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Multi­discipli­nary & Innovative Courses


Target students

The course is designed for advanced undergraduates or Master’s level students of humanities and social sciences.


This course focuses on the current challenges of democracy and the rule of law in the Eastern members of the EU. It will be taught by a group of area studies experts with disciplinary backgrounds in history, sociology, media and cultural studies.

The course provides students with multidisciplinary approaches to study political and societal problems that hinder democratic conduct and undermine the common future of the European community. We address central issues related to governance, populism, nationalism, corruption, poverty, xenophobia, Roma population, environment and gender-related questions.

The course offers an extended temporal and spatial context. It reflects on the dynamic interaction of the underlying historical continuities and fluctuating changes. It also reviews the global and regional challenges and thus reflects on the development in the Western Balkans and Ukraine, with special attention to the impact of the nearby great power Russia.

Learning objectives

The students will gain a broad overview of current societal and political developments in Eastern European EU countries. The purpose is also to discuss critically the concept of democracy, which is sometimes understood normatively. The students will be acquainted with new multidisciplinary approaches and innovative pedagogical methods to understand the complexity of politics and society in this region. The course will also help students looking to specialise in subjects and fields of research covered by the course. The students will learn more about ongoing cutting-edge research projects carried out at the University of Helsinki.

Course format and teaching methods

The course entails a total of 38 hours of teaching with various activating learning formats, such as lectures, flipped classroom, debates and small workshops. We apply new methods that promote critical thinking and discursivity. Each lecture includes mandatory pre-reading. The class format is divided into a 45-minute lecture and a 45-minute workshop. The syllabus with course readings will be disseminated to students before the course begins.

Means and criteria of assessment

Attendance, course readings and final essay/exam. Grading is based on attendance, participation in discussions and completion of the required assignments and the final exam.

Grading scale:
5 = excellent
4 = very good
3 = good
2 = average
1 = poor
0 = fail

Course Schedule

Location: City Centre Campus

Monday 6.8.2018 Registration begins

Tuesday 7.8.2018 Registration continues, HSS Opening Ceremony

Wednesday 8.8.2018 Courses begin

Course Schedule (pdf)