UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SEHI7009 The Age of Extremes in the Balkans

UCL Credits: 15

Total Learning Hours: 150

ECTS: 7.5

Level: Advanced

Course Unit: 0.5

Term 1

Module Coordinator: Dr Bojan Aleksov

Taught By: Dr Bojan Aleksov

To find out more about this module, please contact the Module Coordinator

Weekly Contact Hours: 2.0 (1 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial per week)
Prerequisites: None
Compulsory Module for: N/A

Summative Assessment

Coursework Essay 2500 words (50%)

Coursework Essay 2500 words (50%)

Formative Assessment

To be confirmed

Module Outline

In his famous book The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991 Eric Hobsbawm describes the disastrous failures of state communism, capitalism, and nationalism. Nowhere was the tragedy of the twentieth century more apparent than in the Balkans. What initiated as the dawn of an age of liberation from old Empires and catching up with the rest of the continent turned into century of wars and violence between new nation states or within them coupled with their perpetual if not increased lagging behind the rest of Europe. This course will combine a chronological and thematic approach in order to explore the political, social, cultural and economic factors affecting such an outcome. It will look at foreign influence as well as domestic agency with the aim to unravel the great changes and lost opportunities of the recent dramatic history of the Balkans. Dominated as it was by conflict and oppression the twentieth century in the Balkans was also the time of great transformations and brilliant achievements of many Balkanites, whose trajectories will be illuminated both in lectures and reading.

There are three mutually interrelated aims of the course: 1. To acquire a body of knowledge relating to the history of the Balkans in the twentieth century, including an understanding of key historiographical debates; 2. To develop a nuanced understanding of broader concepts and methodologies relevant to the study of history; 3. To develop a variety of analytic and research skills, including the structuring of complex arguments, the assessment of secondary literature and historiographical debates, primary source criticism, and map skills. While our aim is to give the student a framework for understanding the totality of modern South-East European history and culture, students with an interest in a specific country will be able to set that subject against a broader Balkan (and European) background and submit coursework on their country of choice.

The course will be organized into ten weekly lectures and ten weekly seminar discussions. Students will have set readings to prepare each week, consisting of both scholarly articles/chapters and primary documents. Moodle will be used to provide access to some of these materials. This is a course (value: 0.5 Course Unit) for SSEES students of all departments.

Indicative Texts




Course Code



Full Year AffiliatesRegister for SEHI7009As Above 7.5
Affiliates here for Term 1 onlyRegister for SEHI7009As Above 7.5


Please note: This outline is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.