The View East

Central and Eastern Europe, Past and Present.

Student Showcase 2012


I am delighted to be able to introduce the second annual ‘student showcase’ here at The View East! Over the next two weeks I will be posting a series of short articles authored by some of my final year history undergraduates, all of whom have recently completed their degrees at Swansea University.


Last year, when introducing the first student showcase I wrote about how while reading some of the high quality work produced by some of my final year students, I had reflected that it was a shame this work was not accessible to a wider audience. Hence the idea for the first student showcase was born. This initiative received an extremely enthusiastic response from my students, from my colleagues from the History and Classics Department at Swansea, from the University Press Office (who promoted the showcase on their website) and from the many people who have read and commented on the student authored posts  here at The View East.


On a personal note, this will also be the final Swansea student showcase. At the end of this month, after two years working as a Lecturer in the Department of History and Classics on a fixed-term basis, I am leaving Swansea to take up a permanent post lecturing in History at Leeds Metropolitan University. I’m extremely excited about my new role: I’m very much looking forward to joining the History staff and students at Leeds Met and to the opportunities that the security of a permanent academic post will provide me with – so hopefully next year’s showcase will be authored by some of my Leeds Met History students! However, I am also sad to be leaving Swansea. I have thoroughly enjoyed the two years I have spent here and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the wonderful colleagues and students that I have had the privilege of working with during this time. So: thank you, all of you, for helping to make my time at Swansea so enjoyable!


The 2012 student showcase consists of a series of articles authored by final year undergraduates who will graduate next month. The authors all either researched their dissertation on a topic related to modern Russia/Eastern Europe under my supervision, or chose to take my third year ‘special subject’ The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire: Eastern Europe 1945-1989 during the last year (or, in a couple of cases, both!). All of these students consistently produced very high quality work throughout the course of the last academic year. Once again, they have all responded admirably to my invitation to write a short article based on their research for The View East.


So, by way of an introduction, the student-authored blog posts hosted here over the next two weeks will span Russia/USSR and Eastern Europe and will cover the following topics:


Week 1: Life on the Margins in Twentieth Century Russia


On Monday 18th June we begin with Siobhan Hearne’s article ‘Dangerous Women’ which presents a comparative analysis of state responses to prostitution in late imperial and post-revolutionary Russia.


This is followed on Tuesday 19th June, by Katryna Coak’s article ‘Women of the Gulag’ which provides some fascinating insights into women’s experiences of the Stalinist-era labour camps.


On Thursday 21st June Victoria Bird’s article ‘The Littlest Enemies’ explores the ways in which many children were negatively affected by the terror and repression of the 1930s, and considers how their experiences conflicted with the happy and positive images of childhood depicted in Soviet propaganda.


To conclude week one, on Friday 22nd June Samuel Threlfall writes about the development of criminal subculture in the Gulag camps in his article ‘The Rise and Fall of the Vory V Zakone’.


Week 2: Protest and Opposition in Communist Eastern Europe


During the second week of the 2012 showcase we move from Russia/the Soviet Union to Eastern Europe. On Monday 25th June, Arron Sharkey’s article ‘Operation Whirlwind’ analyses the Soviet invasion of Hungary in November 1956, the first of three short articles relating to protest and opposition in the communist bloc.


This theme continues on Wednesday 27th June, as Rebekah Young’s article ‘Dubcek’s Failings’ provides some fresh perspectives on the complex decision making process that lay behind the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechsolovakia in August 1968.


Finally, on Friday 29th June, Christian Parker concludes this year’s student showcase with his examination of the techniques and tactics used to control the rise of dissent after 1968 in his article ‘Silencing Dissent in Eastern Europe’.




June 14, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,


  1. What a great idea. I look forward to reading the articles.

    Comment by Steve Sarson | June 14, 2012 | Reply

  2. I look foward to all of the history articles. Better undersanding of recent history is most important. Thanks to you, Kelly and your students – I am most grateful.

    Comment by Roy Rushka | June 14, 2012 | Reply

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