Statehood and Nationality in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe CEES5023

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Using Russia, the Baltic States, Ukraine and Central Europe as exemplary cases, this course highlights general trends of state and nation-building in the region, with particular reference to how these countries have accommodated ethnic diversity within these processes.


Classes will be in the form of weekly 2-hour seminars in Semester 2.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





  One course essay of 2,500 words (60%)

  One briefing paper (three sides of A4 - 30%)

  Group presentation (10%)

Course Aims

This course analyses ongoing issues and challenges of state and nation-building across Central and Eastern Europe during the period from the fall of communism and the demise of the USSR to the present. In all cases, the countries of the region have been called upon to create new state institutions and supporting collective identities within a deeply multi-ethnic setting, while simultaneously negotiating their place within the international order of the day. What kinds of discourses and policies of state and nation-building can be discerned within the region, how do these compare to past and present processes in Western Europe and elsewhere, and what implications have they carried for identity construction, the consolidation of statehood and inter-state relations? How have these developments interacted with the external agendas of international organisations (EU, Council of Europe, OSCE) relating to the consolidation of democracy? These are among the key questions to be addressed during the course. While there will be the opportunity to discuss other cases, the course will focus mainly on current issues of statehood and nationality as they pertain to the Baltic States, Russia, Ukraine (up to and including the current crisis) and the relationship between Hungary and Hungarian minorities living in neighbouring states.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

• explain processes of state and nation-building in the region after 1990, with particular reference to debates on and strategies for the accommodation of ethnic diversity;

• understand the response to these strategies by spokespersons for and persons belonging to national minorities during the period in question;

• compare and contrast the main trends in and experiences of different countries during the period in question;

• analyse how external actors such as the European Union, Council of Europe and OSCE have influenced the relationship between state and minority during the period in question;

• understand and analyse critically the principal theoretical frameworks relating to nationalism, nationhood and minority rights in Central and Eastern Europe;

• demonstrate a capacity for conducting independent research and effective group work, and for making coherent oral and written presentations.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

   Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.