The Russian and East European Institute (REEI) is offering a new undergraduate course “Current Issues in Eastern Europe” (REEI-R 303) in Spring 2020. Covering the countries in and between the Baltics and Balkans, the interdisciplinary course addresses current issues through an exploration of the geography, environmental affairs, economies, political systems, legal structures, cyber-security concerns, gender dynamics, educational practices, and cultures of this diverse and endlessly fascinating world region. An exploratory survey, introducing undergraduates to Eastern Europe and providing them with a solid foundational knowledge of contemporary issues in the region, it will be taught by REEI alumnus and Director of Global Health Affairs at Indiana University, Dr. Justin Otten, who also teaches the graduate course “Proseminar in Russian and East European Studies” at REEI each fall.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my insight and experiences from a decade plus spent living in, researching, and teaching about Eastern Europe,” enthused Professor Otten, whose engagement with the region includes service as a US Peace Corps volunteer in 2002-2004, a US State Department intern in 2006, and participant recruiter for American Councils Southeast Europe in 2009 as well as extensive travel and field research. Professor Otten completed an MA with REEI and then went on to earn a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK), where his research focused on the wine producing regions of Macedonia.
“Environment, climate, and cybersecurity are key concerns for all of us. I am thrilled that we are able to offer a class which will introduce students to these and other topics in the context of Eastern Europe,” says Professor Halina Goldberg, Interim Director at REEI in 2019-20. “This region is very much in the news these days, but to most people it is shrouded in mystery and unfamiliar. We are offering this course as an opportunity for students to see the veil of mystery lifted, revealing the rich geography, history, and diverse cultures of Eastern Europe, and helping them understand current successes and challenges in that region.”
The course should appeal to “any student with a nascent interest in Eastern Europe, or all of Europe for that matter,” Professor Otten suggests. “Indeed, one of the first things we will interrogate in the course is the moniker ‘Eastern Europe’ three decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, and how Europe is more unified through the European Union and what’s going on in and coming out of Brussels than it has ever been. Understanding European affairs is critical for anyone interested in working in Europe, be it for the government or foreign affairs, or in the private sector.”Early enrollment and registration for Spring 2020 courses opens on Thursday, October 24. Spring semester begins on Monday, January 13. REEI-R 303 “Current Issues in Eastern Europe” (30480) fulfills the CASE S & H requirement. It is a second eight weeks course that will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 - 10:15 AM in Woodburn Hall 0007.