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SCAND 455 A: Baltic Politics and Society Today

Meeting Time: 
TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
MEB 237
Joint Sections: 
SCAND 590 A, JSIS A 455 A
Photo of Guntis Smidchens
Guntis Šmidchens

Syllabus Description:

SCAND 455 / JSIS A 455

Instructor: Guntis Šmidchens   Office: Raitt Hall 305 T  e-mail:   

Course Description

Three decades ago, the three North European countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - declared independence from the Soviet Union.  In 2004, they joined the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO military alliance).  Where are they today?

In Fall Quarter 2021 the course will focus on current issues, for example,

We'll also study recent events such as

We will meet (by Skype or in class visits) leading specialists and researchers of the region: Daunis Auers (author of our textbook); Asta Zelenkauskaitė (online disinformation researcher), Indra Ekmanis (editor of FPRI's Baltic Bulletin), Andres Kasekamp (professor of Baltic History and Politics at the University of Toronto), and more. 


Course Objectives

  • Learn skills useful for a job in international studies (foreign service, international business, public administration, world health, etc.): 
  • How to research and write reports about current developments in Baltic politics, military security, economy, and society. 
  • How to quickly find government documents.
  • How to navigate the web resources of the European Union, NATO, United Nations, and other international agencies. 
  • How to follow breaking news... even when the news is in languages you do not speak, in countries you may have never studied before!
  • How to present your research effectively. Your portfolio of work done for this class will be evidence of your skills as an international researcher and analyst.

Grades (students must pass all four components to pass the course)

  • Grades:  40%: Three reports (3-5 pages) on current issues in Baltic politics, economics, societies, and security.
  • 20% one report expanded to a research paper (10-15 pages). 
  • 20% Oral presentations and peer reviews of classmates' work. 
  • 20% short in-class essays responding to assigned readings.  


Catalog Description: 
Intensive interdisciplinary survey of current social, political, and economic developments in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 455; AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
May 13, 2021 - 11:26pm