New Jean Monnet Teaching module

Press release

Support for teaching module on EU foreign policy towards the post-Soviet space

Professor Andrey Makarychev, CEURUS scholar and visiting professor at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies secured funding for developing a new Jean Monnet teaching module within the existing MA courses in International Relations and Regional Studies as well as EU-Russia Studies. The module will focus in particular on EU policies towards Russia and the post-Soviet states. Over the course of three years, starting this fall, Professor Makarychev and his team will develop two new courses on “Regionalism and Integration in a Wider Europe” and on “The State and the Body: a Biopolitical Perspective” as well as revise and update an already existing course entitled  “From Ideas to Reality: Europe and Russia.” Moreover, the material on EU-related topics within two additional courses on “Globalization” and “Foreign Policy Analysis” will be enhanced. The project will significantly strengthen Tartu University’s teaching and learning profile in the area of EU-Russia studies.

The team around Professor Makarychev include Thomas Hoffmann, Francisco Martinez, Abel Polese from Tallinn University and Alexandra Yatsyk  from Kazan Federal University.

About the project:

The rationale for this module stems from the realization that in the current situation of growing conflictual uncertainty in Europe’s eastern flank we need to drastically improve the quality of our teaching about EU policies towards Russia and countries of common EU-Russia neighborhood. Countries as different as Germany and Ukraine in recent months decided to establish new think tanks with the purpose of studying Russia, yet these projects face the deficit of highly qualified specialists on Russia. The task of educating and training a new generation of Russia experts concerns first of all Universities that attract growing numbers of international students from all across Europe, including post-Communist countries. The University of Tartu is one of those institutions with a steady reputation of being home to many of its teaching staff closely dealing with EU-Russia studies, and geographically located in close proximity to Russia, which facilitates cross-border exchanges and cross-border spill-over effects

The specific objectives of this project are to significantly restructure courses with the aim of giving students a wider perspective on the EU policy towards Russia and other post-Soviet countries, combining approaches and vocabularies of different disciplines; and to upgrade the technical background of the variety of courses through developing new video and audio tools and interactive techniques that will increase students’ involvement in debates. The project introduces an EU angle into some fields in which the EU plays an important role. As a result of the ongoing reform of study programmes, the course included in the module have become more contemporary and interdisciplinary. In order to achieve these results, the traditional lecture format has been reduced and the learning process takes place through seminars and other forms of active learning, during which students already work on specific cases.

The main target groups of this project are students of the social sciences, but also other areas of studies. Students will be strongly involved in shaping elements of these courses by using various inter-active treaching&learning modes such as posting questions in online discussions (to be moderated by instructors), designing the structure of group presentations and field work research, and giving their feedback after the end of each course. For improving quality of educational process in this area of specialization, the EU-related part has to be more strongly problematized and scrutinized from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The project contributes to stimulating knowledge on the EU by means of explaining the intricacies of the two-fold process of a) elaboration of EU foreign policy priorities towards Russia and other eastern neighbours aimed at boosting their transformative potential, and b) the neighbours’ reverse impact on the EU through either accepting or rejecting EU policies and thus either strengthening EU identity as a “normative power” or, vice versa, challenging it.

The visibility of resources and activities will be enhanced through this project by means of using a variety of tools available in the University of Tartu (UT): a) students attending the module courses will be integrated in academic seminars and workshops held by the host University; in particular, they will be given an option to write their final assignments based on their experience of participation in these events (conferences, book presentation seminars, public lectures, etc.); b) each of the courses includes at least one guest lecture to be given by one of visiting scholars who regularly come to UT for research purposes; this widens students’ horizons and gives them a chance to be aware of a wider scope of academic voices in different disciplines; c) academic publications by teaching staff will be directly integrated into the course structure to familiarize students with the most recent research results of the UT and international faculty.

For more information, please contact Professor Andrey Makarychev: andrey.makarychev[at]