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Předmět, akademický rok 2022/2023
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The Postcolonial Condition in Eastern Europe - JTM519
Anglický název: The Postcolonial Condition in Eastern Europe
Český název: Postkoloniální situace ve východní Evropě
Zajišťuje: Katedra ruských a východoevropských studií (23-KRVS)
Fakulta: Fakulta sociálních věd
Platnost: od 2022 do 2022
Semestr: letní
E-Kredity: 6
Způsob provedení zkoušky: letní s.:
Rozsah, examinace: letní s.:1/1, Zk [HT]
Počet míst: 16 / neurčen (20)
Minimální obsazenost: neomezen
Virtuální mobilita / počet míst pro virtuální mobilitu: ne
Stav předmětu: vyučován
Jazyk výuky: angličtina
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Poznámka: předmět je možno zapsat mimo plán
povolen pro zápis po webu
při zápisu přednost, je-li ve stud. plánu
Garant: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D.
Vyučující: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D.
Třída: Courses for incoming students
Anotace - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D. (25.01.2023)
After the fall of the Soviet bloc, former satellite states in Eastern Europe attempted to re-establish their identity through externalizing their Soviet past and distancing from Russia. To that end, framing the Moscow-dominated period in their national histories as colonial experience proved useful. Variegated applications of postcolonial studies on the post-Soviet space gained wide currency in Poland and in the Baltic states in 1990s and 2000s. However, those states’ accession to Euroatlantic structures, most importantly, to the EU and NATO, had twofold consequences for the postcolonial debates: 1) their political instrumentalization lost their urgency due to the perceived mitigation of the Kremlin threat; 2) a new wave of othering from the side of Western partners, as well as intellectual collaboration with the Western Leftists, urged new interpretations of Western colonialism vis-à-vis its East as the main internal Other. Throughout this dynamics, ‘classical’ postcolonial studies – centered around former maritime empires and their overseas possessions – remained largely closed to East European interpretations as ideologically incompatible with the postcolonial ‘mainstream’.

Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, swiftly qualified as a “colonial war” (Timothy Snyder), produced a new twist in old debates and generated new arguments on the applicability of the postcolonial approach to the post-Soviet space. Russian neo-imperial conquest against the unfolding peripheralization of Europe enable new interpretations, capable to enrich both Area and postcolonial studies, which presents the core objective of the course.
Cíl předmětu - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D. (26.01.2023)

The course is aimed at analyzing the existing body of literature, complex conceptual apparatus, and new arguments in the postcolonial studies on Eastern Europe, as well as their efficiency and limitations against the current context of the Russian aggression. The underlying theoretical premise is that the structure of coloniality/oppression in the region is tripartite, where the symbolic West and Russia form two oppressive poles with divergent strategies of domination and resulting scales of difference. Whereas (former) subalterns can adopt various strategies in volatile contemporary settings.

The course has an overtly theoretical orientation. It is structured around focused discussions of assigned sources.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • provide arguments about imbrications of postcolonialism and postsocialism in Eastern Europe;
  • master the conceptual apparatus that emerged out of this overlap: inter-imperiality, a subaltern empire, self-colonization, perverse decolonization, the West – East slope of merits, nesting orientalism, etc.;
  • discuss postcolonial bandwagoning and its limitations;
  • discuss alternative taxonomies of Europe rooted in economic vs cultural exploitation;
  • explicate existing hierarchies of knowledge production on Eastern Europe and systemic distortions in Area Studies;
  • discuss the role of imperial/colonial past in contemporary identity building in Central/Eastern Europe;
  • highlight ideological discrepancies in East European postcolonial studies;
  • discuss the colonial aspects of the ongoing Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.


Deskriptory - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D. (26.01.2023)

Course Schedule

Week 1

Introduction: where is Eastern Europe?

Week 2

Unequal Europe(s): North – South, West – East. The scale of imperial/colonial difference.

Week 3

Ideologies of Eastness. Nesting orientalisms.

Week 4

Postsocialism vs postcolonialism: imbrications and overlaps.

Week 6

Postcolonial bandwagoning and the culture of victimhood.

Week 7

Peripherializing Europe. Decolonizing Area Studies.

Week 8

Inter-imperiality. Re-centering Europe.

Week 9

Russia: the subaltern empire and its strategies.

Week 10

Russian war in Ukraine as a colonial war: pretext.

Week 11

Russian war in Ukraine as a colonial war: recent developments.

Week 12

Concluding session


Podmínky zakončení předmětu - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D. (20.09.2023)

Course Requirements and Assessment



Weight in Final Grade

Evaluated Student Learning Outcomes

Active Class Participation


Engagement in class discussion, demonstrating the knowledge gained from assigned weekly reading and other sources; making own point, asking and answering questions.



Ability to critically address the assigned sources and/or to deconstruct analyzed video or written materials and present their original interpretation using theoretical sources for conceptualization and framing.

Position papers


Ability to work with academic literature, to formulate the author’s main idea in a concise and structured way, to critically address presented argument and to formulate one’s own position towards them.

Practical project


Ability to find and formulate a case study;

Ability to apply the gained knowledge to specific cases;

Capacity to pick and analyze cultural products within the postcolonial perspective.





Detailed description of the assignments


·         Active Class Participation (20%)

Students should participate actively in the course. Mere attendance is not active participation. To take active part in the class means, for instance, to present findings from compulsory readings, to comment on the topic, to discuss with other students, to answer questions raised by the instructor, and to raise one’s own questions.    

·         Position papers (20%)

During the semester, each student is expected to write 4 position papers on the weeks of their choice. A position paper addresses the respective weekly readings, and it is structured in two parts: a short description of the author’s argument and the student’s critical analysis of it.

·         Presentation (30%)

Every student must make one presentation during the semester, which could be either theoretical or practical. Theoretical presentation presumes a broader overview and a deeper analysis of literature, relevant for the class topic. Practical presentation could be prepared in group of 2-3 students, and it presumes the analysis of some cultural product (a book, a song, a movie, etc), produced in Eastern European region, from the postcolonial perspective. Presentation should take about 20 minutes.

·         Final project (30%)

During the semester, every student must conduct a research project, which consists in picking a cultural product (movie, song(s), videos, paintings) or a clusters of products that bear a colonial/imperial imprint and to analyse them from the postcolonial perspective. It could have ethnic, national, or regional relevance / sphere of circulation. The project should be presented and defended in class by the end of the semester.


According to the Dean's provision, the teacher evaluates the student's performance in the percentages assigned to grades A to F (https://fsv.cuni.cz/sites/default/files/uploads/files/S_SO_002_001_Organization_of_examination_dates%2C_assessment_of_study%2C_and_the_use_of_A%E2%80%93F_grading_scale_at_FSV_UK.pdf):

91 % and up => A

81-90 % => B

71-80 % => C

61-70 % => D

51-60 % => E

0-50 % => F

A – excellent (outstanding performance with only minor mistakes)

B – very good (above average performance with some mistakes)

C – good (overall good performance with a number of notable mistakes)

D – satisfactory (acceptable performance with significant mistakes)

E – sufficient (performance fulfils only minimum criteria)

F – insufficient/failed (more effort needs to be made).

Literatura - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D. (26.01.2023)

Recommended literature:



Bakic-Hayden, Milica (1995). Nesting Orientalisms: The Case of Former Yugoslavia. In: Slavic Review, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Winter): 917-931.

Bhambra, Gurminder K. (2022) “A Decolonial Project for Europe“. In Journal of Common Market Studies 60(2). s. 229-244.


Danijela Čanji and Aliaksei Kazharski, “When the „subaltern empire” speaks. On recognition, Eurasian integration, and the Russo-Georgian war,” Eurasian Geography and Economics, February 22, 2022, doi: 10.1080/15387216.2022.2040375

David-Fox, Michael (2006). Multiple Modernitites vs. Neo-Traditionalism: On Recent Debates in Russian and Soviet History. In: Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, Neue Folge, Bd. 54, H. 4 (2006): 535-555.

Eisenstadt, Shmuel N. (1999). Fundamentalism, Sectarianism, and Revolution. The Jacobin Dimension of Modernity. Cambridge University Press: 51-61.

Gaonkar, Dilip P. (ed.) (2001). Alternative modernities. Duke University Press.


Gerasimov, Ilya; Glebov, Sergey; & Mogilner, Marina (2013). The Postimperial Meets the Postcolonial: Russian Historical Experience and the Postcolonial Moment. In: Ab Imperio, # 2: 97-135.

Gerasimov, Ilya. Ukraine 2014: The first post-colonial revolution. In: Ab Imperio, # 3, 2014.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh (2007). Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, Princeton Umiversity Press.

Chari, Sharad, & Verdery, Katherine (2009). Thinking between the Posts: Postcolonialism, Postsocialism, and Ethnography after the Cold War. In: Comparative Studies in Society and History, 51(1): 6-34.


Chernetsky, Vitaly. (2003). Postcolonialism, Russia and Ukraine. In: Ulbandus Review, Vol. 7, Empire, Union, Center, Satellite: The Place of Post-Colonial Theory in Slavic/Central and Eastern European/(Post-)Soviet Studies: 32-62.


Kaviraj, Sudipta (2000). Modernity and Politics in India. In: Daedalus, Vol. 129, No. 1, Multiple Modernities (Winter): 137-162.

Kelertas, Violeta (ed.) (2006) Baltic Postcolonialism: On the Boundary of Two Worlds: Identity, Freedom, and Moral Imagination in the Baltics. Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi > Introduction: Baltic Postcolonialism and its Critics.

Kiossev, Alexander (2008). The Self-Colonizing Metaphor. In: Atlas of Transformation. Available at: http://monumenttotransformation.org/atlas-of-transformation/html/s/self-colonization/the-self-colonizing-metaphor-alexander-kiossev.html

Kołodziejczyk, Dorota, Şandru, Cristina (2017) Postcolonial Perspectives on Postcommunism in Central and Eastern Europe. London: Routledge.

Madina Tlostanova, „The Janus-faced Empire Distorting Orientalist Discources: Gender, Race, and Religion in the Russian/(post)Soviet Constructions of the „Orient““, Worlds & Knowledges Otherwise, Spring 2008: 1-11.

Manuela Boatca and Anca Parvulescu, “Creolizing Transylvania: Notes on Coloniality and Inter-Imperiality”, History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History, 10:1, April 2020, 9-27, DOI: 10.1215/21599785-8221398

Manuela Boatca and Anca Parvulescu (2022) Creolizing the Modern: Transylvania across Empires. Cornell University Press, 2022.


Melegh, Attila (2006). On the East – West slope. Globalization, nationalism, racism and discourses on Central and Eastern Europe, CEU Press, Budapest-New York.

Mignolo, Walter D., 2010: “Introduction: Coloniality of Power and Decoloniality of Thinking.“ In Mignolo, Walter D. a Escobar, A. (eds): Globalization and the Decolonial Option. New York: Routledge.


Moore, David Chioni (2001) “Is the Post- in Postcolonial the Post- in Post-Soviet? Toward a Global Postcolonial Critique”, PMLA, 116(1): 111-128.


Morozov, Viatcheslav (2015). Russia’s Postcolonial Identity: A Subaltern Empire in a Eurocentric World. Palgrave Macmillan.

Neumann, Iver B. (1999). Uses of the Other. “The East” in European Identity Formation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Ch. 1, 5: 1-38, 143-160.

Owczarzak, Jill, 2009: “Postcolonial Studies and Postsocialism in Eastern Europe“. In Focaal 53(April). s. 3-19.


Platt, Kevin M.F. (2013). Occupation versus Colonization: Post-Soviet Latvia and the Provincialization of Europe. In: Blaecker, Uilleam; Etkind, Alexander; & Fedor, Julie (eds.) Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe. Palgrave Macmillan: 125-148.


Riabchuk, Mykola (2016). Ukrainians as Russia’s negative óther’: History Comes full circle. In: Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 49: 75-85.

Riabchuk, Mykola. (2011). Postkolonialnyj syndrom: sposterezhennja [Postcolonial syndrome: observations]. Yuri Marchenko.

Said, Edward (1978) Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient. London: Penguin > Afterword.

Said, Edward (1993) Culture and Imperialism. London: Chatto & Windus.

Shkandrij, Myroslav (2001). Russia and Ukraine. Literature and Discourse of Empire from Napoleonic to Postcolonial Times. McGill’s University Press.

Slacalek, Ondrej (2016). The postcolonial hypothesis. Notes on the Czech “Central European” identity. In: Annual of Language & Politics & Politics of Identity, Special Issue, Vol. 10: 27-44.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, 1988: “Can The Subaltern Speak?“ In Grossberg, L. A Nelson, C. (Ed). Marxism And The Interpretation Of Culture. S. 66-111.

Thompson, Ewa M. (2000). Imperial Knowledge: Russian Literature and Colonialism. Praeger.

Timothy Snyder, “The War in Ukraine is a Colonial War,” The New Yorker, April 28, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/essay/the-war-in-ukraine-is-a-colonial-war

Tlostanova, Madina, 2012: “Postsocialist is not Postcolonial. On Post-Soviet Imaginary and Global Coloniality“. In Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48(2). s. 130-142.

Törnquist-Plewa, Barbara; & Yurchuk, Yuliya (2017). Memory politics in contemporary Ukraine: Reflections from the postcolonial perspective. In: Memory Studies, 00(0): 1-22. DOI: 10.1177/1750698017727806

Wallerstein, Immanuel (1991). The modern world-system as a civilization: Geopolitics and geoculture in I. Wallerstein (ed.), Essays on the changing world-system, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991.

Wolff, Larry, Inventing Eastern Europe. The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment, Stanford University Press, 1994.

Zarycki, Tomacz. (2014). Ideologies of Eastness in Central and Eastern Europe. Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group.


Online depositories:

Postcolonial Europe: postcolonial-europe.eu

Ab Imperio. Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Space: abimperio.net

Metody výuky - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D. (20.09.2023)

The course is theory-driven: its main objective is to master and develop a proper postcolonial vocabulary for analysing the developments and sentiments in the region.

Class work is built around focused discussions of assigned sources. Autonomous work with literature and peer learning are implied.

Several guest lectures are planned in the format "the author meets the audience".

Class presentation implies a power-point mini-lecture elcborating on the recommended sources relevant to the class's topic.

The practical project is wired towards the application of the postcolonial methodology to the analysis of cultural materials: literary, media, visual sources.

Vstupní požadavky - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Valeriya Korablyova, Ph.D. (30.01.2023)

This is an MA level course, therefore strong analytical skills and the ability to work with academic literature are requested.

Whereas the preexisting experience of work with postcolonial studies is not mandatory, a certain level of attunement to its sophisticated vocabulary would be needed.

Sufficient English language skills stand as an entry requirement: discussions in class will be held in English, and most ascribed sources are in English, too.  

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