wars and their deadly consequences-and come away with a comprehensive knowledge of one of the world's most fascinating places. This course goes far beyond issues of military and political history. Professor Liulevicius delves deeply into the cultures of this region-the 20 nations that stretch from the Baltic to the Black Seas. You'll meet the everyday citizens-including artists and writers-who shaped the politics of Eastern Europe, from poets-turned-politicians to proletarian workers who led dissident uprisings. Breathtaking in scope and crucially relevant to today's world, A History of Eastern Europe is a powerful survey of a diverse region and its people. Discover the Historical Context for Today's Eastern Europe The story of Eastern Europe is very much in flux today. In 2014, Russia invaded Crimea during a time of chaotic unrest in the Ukraine. Slide back to the 1990s, and the Balkan states erupted into a brutal civil war that rewrote the national boundaries of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and others. Slide back another few years, and you witness the 70-year-old USSR disintegrate, leaving in its wake a hodgepodge of nations with crumbled economies and uncertain national identities. These events are products of more than recent history-or even modern history. To truly understand the ongoing news in Eastern Europe, it's necessary to step back a thousand years to find the foundations of today's world. See how the waves of invasions by Mongols, the Ottoman Turks, and others left their mark on Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. Trace the origins of the Slavic peoples, the Magyars, Germanic tribes, the Roma, and other ethnicities who make up the region. Discover how events such as the Crusades and the Black Death led to a large influx of Jews to modern-day Poland. Witness the battles, political strife, and nationalism that gave rise to nations such as Poland-Lithuania and empires in Russia, Prussia, and Germany. Studying this history helps explain Eastern Europe's wide mix of languages, religions, and cultures. In this course, you will see how these cultures clashed internally-and how a vast array of external enemies and empires have tried repeatedly to carve out territories or spheres of influence within the region. Professor Liulevicius brings to life the local people's struggles-through cooperation among coalitions as well as through armed conflicts-for survival and self-rule. Gain a New Perspective on Europe's East vs. West Divide Eastern Europe has long been a marginalized region-considered the home of "barbarians" by the Greeks, far-flung backwater provinces to the Romans, fair prey for the Mongols-a vast land for civilized empires to "enlighten." But in the 20th and 21st centuries, the divide between East and West grew more pronounced as the world globalized and the United States and Soviet superpowers jockeyed for spheres of influence-epitomized by the imposition of the Iron Curtain across Europe and the rise of the Berlin Wall. Professor Liulevicius offers you a different perspective on the last hundred years of history, beginning with the end of World War I. Whereas Western Europe viewed the Great War as a total catastrophe marked by years of stalemate and a shaky peace, Eastern Europeans viewed the war as a fiery baptism of national independence. Likewise, when the guns fell silent and stability returned to the West after World War II, a series of bloody conflicts continued in the East. And of course, the Iron Curtain that partitioned East and West for half a century has left deep marks on the Eastern Europe of today. This course presents the grand sweep of all this history and clues you in on the context necessary to understand today's world. Professor Liulevicius also gives you specific, unique insights that are fascinating in their own right-and seldom mentioned in the history books. Among other historical details, you will: Go inside the Jewish shtetls, most of which were destroyed during World War II. Gain insight into the Nazi-Soviet Pact, including the motivating worldviews of Hitler and Stalin. Learn about the waves of ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe after World War II, and the resulting orphans known as "wolf children." Study the little-known Baltic Forest War, which, incredibly, continued until the late 1970s. Experience daily life behind the Iron Curtain, from mass surveillance and the police state to the broken economies and worker uprisings. Meet leaders such as the Yugoslavian President Josip Tito, the Polish dissident worker Anna Walentynowicz, the Czech writer-turned-president Vaclav Havel, and many other people who shaped the course of history. You'll also witness the stunning collapse of communism across Eastern Europe, sparked by mass protests and fueled by governmental ineptitude. The widespread chaos created great suffering, reshaping the region's economies, politics, ideologies, and geographical boundaries. Study the Cultural History of the Region George Orwell once said, "Every joke is a tiny revolution." Created and shared under circumstances of high pressure and risk, Eastern European jokes and satirical-or nationalistic-works of art are full of humorous and passionate expressions of resistance, defiance, despair, and the will to survive. Professor Liulevicius bridges the personal and the political in this course, analyzing the meaning and impact of widespread dark humor and introducing you to poets, writers, artists, and other cultural figures who all made an impact on Eastern European history. In fact, studying the history gives you a whole new context for understanding authors such as: Franz Kafka Czeslaw Milosz Milan Kundera Vaclav Havel Herta Muller And many others In addition, he introduces you to some authors who are relatively obscure in the West, such as Jaroslav Haek (author of The Good Soldier vejk, one of the funniest and most profound antiwar novels in existence), and Zlata Filipovic (a 12-year-old whose diary from the Bosnian War has been compared to the Diary of Anne Frank). Professor Liulevicius is an ideal guide for this course, having focused on Germany and Eastern Europe during his entire academic career. From a period of study in Moscow and Leningrad in 1989, to dissertation research in Freiburg, Germany, and Vilnius, Lithuania, in the early 1990s, to his term as president of the international Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (A.A.B.S.) for 2010-12, he has spent decades pursuing and disseminating knowledge of this fascinating region. His insights into the clashes and unexpected alliances of empires, peoples, and philosophies will clarify the complex twists and turns of the narrative of Eastern European history. In Eastern Europe, culture and politics are inextricably linked with centuries of tumultuous change, and this in-depth course will explore the intersection of these factors to give you a comprehensive understanding of the region and its status in the world today. A History of Eastern Europe is a marvelous overview of the story of an essential and often overlooked area of the globe, and will fill in many critical gaps in the social and political history of the world.