This course explores the politics of nationalism, identity politics, and violent conflict in the fifteen Soviet successor states. The first half of the course will be devoted to theoretical approaches to ethnicity, nationality, and religious identity in political science; the treatment of the “nationality question” and religion in Marxist-Leninist theory; the history of Soviet federalism, “nationalities policy,” and state atheism; nationalist mobilization and religious revivalism in the Gorbachev period; and the political dynamics behind the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. In the second half of the course, we will turn to the role of ethno-nationalism and religious identities in the post-Soviet period; problems of post-communist nation and state building; and the competing logics of state sovereignty, national self-determination, and autonomy. Case studies will include the conflicts in Chechnya and Russia's North Caucasus, the Russo-Georgia War of 2008, and current conflict in Ukraine.
Students who took PS 191 "Junior Seminar: Nationalism, Identities, and Conflict in the Soviet Successor State" with Professor Walker cannot take this course due to the substantial similarity in course content.