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GOVT 659 Politics of the Black Sea Zone (Spring 2002)

Monday, 3:15 pm - 5:05 pm, ICC 217B
Professor Charles King, School of Foreign Service and Department of Government 

Requirements and Grading
Policy on Make-Ups, Extensions, Incompletes, and Academic Dishonesty 
Course Listproc
Topics and Readings


Designed as a readings seminar for PhD and MA students, this course explores the contemporary history, politics, and international relations of the wider southeast Europe, the region stretching from the Balkans to the Caucasus. The course re-examines the boundaries of southeast Europe by focusing on a series of problems common to many of the states around the Black Sea: political transition and democratization, state weakness, state- and nation-building, territorial separatism, political violence, regional cooperation, and relations with Europe. Students will read several classic texts in the study of southeastern Europe, as well as more recent scholarship that links events in the region with major trends in the social sciences. Students will also be able to shape the course content to fit their specific research interests. The course requires a series of short essays on the readings, but students will also have the opportunity to develop longer-term research projects based on their particular interests. This course assumes that participants already have some familiarity with the history and politics of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Requirements and Grading

1. Attendance and informed participation (roughly 20% of course grade). Each member of the class will also be responsible for initiating the discussion at least once during the course of the semester. 

2. Four essays of roughly eight pages each (roughly 20% each) OR one research paper of around 30 pages (roughly 80%).

Format for essays and papers

The essay should be typed, double-spaced, on one side of plain white 8.5” x 11” paper. Pages should be numbered consecutively. The essays are not meant to be research papers; therefore, it is not expected that the essays will have extensive footnotes. However, if footnotes are necessary, they should be placed at the bottom of the page and should follow a recognized style for citations. The typescript should be secured with a staple. Do not submit the paper in a loose-leaf binder, plastic report cover, or other folder.

Research papers should follow a similar format, with citations that follow a recognized style.

Criteria for evaluation

Essays will be evaluated according to the following criteria: 
    Originality of ideas: How much original thought went into the essay? Did you merely restate someone else’s argument? Or does the essay contain evidence that you have thought seriously about a problem and used your own powers of analysis? 

    Strength of argument: Is there a clear argument in the essay? How well have you made your case? Do you merely assert a point, or do you argue it using evidence, sub-arguments, and other tools of analysis? Do you have your facts straight? 

    Organization and clarity: Are your points clear to the reader? Does your first paragraph summarize the argument in brief and lay out the structure of the essay? Does your last paragraph return to the question and reinforce your analysis of the issue at hand? 

    Writing style: Do you write in an interesting yet formal style? Have you avoided contractions and other informal, conversational devices? Have you eliminated cliches? Have you reined in your metaphors? Do you follow the basic rules of grammar and prunctuation?

Research papers will be evaluated according to similar criteria, although thoroughness and creativity of research will also feature prominently in the evaluation.

Due dates

Essays: 11 February, 11 March, 8 April, 29 April
Research paper: 1 May

Suggested essay topics

You may develop any of the themes we discuss in class into an essay, but the following are suggestions for the type of questions you should consider:
1. Does "region" trump "regime" as a unit of olitical analysis?
2. What is useful (and not useful) about modernization as a lens through which to understand political change?
3. Does large-scale political violence that has an ethnic or cultural component require a particular type of explanation?
4. Pick a pressing political issue in the wider southeast Europe and describe its main dimensions and significance.

Policy on Make-Ups, Extensions, Incompletes, and Academic Dishonesty

In principle, deadlines cannot be changed. However, allowance will be made for cases in which genuine emergencies prevent students from completing work on time. Such emergencies might include medical treatment or bereavement. Having a heavy work load, impending deadlines for other courses or extra-curricular commitments cannot normally be considered emergencies. Each instance will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Students should let the instructor know as far in advance as possible about any potential problems. 

Georgetown University is an honor-code school. Cases of suspected academic dishonesty will be handled according to the university’s honor code

Course Listproc 

In order to encourage discussion outside class, the professor has set up a ListProc discussion list on the university computer system. The list’s name is GOVT659-L. The ListProc system enables subscribers to send e-mail messages to a central server, which then distributes the messages to all other subscribers on the list. Such a system will allow the entire class to carry out “virtual” discussions and will help the professor to communicate with the entire class outside lecture periods. Subscription to the ListProc is required, and the quality and frequency of postings on the list will be taken into account when determining final course grades. 

In order to subscribe to the list: 

  1. Get an e-mail account, preferably on a university server. 
  2. Send an e-mail message to LISTPROC@LISTPROC.GEORGETOWN.EDU. Leave the subject line blank, and in the text portion of the message type: 
    1. subscribe GOVT659-L YourFirstName YourLastName 

      For example: subscribe GOVT659-L Susan Sarandon. You will then automatically receive information about the list, as well as postings from other subscribers.

  3. To send a message to the list, so that it can be read by all other subscribers, simply send your message to: 


The following books have been ordered for the course and may be purchased at the GU Bookstore in the Leavey Center, any good bookstore, or online at such sites as
  • L. Carl Brown, ed., Imperial Legacy: The Ottoman Imprint on the Balkans and the Middle East (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996). ISBN 0231103050
  • Charles King, The Moldovans: Russia, Romania, and the Politics of Culture (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1999). ISBN 081799792X
  • Anatol Lieven, Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998). ISBN 0200078811
  • Andew Wilson, The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000). ISBN 0300083556
  • Hugh and Nicole Pope, Turkey Unveiled (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2000). 1585670960
  • Orhan Pamuk, White Castle (New York: Random House, 1990). ISBN 0375701613
  • Kurban Said, Ali and Nino (New York: Anchor Books, 2000). 0385720408
  • Erik Zurcher, Turkey: A Modern History (London: I. B. Tauris, 1997). ISBN 1860642225
These basic texts may be supplemented by other required readings from journals, books, and other sources. 

Topics and Readings

Note: The instructor reserves the right to make changes to the readings and discussion topics during the course of the semester. For each class session, the first few items are absolute must-reads; those below the space are highly recommended. It is expected that you will have read at least some items from the recommended list.

Wed., 9 January  Course Introduction

1. This syllabus 

Part I  Themes

14 January  Regions and Seas

1. Charles King, "The New Near East," Survival, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer 2001): 49-67
2. Charles King, "Post-postcommunism: Transition, Comparison, and the End of 'Eastern Europe,'" World Politics, Vol. 53, No. 1 (2000): 143-172.
3. Charles King, "Introduction: An Archaeology of Place," "Beginnings," and "The Edge of the World" (manuscript)

4. Neil Ascherson, Black Sea (New York: Hill and Wang, 1995).
5. William McNeill, Europe's Steppe Frontier, 1500-1800 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1964).
6. Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (New York: Harper and Row, 1972).
7. Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean in the Ancient World (New York: Allen Lane, 2001).
8. Oskar Halecki, The Limits and Divisions of European History (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1950).
9. Kenneth McPherson, The Indian Ocean: A History of People and the Sea (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
10. Gheorghe Ioan Bratianu, La mer Noire: Des origines a la conquete ottomane (Munich: Romanian Academy Society, 1969).
11. Martin W. Lewis and Karen E. Wigen, The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
12. Tunc Aybak, ed., Politics of the Black Sea (London: I. B. Tauris, 2001).
13. William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries about the Event that Changed History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998).
14. Milica Bakic-Hayden and Robert M. Hayden, “Orientalist Variations on the Theme ‘Balkans’: Symbolic Geography in Recent Yugoslav Cultural Politics’, Slavic Review, Vol. 51, No. 1 (1992): 1-15. 


28 January  Empires and Imperial Legacies

1. Brown, Imperial Legacy

2. Karen Barkey and Mark von Hagen, eds., After Empire: Multiethnic Societies and Nation-Building (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997).
3. Dominic Lieven, Empire: The Russian Empire and Its Rivals (London: Murray, 2000).
4. Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).
5. Vesna Goldsworthy, Inventing Ruritania (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).
6. John R. Lampe, Balkan Economic History, 1550-1950: From Imperial Borderlands to Developing Nations (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982).
7. Paul Stephenson, Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
8. Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey through Yugoslavia (London: Canongate Classics, 1993 [1940]). 

4 February  Modernization and Transition

1. Valerie Bunce, "Comparing East and South," Journal of Democracy, Vol. 6, No. 3 (1995) 87-100.
2. Daniel Chirot, ed., The Origins of Backwardness in Eastern Europe (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).
3. Richard Rose, "A Diverging Europe," Journal of Democracy, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2001): 93-106.
4. Laurence Whitehead, "Geography and Democratic Destiny," Journal of Democracy, Vol. 10, No. 1 (1999): 74-79.

5. Joel Halpern, A Serbian Village (New York: Harper and Row, 1967).
6. Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society (New York: Free Press, 1958). 
7. Joel Migdal, Strong Societies and Weak States (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988).
8. Kenneth Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs and National Development: The Case of Romania, 1944-1965 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971). 
9. Susan L. Woodward, Socialist Unemployment: The Political Economy of Yugoslavia, 1945-1990 (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1995). 
10. David Waldner, State Building and Late Development (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999).
11. John R. Lampe, Balkan Economic History, 1550-1950: From Imperial Borderlands to Developing Nations (Bloomington: Indiana University Pres, 1982).

11 February  State- and Nation-Building

    1. Charles Tilly, ed., The Formation of National States in Western Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974).
    2. Karen Barkey, Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization (Ithaca: Cornell University, 1994).
    3. Pal Kolsto, "Nation-Building in the Former USSR," Journal of Democracy, Vol. 7, No. 1 (1996): 118-132. 

    4. Kemal Karpat, The Gecekondu (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976).
    5. Eric D. Gordy, The Culture of Power in Serbia (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1999).
    6. Larry Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization and the Mind of the Enlightenment (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994). 
    7. Ivo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984). 
    8. Peter F. Sugar and Ivo J. Lederer, eds., Nationalism in Eastern Europe (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994).
    9. Irina Livezeanu, Cultural Politics in Greater Romania (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). 
    10. Hugh Seton-Watson, Eastern Europe between the Wars, 1918-1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946).
    11. Joseph Rothschild, East Central Europe Between the Two World Wars (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1974).
    12. Robert King, Minorities Under Communism (Cambridge: Harvard Niversity Press, 1973).


25 February  Violence

1. John Mueller, "The Banality of 'Ethnic War,'" International Security, Vol. 25 (Summer 2000): 42-70.
2. Mark Mazower, The Balkans: A Short History (New York: Penguin, 2000), Chapter on violence.
3. Roy Licklider, "The Consequences of Negotiated Settlements in Civil Wars, 1945-1993," American Political Science Review, Vol. 89, No. 3. (September 1995):  681-690.

4. E. J. Hobsbawm, Bandits (New York: Pantheon, 1981).


11 March  Late Modernization and Democratization: Turkey

1. Pope and Pope, Turkey Unveiled
2. Cengiz Candar and Graham E. Fuller, "Grand Geopolitics for a New Turkey," Mediterranean Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2001): 22-38.

See also the Zurcher book for background

3. Kemal H. Karpat, Turkey's Politics: The Transition to a Multi-Party System  (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959).
4. Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press, 1968).
5. Halik Inalcik with Dennis Quataert, eds., An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
6. Robert E. Ward and Dankwart A. Rostow, eds., Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964).

Part II  Cases

18 March  State- and Nation-Building: Ukraine

1. Wilson, The Ukrainians
2. Carlos Pascual and Steve Pifer, "Ukraine's Bid for a Decisive Place in History," Washington Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 1 (2001): 175-192.
3. Nadia Diuk, "Sovereignty and Uncertainty in Ukraine," Journal of Democracy, Vol. 12, No. 4 (2001): 57-64.

4. Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000).
5. Bruce Parrott and Karen Dawisha, eds., Democratic Changes and Authoritarian Reactions in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

25 March  Nation-Building and Separatism: Moldova

1. King, The Moldovans


8 April  Imperial Decline and Violence: The North Caucasus

1. Lieven, Chechnya
2. Anatol Lieven, "Nightmare in the Caucasus," Washington Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 1 (2000): 145-159.

15 April   State Weakness and Territory: The South Caucasus

1. Charles King, "The Benefits of Ethnic War: Understanding Eurasia's Unrecognized States," World Politics, Vol. 53 (July 2001): 524-552.
2. Charles King, “Potemkin Democracy: Four Myths about Post-Soviet Georgia,” The National Interest, No. 64 (Summer 2001): 93-104.
3. David D. Laitin and Ronald Grigor Suny, "Armenia and Azerbaijan: Thinking a Way Out of Karabakh," Middle East Policy, Vol. 7, No. 1 (October 1999).
4. Svante E. Cornell, "Democratization Falters in Azerbaijan," Journal of Democracy, Vol. 12, No. 2 (2001): 118-131.

5. Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrott, eds., Conflict, Cleavage, and Change in Central Asia and the Caucasus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

22 April  War and International Intervention: The Balkans

    1. Janusz Bugajski, "Balkan in Dependence?" Washington Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 4 (2000): 177-192.
    2. Further readings TBA

    3. John Allcock, Explaining Yugoslavia (London: Hurst, 2000).
    4. Tone Bringa, Being Muslim the Bosnian Way: Identity and Community in a Central Bosnian Village (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1995).
    5. Lenard J. Cohen, Broken Bonds: Yugoslavia’s Disintegration and Balkan Politics in Transition (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1993).
    6. Bogdan Denitch, Limits and Possibilities: The Crisis of Yugoslav Socialism and State Socialist Systems (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990).
    7. Misha Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia (London: Penguin, 1992).
    8. John Lampe, Yugoslavia as History (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996).
    9. Sabrina Petra Ramet, Balkan Babel: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia from the Death of Tito to Ethnic War (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1996).
    10. Mark Thompson, A Paper House: The Ending of Yugoslavia (London: Vintage, 1992).
    11. Warren Zimmerman, Origins of a Catastrophe (New York: Times Books, 1996).
    12. Laura Silber and Allan Little, The Death of Yugoslavia (London: Penguin, 1995). 
    13. David Owen, Balkan Odyssey (London: Victor Gollancz, 1995). 
    14. Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History (New York: NYU Press, 1998).
    15. Robert Thomas, The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).
    16. L. S. Stavrianos, The Balkans since 1453 (New York: New York University Press, 2000).
    17. Chuck Sudetic, Blood and Vengeance: One Family's Story of the War in Bosnia (New York: Penguin, 1999).
    18. Tim Judah, Kosovo: War and Revenge (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).

29 April  Open


© Copyright 2002, Charles King

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