Turning memory work into a pedagogical tool, we experimented with a course at Tampere University during February-March 2020, titled Schooling and childhoods in socialist and post-socialist societies. In the course, we explored the politics of childhood and schooling, and their complex relationship, in the contexts of socialist and post-socialist societies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The course illuminated changing political regimes and societal transformations from the Cold War era to today. It also highlighted the multiple connections that existed between the “East” and “West” spanning education policies, practices, and the lived experiences of schooling.
We concluded with an online conference in which students presented their essays that engaged with a theme picked from the lectures, drawing on scholarly literature and personal experiences told as childhood memories.
We warmly thank the students for their valuable contributions. They became part of our research community during this course and we hope their interest in memory work will continue.
Our course was supported by external funding from the Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) network and the New Social Research programme at Tampere University.