Mitchell A. Orenstein

Mitchell A. Orenstein
  • Professor of Russian and East European Studies
  • Department Chair

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    746 Williams Hall
    255 S 36th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Teaching

Current Courses (Fall 2022)

  • REES0131 - Putin's Russia

    Winston Churchill famously said that Russia "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." Strikingly, today many informed Russians would agree: no one can provide definitive answers concerning what has driven Russian public life and politics over the past decade, as it ricochetted from the mass protests of 2011 and 2012, into the Pussy Riot scandal, then the intense patriotism that drove the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine. In this course we will examine how Russians themselves communicate about and represent Russia and what this reveals about this complex society and its development. We will consider print journalism, novels, films, televised media, and the internet, paying close attention both to particular representations and to social institutions for their production, dissemination and consumption. Topics of special concern will include: conspiracy theories, representations of Russian history, collective identity and patriotism, intellectuals and elites, gender and sexuality, consumption and wealth. Putin's Russia is an introductory level course for which no prior knowledge of Russian history, culture or society is required. All readings and screenings will be in English.

    REES0131401

  • REES1570 - Russia & E Euro Int'l Affairs

    Russia and the European Union (EU) are engaged in a battle for influence in Eastern Europe. EU foreign policy towards its Eastern neighbors is based on economic integration and the carrot of membership. With the application of this powerful incentive, Central and Southeastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia have progressed rapidly towards integration with the EU (and NATO). Yet, given Russia's opposition to the further enlargement, membership is off the table for the large semi-Western powers such as Russia itself and Turkey and the smaller countries inhabiting an emerging buffer zone between Russia and the EU, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus. These in-between countries find themselves subject to intense competition for influence between Eastern and Western powers. In this context, EU countries must balance their energy dependence on Russia and need for new markets and geopolitical stability with concern for human rights, democratic governance, and self-determination. What are the trade-offs implicit in the foreign policies of Russia, EU member states, and Eastern Europe? What are the best policy approaches? What are the main opportunities and obstacles?

    REES1570401

  • PSCI0401 - Russia & E Euro Int'l Affairs

    Russia and the European Union (EU) are engaged in a battle for influence in Eastern Europe. EU foreign policy towards its Eastern neighbors is based on economic integration and the carrot of membership. With the application of this powerful incentive, Central and Southeastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia have progressed rapidly towards integration with the EU (and NATO). Yet, given Russia's opposition to the further enlargement, membership is off the table for the large semi-Western powers such as Russia itself and Turkey and the smaller countries inhabiting an emerging buffer zone between Russia and the EU, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus. These in-between countries find themselves subject to intense competition for influence between Eastern and Western powers. In this context, EU countries must balance their energy dependence on Russia and need for new markets and geopolitical stability with concern for human rights, democratic governance, and self-determination. What are the trade-offs implicit in the foreign policies of Russia, EU member states, and Eastern Europe? What are the best policy approaches? What are the main opportunities and obstacles?

    PSCI0401401

  • REES6131 - Putin's Russia

    Winston Churchill famously said that Russia "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Strikingly, today many informed Russians would agree: no one can provide definitive answers concerning what has driven Russian public life and politics over the past three years, as it ricochetted from the mass protests of 2011 and 2012, into the Pussy Riot scandal, then the Olympics, and most recently to the intense patriotism driving the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine. In this course we will examine how Russians themselves communicate about and represent Russia and what this reveals about this complex society and its development. We will consider print journalism, novels, films, televised media, and the internetpaying close attention both to particular representations and to social institutions for their production, dissemination and consumption. Topics of special concern will include: conspiracy theories, representations of Russian history, collective identity and patriotism, intellectuals and elites, gender and sexuality, consumption and wealth. Putins Russia is an introductory level course for which no prior knowledge Russian history, culture or society is required. All readings and screenings will be in English. Prerequisite: No prior knowledge of Russian is required.

    REES6131401

  • REES5999 - Independent Study

    REES5999001

  • REES9900 - Masters Thesis

    Mandatory thesis writing course for REES MA students seeking to maintain full time status and fulfill their Masters Thesis requirement, normally in the second year of the program.

    REES9900001

  • REES5570 - Russia & E Euro Int'l Affairs

    Russia and the European Union (EU) are engaged in a battle for influence in Eastern Europe. EU foreign policy towards its Eastern neighbors is based on economic integration and the carrot of membership. With the application of this powerful incentive, Central and Southeastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia have progressed rapidly towards integration with the EU (and NATO). Yet, given Russia's opposition to the further enlargement, membership is off the table for the large semi-Western powers such as Russia itself and Turkey and the smaller countries inhabiting an emerging buffer zone between Russia and the EU, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus. These in-between countries find themselves subject to intense competition for influence between Eastern and Western powers. In this context, EU countries must balance their energy dependence on Russia and need for new markets and geopolitical stability with concern for human rights, democratic governance, and self-determination. What are the trade-offs implicit in the foreign policies of Russia, EU member states, and Eastern Europe? What are the best policy approaches? What are the main opportunities and obstacles?

    REES5570401

All Courses

  • MGMT2080 - Mnging Glob & Anti-Glob

    Managing Globalization and Anti-Globalization provides students with a solid foundation in the economic history of globalization and anti-globalization, the institutions that manage the global economy, and the current challenges these institutions are facing. Students in this class will develop their own worldview about the powerful forces shaping today's international political economy and build a solid foundation for understanding the future of organizational strategy. The first half of the course focuses on the historical trajectory of globalization and learning about the institutions that seek to manage it. The second half of the course explores how institutions manage present-day global governance challenges ranging from global migration, the rise of populist anti-globalization movements, the collapse of communism, and global inequality, to disruptive technologies such as bitcoin. Format: Lectures and discussion structured to encourage maximum student participation. Requirements: midterm and final exam, a final course paper of 10-20 pages and short reaction papers dealing with the readings for the week. Supplemental activities include map quizzes, small group projects, and current events analysis.

  • MGMT2750 - Comparative Capitalism

    While we often debate capitalism as a system, the nature of capitalist economies differ from country to country and rarely match up to the ideal. Why do these differences arise? Is there a pure form of capitalism? What is the nature of capitalism in advanced and emerging economies? Why are capitalist economies often embedded in other social systems? Why do some economies grow faster than others? How do international institutions and interdependencies affect national capitalist institutions? How are the strategies of multinational corporations (MNCs) influenced by their country of origin? And how is the nature of capitalism changing today? This course provides insight into these questions as it explores the nature of capitalism around the world, with specific reference to Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, China, Hungary, Nigeria, South Africa, Singapore, Israel, Argentina, and the advanced OECD countries. Students will leave this class with understanding key differences in how capitalist economies are organized and competition over the future of the world economy.

  • MGMT8750 - Comparative Capitalism

    While we often debate capitalism as a system, the nature of capitalist economies differ from country to country and rarely match up to the ideal. Why do these differences arise? Is there a pure form of capitalism? What is the nature of capitalism in advanced and emerging economies? Why are capitalist economies often embedded in other social systems? Why do some economies grow faster than others? How do international institutions and interdependencies affect national capitalist institutions? How are the strategies of multinational corporations (MNCs) influenced by their country of origin? And how is the nature of capitalism changing today? This course provides insight into these questions as it explores the nature of capitalism around the world, with specific reference to Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, China, Hungary, Nigeria, South Africa, Singapore, Israel, Argentina, and the advanced OECD countries. Students will leave this class with understanding key differences in how capitalist economies are organized and competition over the future of the world economy.

  • PPE4998 - Directed Honors Research

    Student arranges with a Penn faculty member to do research and write a thesis on a suitable topic. For more information on honors visit: https://ppe.sas.upenn.edu/study/curriculum/honors-theses

  • PSCI0102 - Communism

    The rise and fall of Communism dominated the history of the short twentieth century from the Russian revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. As a system of government, Communism is more or less dead, but its utopian ideals of liberation from exploitation and want live on. Communism remains the one political-economic system that presented, for a time, an alternative to global capitalism. In this course, students will gain an introduction to socialist and Communist political thought and explore Communist political and economic regimes their successes and failures, critics and dissidents, efforts at reform, and causes of collapse. We will learn about the remnants of Communism in China, North Korea, and Cuba and efforts of contemporary theorists to imagine a future for Communism.

  • PSCI0401 - Russia & E Euro Int'l Affairs

    Russia and the European Union (EU) are engaged in a battle for influence in Eastern Europe. EU foreign policy towards its Eastern neighbors is based on economic integration and the carrot of membership. With the application of this powerful incentive, Central and Southeastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia have progressed rapidly towards integration with the EU (and NATO). Yet, given Russia's opposition to the further enlargement, membership is off the table for the large semi-Western powers such as Russia itself and Turkey and the smaller countries inhabiting an emerging buffer zone between Russia and the EU, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus. These in-between countries find themselves subject to intense competition for influence between Eastern and Western powers. In this context, EU countries must balance their energy dependence on Russia and need for new markets and geopolitical stability with concern for human rights, democratic governance, and self-determination. What are the trade-offs implicit in the foreign policies of Russia, EU member states, and Eastern Europe? What are the best policy approaches? What are the main opportunities and obstacles?

  • PSCI1104 - Socialism

    Socialism has become a hot topic in US politics. Some advocate it as an ideology that supports economic equality; others decry it as a path towards excessive state control. But what does the word socialism really mean? Why does it seem to mean different things to different people? What is the historical background of socialism? Are there meaningful differences between different forms of socialism or are they more or less the same thing? Which societies are socialist in practice, both past and present? What about the US? What are the different proposals US and other Socialists make today? What is their logic? How socialist are they? Are their policy ideas or bad? What effects would they have? This course will introduce students to socialism in theory and practice, with an emphasis on different models of Western social democracy and how they are impacting political discourse right now.

  • PSCI4999 - Honors Thesis

    This is the honors independent study portion of the PSCI honors program. Students may apply for the program in the spring of their junior year.

  • REES0131 - Putin's Russia

    Winston Churchill famously said that Russia "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." Strikingly, today many informed Russians would agree: no one can provide definitive answers concerning what has driven Russian public life and politics over the past decade, as it ricochetted from the mass protests of 2011 and 2012, into the Pussy Riot scandal, then the intense patriotism that drove the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine. In this course we will examine how Russians themselves communicate about and represent Russia and what this reveals about this complex society and its development. We will consider print journalism, novels, films, televised media, and the internet, paying close attention both to particular representations and to social institutions for their production, dissemination and consumption. Topics of special concern will include: conspiracy theories, representations of Russian history, collective identity and patriotism, intellectuals and elites, gender and sexuality, consumption and wealth. Putin's Russia is an introductory level course for which no prior knowledge of Russian history, culture or society is required. All readings and screenings will be in English.

  • REES1530 - Communism

    The rise and fall of Communism dominated the history of the short twentieth century from the Russian revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. As a system of government, Communism is more or less dead, but its utopian ideals of liberation from exploitation and want live on. Communism remains the one political-economic system that presented, for a time, an alternative to global capitalism. In this course, students will gain an introduction to socialist and Communist political thought and explore Communist political and economic regimes their successes and failures, critics and dissidents, efforts at reform, and causes of collapse. We will learn about the remnants of Communism in China, North Korea, and Cuba and efforts of contemporary theorists to imagine a future for Communism.

  • REES1531 - Socialism

    Socialism has become a hot topic in US politics. Some advocate it as an ideology that supports economic equality; others decry it as a path towards excessive state control. But what does the word socialism really mean? Why does it seem to mean different things to different people? What is the historical background of socialism? Are there meaningful differences between different forms of socialism or are they more or less the same thing? Which societies are socialist in practice, both past and present? What about the US? What are the different proposals US and other Socialists make today? What is their logic? How socialist are they? Are their policy ideas or bad? What effects would they have? This course will introduce students to socialism in theory and practice, with an emphasis on different models of Western social democracy and how they are impacting political discourse right now.

  • REES1570 - Russia & E Euro Int'l Affairs

    Russia and the European Union (EU) are engaged in a battle for influence in Eastern Europe. EU foreign policy towards its Eastern neighbors is based on economic integration and the carrot of membership. With the application of this powerful incentive, Central and Southeastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia have progressed rapidly towards integration with the EU (and NATO). Yet, given Russia's opposition to the further enlargement, membership is off the table for the large semi-Western powers such as Russia itself and Turkey and the smaller countries inhabiting an emerging buffer zone between Russia and the EU, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus. These in-between countries find themselves subject to intense competition for influence between Eastern and Western powers. In this context, EU countries must balance their energy dependence on Russia and need for new markets and geopolitical stability with concern for human rights, democratic governance, and self-determination. What are the trade-offs implicit in the foreign policies of Russia, EU member states, and Eastern Europe? What are the best policy approaches? What are the main opportunities and obstacles?

  • REES5001 - Introduction to Rees I

    This graduate level seminar provides an introduction to social science approaches to the study of the Eastern half of Europe and Eurasia, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, the successor states of Yugoslavia as well as the successor states of the former Soviet Union. Through a selection of articles and essays written by historians, anthropologists, sociologists, demographers, political scientists, and economists, students will explore how social scientific methodologies have been used to understand modern and contemporary society, politics, cultures, and economies of this region from the rise of nationalism in the 19th century to the current day. All readings and assignments in English.

  • REES5570 - Russia & E Euro Int'l Affairs

    Russia and the European Union (EU) are engaged in a battle for influence in Eastern Europe. EU foreign policy towards its Eastern neighbors is based on economic integration and the carrot of membership. With the application of this powerful incentive, Central and Southeastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia have progressed rapidly towards integration with the EU (and NATO). Yet, given Russia's opposition to the further enlargement, membership is off the table for the large semi-Western powers such as Russia itself and Turkey and the smaller countries inhabiting an emerging buffer zone between Russia and the EU, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus. These in-between countries find themselves subject to intense competition for influence between Eastern and Western powers. In this context, EU countries must balance their energy dependence on Russia and need for new markets and geopolitical stability with concern for human rights, democratic governance, and self-determination. What are the trade-offs implicit in the foreign policies of Russia, EU member states, and Eastern Europe? What are the best policy approaches? What are the main opportunities and obstacles?

  • REES6131 - Putin's Russia

    Winston Churchill famously said that Russia "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Strikingly, today many informed Russians would agree: no one can provide definitive answers concerning what has driven Russian public life and politics over the past three years, as it ricochetted from the mass protests of 2011 and 2012, into the Pussy Riot scandal, then the Olympics, and most recently to the intense patriotism driving the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine. In this course we will examine how Russians themselves communicate about and represent Russia and what this reveals about this complex society and its development. We will consider print journalism, novels, films, televised media, and the internetpaying close attention both to particular representations and to social institutions for their production, dissemination and consumption. Topics of special concern will include: conspiracy theories, representations of Russian history, collective identity and patriotism, intellectuals and elites, gender and sexuality, consumption and wealth. Putins Russia is an introductory level course for which no prior knowledge Russian history, culture or society is required. All readings and screenings will be in English. Prerequisite: No prior knowledge of Russian is required.

  • REES6530 - Communism

    The rise and fall of Communism dominated the history of the short twentieth century from the Russian revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. As a system of government, Communism is more or less dead, but its utopian ideals of liberation from exploitation and want live on. Communism remains the one political-economic system that presented, for a time, an alternative to global capitalism. In this course, students will gain an introduction to socialist and Communist political thought and explore Communist political and economic regimes their successes and failures, critics and dissidents, efforts at reform, and causes of collapse. We will learn about the remnants of Communism in China, North Korea, and Cuba and efforts of contemporary theorists to imagine a future for Communism.

  • REES9900 - Masters Thesis

    Mandatory thesis writing course for REES MA students seeking to maintain full time status and fulfill their Masters Thesis requirement, normally in the second year of the program.

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