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Kiril Avramov


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REE 335 • Populism Central/E Europe

42742 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM RLM 6.112
(also listed as GOV 360N)

Description: This course aims to survey the political nature, profile and patterns of populism in selected post-communist democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. It focuses on populism, in terms of impact on agenda setting, political process and governance of the region in focus at specific national and EU-wide levels. It seeks to familiarize the students with the complexity and theoretical challenges posed by the populism phenomenon via scrutinizing time and country-specific cases in comparative manner. As the course analyzes the role and effects of populism on the transformative processes of post-communist democratic consolidation and backsliding also, the discussions on the specific nature, varieties and legacies of communist regimes across the region will serve, as the initial point of departure. Subsequently, the role of the transformative power of “Europeanization”, its’ implication for the regional democratization and its’ limits, in the context of former communist countries’ EU accession will be assessed. Finally, current regional democratic deconsolidation trends will be analyzed through the prism of populism in government and opposition, where the cases of the so-called Visegrád group (V4) and Southeastern Europe countries will be used. The main themes of the course include survey of the mechanisms of populist emergence and mobilization, attributes and specific strategies in power and opposition, as well as the broader implications for the state of liberal democracy in the region. As the course examines populism through the lenses of regional political transformations, specific accent is set on the role and impact of PRR (populist radical right) parties and organizations’ interactions with other political actors, such as governments, political parties and interest groups and the effects of these interactions on agenda setting and “loaded” policy fields. 

Grading:

Grading will consist of participation (10%), weekly response papers (10%), mid-term exam (30%), in-class case presentation (10%) and a final research paper (40%).

Required texts: Participants in the course are expected to read from around 70 to 110 pages per week. 

  • Krastev, Ivan. After Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017.
  • Minkenberg, Michael. Transforming the transformation?: The East European radical right in the political process. Routledge, 2015.
  • Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. Populism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • Ramet, Sabrina P. (ed.). Central and Southeast European Politics since 1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2010
  • Vachudova, Milada Anna. Europe Undivided: Democracy, Leverage, and Integration after Communism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2005.

REE 335 • Political Warfare/Propagnda

42743 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM RLM 5.124
(also listed as GOV 360N)

Description: This course focuses on the phenomenon of political warfare in contemporary global context, with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. The course will broaden students’ understanding of the nature of political warfare, including its role and limits in achieving influence over opponents’ decision-making processes via non-lethal methods. Using historical case studies as a starting point, we will explore the evolution of techniques of political warfare, including psychological warfare and propaganda. Through readings and discussion, students will learn to evaluate various frameworks for evaluating the deployment of “weaponized information”, often used in combination with force, subversion, economic pressure and public diplomacy, to achieve national strategic and tactical goals. We will also look at the role of intelligence in crafting, disseminating and exploiting information in both historical and contemporary contexts. Finally, we will investigate contemporary forms of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and “fake news” as “weaponized” by non-liberal democratic regimes in pursuit of their respective foreign policy goals. Students will be expected to attend certain relevant events organized by UT Austin’s Intelligence Studies Project.

Grading:

Grading will consist of:

1) in-class participation (5 %)

2) weekly response papers (40 % i.e. 5% each paper)

3) mid-term exam (20%)

4) in-class case presentation (5 %)

5) final research paper (30%).

 

Required texts: These are the texts that contain the required reading for this course. 

  • Jowett, G. S., & O'Donnell, V. (2015). Propaganda & persuasion.Sixth Edition ,Sage.;
  • Ellul, J. (1965). Propaganda: the formation of men's attitudes. Knopf.
  • McCauley, K. (2016). Russian Influence Campaigns Against the West. From the Cold War to Putin., Createspace Independent Publishing.
  • Patrikarakos, D. (2017). War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century. Basic Books.

REE 335 • Political Warfare/Propagnda

43944 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.212
(also listed as GOV 360N)

Description:

This seminar focuses on the phenomenon of political warfare in contemporary global context, with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. The course will broaden students’ understanding of the nature of political warfare, including its role and limits in achieving influence over opponents’ decision-making processes via non-lethal methods. Using historical case studies as a starting point, we will explore the evolution of techniques of political warfare, including psychological warfare and propaganda. Through readings and discussion, students will learn to evaluate various frameworks for evaluating the deployment of “weaponized information”, often used in combination with force, subversion, economic pressure and public diplomacy, to achieve national strategic and tactical goals. We will also look at the role of intelligence in crafting, disseminating and exploiting information in both historical and contemporary contexts. Finally, we will investigate contemporary forms of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and “fake news” as “weaponized” by non-liberal democratic regimes in pursuit of their respective foreign policy goals.

Students will be expected to attend relevant events organized by UT Austin’s Intelligence Studies Project.

 

Learning outcomes:

1) understand the nature of political warfare in the contemporary context 2) evaluate the role and toolbox of psy-ops in historic and contemporary contexts and 3) analyze and critically evaluate instances of propaganda and strategic messaging.              

 

Target audience:

Students interested in intelligence studies, international relations and diplomacy, Russian foreign policy, as well as Russian and Eastern Europe area studies.

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  • Center for European Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
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    Austin, Texas 78712
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