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SCAND 454 A: Baltic History

Baltic city
Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
MEB 242
Joint Sections: 
HSTEU 454 A, SCAND 590 A
Photo of Guntis Smidchens
Guntis Šmidchens

Syllabus Description:

Students registered for the course, click on "Modules" to find lecture topics and links to reading assignments.

This course surveys twentieth century history of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the broader Baltic region. We will pay particular attention to the experiences of individuals in historical context:  How did they respond to historical events as they unfolded, how did they affect the course of history?  Students will explore and critique a variety of primary and secondary sources used in historical research about the Baltic countries.

Course Objectives

  • Learn a detailed timeline of 20th-century Baltic History; encounter at least two different ways of writing about that timeline. 
  • Compile a biographical dictionary of Baltic history, to explore the problem of individual experiences as a component of historical narratives
  • Learn how to do critical analysis of primary and secondary sources
  • Formulate a research question, and develop a thesis to answer the question


  • Four short essays exploring the role of individuals in Baltic history 50%
  • Class participation 25%
  • Quizzes and Final exam 25%

Required Books   

  • Andres Kasekamp, A History of the Baltic States (New York, 2010)
  • Modris Eksteins, Walking since Daybreak (Boston, 1999)
  • and other primary & secondary sources, available on this Canvas website
  • Reference: Historical Dictionary of Estonia (e-book at UW Library)
  • Reference: Historical Dictionary of Lithuania (e-book at UW Library)
  • Reference: Historical Dictionary of Latvia (e-book at UW Library)

Detailed course syllabus (pdf format) will soon be available on this website.

For information about the course, contact the instructor,

Catalog Description: 
Overview of the history of the area occupied by the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Emphasizes their emergence as modern European nation-states. Era from World War I to present treated in depth, including the historical role and present situation of non-Baltic peoples, particularly Russians. Offered: jointly with HSTEU 454.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:19pm