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THE 379 Economics, Politics and the Ethics of Solidarity in Poland (3 credits)

Historian Timothy Garton Ash’s description of Poland’s Solidarity as "the most infectiously hopeful movement in the history of modern Europe" attests to its lasting significance. This ten million strong movement, comprised of people from diverse walks of life with disparate worldviews, played a crucial role in toppling Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, without shedding blood. This course will examine the ethical foundations and normative goals of the Polish nonviolent revolution Solidarnosc during its height in the 1980’s. It will also consider the degree to which the values and principles of Solidarity (i.e. the ethic of solidarity) have influenced the constructing a democratic, capitalist country during Poland’s transition after 1989. In addition, it will highlight the historic role of Roman Catholicism in the struggle for freedom and dignity under Communism and the church’s impact on the shape of Polish society after 1989. While the course focuses on the Polish context, debates about the relevance and possibility of an ethic of solidarity in contemporary democratic, capitalist societies will also be considered. Ethics Intensive.