UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SESS0050 - The Crisis of 1989 and the New Global Revolution

UCL Credits: 30

Total Learning Hours: 300

ECTS: 15

Level: Advanced

Course Unit: 1cu

Term 1 & 2

Module Coordinator: Dr Sean Hanley

Taught By: Dr Sean Hanley, Dr Tim Beasley-Murray, Dr Filipa Figueira, Dr Peter Zusi, Dr Kristin Roth-Ey, Dr Dan Brett

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

Weekly Contact Hours: 3.0
Prerequisites: SESS2012 or SESS2101
Compulsory Module for: Year 3 HPE Students

Summative Assessment

3000-word essay (weighting 50%) and a 2 hour unseen exam (weighting 50%)

Formative Assessment

Group Project

Module Outline

The ‘Revolutions of ‘89’ in Eastern Europe and the USSR have variously been understood as: processes of regime change and democratisation; a new model of revolutionary change; a historical counterpart to the Great Revolutions of 1789, 1848 and 1917; an episode of imperial collapse; the implosion of economically irrational systems; the triumph of Western ideologies of liberal democracy and liberalism; and as a historical moment when lost traditions of critical civil and intellectual engagement were rekindled. 

 This multi-disciplinary module explores the collapse of communism from 1989 in a global, comparative and historical context and from a variety of perspectives. As well as considering the immediate events, institutions and processes surrounding the demise of state socialism, it introduces a range of historical and comparative reference points which can be used to understand the ‘Revolutions of ‘89’ – and considers how the 1989 revolutions themselves can be used as a prism to explore contemporary processes of change and to understand the contingent and potentially fragile nature of all economic and political systems. Its distinct thematic focus allows students to develop a genuinely multi-disciplinary perspective by bringing together and critically contrasting insights gained in the study of economics, history, political science and economic and political ideas undertaken earlier in the HPE programme.


This module is not open to affiliate students. 

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