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300421 entfällt --- [Russia and Europe: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Political Attitudes] (S) (WiSe 2019/2020)

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Europe has historically played a prominent role in the Russian national discourse. Throughout
different periods Russia and Europe were intimately connected by common cultural, historical
and political traditions but also divided, ironically, by common sentiments of repulsion,
suspicion and fear. Against this background, one of the driving forces behind transformation
of Russian foreign policy thinking has historically been anchored in the European context.
Today the European Union plays that role1. Contemporary Russian foreign policy attitudes
towards the European Union should be seen in light of ‘pre-existing’ views on Europe, and
that Russia-EU relations therefore, to a significant extent, also unfold under the weight of the
‘historical tradition’, which stands as a ‘reserve’, from which both actors draw concepts and
arguments for deployment in the present-day communication.
This course is designed to provide master students with a general overview of historical
background and legacy of Russia’s perceptions of Europe drawing on empirical as well as
theoretical literature. Thematic studies (of representative cases from XVIII, XIX and XX
centuries) will help to illustrate and explore various patterns, stages and dynamics of these
legacies. Against the background of different theoretical approaches students will form a
better analytical understanding of Russia’s contemporary images of the EU.
The following key questions will guide us throughout the course:
1. How have Russia’s foreign political images of Europe evolved over the course of its relations
with Europe?
2. What major historical stages, patterns and trends can be identified?
3. What various general contours or distinct features of “past within the present” identified in the
context of Russia’s interaction vis-à-vis the EU today?
4. How can the notions of change and continuity in foreign policy perceptions be theorized?


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