Current Events in the Classroom
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Communism is a “Political theory advocating community ownership of all property, the benefits of which are to be shared by all according to the needs of each”. With the outbreak of the Cold War, America became paranoid and afraid of all communist nations. This fear transcended all levels of society and included higher education. Although the end of the Cold War is often considered to be in 1991 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, tensions were only exceptionally heightened between the United States and communist nations (specifically Russia) for the duration of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The 1970’s saw a decrease in outward fear and hostility and a shift toward an effort to understand communism. This effort to both analyze and understand led to the creation of a variety of courses aimed at providing students with an in-depth knowledge of Communist and Marxist theory.
Each of these courses were available throughout the 1970’s. Today, the only course offered regarding the Soviet Union, or communism generally, is entitled POSC 337 Politics of Russia and the Former Soviet Union. This course “involves comparative analysis of the development and dynamics of political regimes in Russia and the Former Soviet Union. Attention is given to pre-communist, communist, and post communist politics and to explaining political and economic trends since 1991”. The course is a lone remnant of the communism obsessed department past. The Political Science department of Madison College has always made an effort to be relevant and progressive. Communism has been replaced with a focus on Middle Eastern, third world, and East Asian studies; all of which are extremely relevant in the current political climate. During the 1970’s, the courses offered achieved the department’s aim to be relevant and competitive and molded the program into a respected and sought after Department of Political Science.
James Madison University Graduate Course Catalog. Harrisonburg: James Madison University, 1974. Print.
“Communism.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communism>.