Course Director

Stan Kirschbaum
Stanislav Kirschbaum is Professor emeritus of International Studies at York University, Glendon College, where, for over 50 years, he taught in English and in French in the departments of Political Science and, latterly, International Studies, a department he helped create in 2006. His research and extensive publications deal with the Soviet Union, the countries of the Soviet bloc, and since the fall of communism in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet empire, the states of Central Europe, in particular Slovakia. He has focused on issues of peace and security in that region and, where Slovakia is concerned, on its history and political development. He is the author of the first comprehensive history of Slovakia in English, first published in 1995 with a second edition in 2005.

Picture of Stan Kirschbaum
Stan Kirschbaum

Term and Time

Winter 2024 – starting January 12
12:50 am on Friday afternoon
Room A100 in York Hall

Course Description

In February 2022, Russia launched a massive military operation on a neighbouring state, Ukraine. What is startling about this event is that the Russians, a Slavic people, proceeded to wage war on another Slavic people, the Ukrainians. Why did they? Are there historical precedents? Aren’t the Slavs a specific ethno-linguistic group of peoples who have so much in common that such an action is not only surprising but should be unthinkable? Hence the question: Who are the Slavs? What do they have in common? What distinguishes them one from another? Is the war in Ukraine, also seen as a test of democracy and European stability and security, merely a specific and singular occurrence? If it is, why is that the case and what do the other Slavic peoples have to say? This lecture series will seek to answer these questions by looking at the origin, the languages, the religions, the culture, and especially the modern history of the Slavic peoples of Europe. Each Slavic nation will be presented so as to establish its place in European history, understand the factors that underpinned the decisions and drove the actions of its leaders when faced with challenges, and assess the local, regional, and international consequences.

Course Outline

Two weeks before the course starts, you can download a printable PDF giving the 10-week detailed course outline for this.

Lecture Notes

Links to resources such as additional reading or play lists are provided here as the Course Director makes them available during the term.

Links from January 26 Lecture

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