Yugoslavia and After: Themes and Controversies CEES5083

  • 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

This course critically examines the history of Yugoslavia and its successor states. It covers the rise and fall of the first (1918-1941) and second (1945-1991) Yugoslavia, the wars of Yugoslav succession in the 1990s, and the diverse experiences of transformation after the independence of its republics. Each week explores a different chronological period and focuses on one key theme, event or process of transformation. There is special emphasis on the variety of people's experiences, both at the institutional and non-institutional level, as well as of the multiple viewpoints in the international scholarship. Analysis of primary sources is embedded in class activities, online resources and course assessments.


1 x 2 hour class each week for 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





The assessment comprises three elements: a gobbet exercise, a group presentation and an essay.


The gobbet exercise (c. 1,500 words, 30%, submitted at the end of week 5) will be a concise analytical and written comment on a primary source with a view to critically extracting historical meaning arising from it. Students will be given a small selection of sources to choose from or can choose their own source in agreement with the course convenor. Depending on the chosen topic and on the language skills of the student, primary sources could be digital documents from political archives and or libraries, newspaper articles, as well as audio-video materials.


The group presentation (10%, week 7) as part of a student-led seminar workshop. Students will be divided into groups and present on a selected topic from a list provided by the lecturer for 10-15 minutes and answer questions posed by other groups. Students will be provided with a marking sheet which will inform them what criteria are being considered as part of the assessment (preparation, content, effective communication, design and response to questions).


The essay (c. 3,000 words, 60%, submitted at the end of week 12) will allow students to analyse particular themes or controversies covered in the course in depth. Students will be supplied with a choice of 5 questions or can agree to a specially designed question in agreement with the course convenor (by week 8). A list of suggested readings for each topic will be provided by the lecturer.

Course Aims

This course examines the history of Yugoslavia and its successor states on multiple levels and from a variety of perspectives. Each week will explore a different chronological period and focus on a key theme - covering such issues as the rise and fall of the two Yugoslavias, the Second World War and the Wars of Yugoslav Succession, and the debates surrounding EU accession. The course seeks to introduce students to major debates and themes in the Yugoslav area studies scholarship that relate to the formation, management and violent dissolution of the multinational state and to the challenges faced by its successors. As area studies is multi-disciplinary, the course introduces students to different political, economic, social, cultural, international and transnational factors and processes behind historical change. It also seeks to shed light on the diverse experiences of institutional and non-institutional actors at different points in history. Finally, it exposes students to different ways of uncovering this diversity using written and audio-visual primary sources.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ develop a broad understanding of Yugoslav history and its collapse;

■ identify different political, social, economic, cultural, international and transnational factors driving historical change in Yugoslavia and its successor states;

■ critically assess different approaches to Yugoslavia and its successor states in the area studies scholarship;

■ compare and contrast the diverse trajectories of the successor states, and evaluate contemporary processes, actors and events;

■ take multiple experiences into account when approaching complex processes of change;

■ use primary sources to write analytically about Yugoslavia and its successor states;

■ engage in group work and oral presentation of complex ideas in a clear manner..

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.