Political Theory

Postcommunism and the Future of Liberty


This conference investigated the concept of “postcommunism” and focused on the challenges to individual liberty that persisted twenty years after the fall of communism. While much of the literature on postcommunism describes the phenomenon in economic terms, this conference suggested that matters of culture and morality are at least as relevant as economic problems.


Conference Readings

Fish, M. Steven, “The Dynamics of Democratic Erosion” In Postcommunism and the Theory of Democracy, edited by Richard D. Anderson, M. Steven Fish, Stephen E. Hanson, and Philip G. Roeder, 54-95. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Gray, John. Enlightenment's Wake: Politics and Culture at the Close of the Modern Age. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Havel, Vaclav. “The Postcommunist Nightmare.” New York Review of Books (May 27, 1993): 8-11.

Krastev, Ivan. “Is East-Central Europe Backsliding? The Strange Death of the Liberal Consensus.” Journal of Democracy 18, no. 4 (October 2007): 56-63.

Michnik, Adam. In Search of Lost Meaning: The New Eastern Europe. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2011.

Milosz, Czeslaw. The Captive Mind. New York: Vintage, 1990.

Pew Global Attitudes Project. “End of Communism Cheered But Now with More Reservations.” Pewresearch.org. http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1396/european-opinion-two-decades-after-berlin-wall-fall-communism (July 18, 2011).

Rupnik, Jacques, “The Postcommunist Divide” In The Global Divergence of Democracies, edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, 327-332. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Sakwa, Richard. Postcommunism. Berkshire, United Kingdom: Open University Press, 1999.

Stan, Lavinia. Transitional Justice in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. New York: Routledge, 2009.

Tismaneanu, Vladimir. Fantasies of Salvation: Democracy, Nationalism, and Myth in Post-Communist Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.

Tsilevich, Boris, “New Democracies in the Old World” In Can Liberal Pluralism be Exported? Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe, edited by Will Kymlicka and Magda Opalski, 154-170. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.