Dr Svetozar Rajak usually teaches the following courses in the Department:
At undergraduate level:
HY113: From Empire to Independence: The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century (taught jointly with other members of the Department)
At postgraduate level:
HY465: The International History of the Balkans since 1939: State Projects, Wars and Social Conflict
| Watch Dr Svetozar Rajak talk about HY465, how it is structured and how students can benefit from taking it in order to better understand the world we live in today.
Dr Svetozar also supervises the following research students:
| Research student
|| Provisional thesis title
| Daniel Berman
Dr Svetozar has also received praise for his teaching over the years. Here are a few of his students' testimonials:
"HY465 was my favourite course during my Masters studies. When I chose it I already had some prior knowledge of the history of Southeastern Europe, which made me think it would be one of the 'easier' classes. Instead, it was incredibly dynamic, challenging, and demanding in the most positive of ways. Every topic we engaged with, from resistance movements during World War II, over diverging ideological pathways of Balkan states, to the violent dissolution of former Yugoslavia, opened a whole new array of questions which nudged me to go beyond the literature in search of answers. In that quest, I found sources and developed research skills that have proven invaluable, and it made my passion for the topics all the greater. I was not alone in this: the class discussions were always lively and often continued long after the class had finished. Our professor, Dr Rajak, was amazing in facilitating all of that. He taught us not only about the history of the Balkans (on which he is undeniably an expert), but more importantly, he taught us how to think, to question everything and to never settle for conveniently simple narratives. He never stifled a debate, was always willing to answer all of our queries, and always treated us not only as students but as scholars. In other words, our class was the perfect environment for learning and for making life-long connections to people passionate about the same topics as I. I will truly miss this course, but walking from it I am more excited than ever before to use the knowledge and skills I have gotten from it in my future research and career."
P. Balazic (2017/18)
"There are a number of reasons why I thoroughly enjoyed taking thiscourse. First of all, Dr Rajak is a great teacher. He cares a lot about his students and is always available to give extensive feedback and help. He knows a great deal and is clearly passionate about the subject area. Secondly, the topics covered were diverse and interesting. The main thing I'll take from this course is gaining an in depth understanding of the Yugoslav wars and Kosovo crisis. Finally, as a philosophy student, I learnt a great deal about historiography and historical methods, and I did not feel out of my depth. Overall, this was a great course, and I would thoroughly recommend it to any students interested in the Balkans, regardless of whether they have a history background or not."
O. Patel (2014/15)
"The course was excellent. Not only did it present a thorough history of a fascinating and much understudied region with an intriguing and diverse history and culture, its scope and the way the seminars were run encouraged me to challenge historical and social perceptions like no other course I have taken. Not only did it enhance my knowledge and understanding of a region whose international significance is growing, it also proved extremely significant in helping to form a more critical and questioning mindset, arguably the most important aspect of a university education."
T. Fish (2013/14)
"When I decided to enroll in a course on the History of the Balkans since 1939, I knew very little about the complexity and diversity of the region. Throughout the course, I found it very interesting to explore the effect that the Cold War and the global ideological divide had on the unity and relations within the Balkans. I also discovered the momentous role that the Balkans, especially the eventually non-aligned Yugoslavia, played in shaping the Cold War conflict. As the course progressed, it moved on to discussing the tumultuous changes that the whole region underwent as the world was moving towards a 'New World Order' and the new democratic Balkan states were grappling with post-Communist transition. I was very pleased with the course, and did not find a dull class in it; the class discussions covered a large variety of topics and ideas that resonated not only with this course, but were applicable to the conceptual study of history as a whole. I would advise this course for anyone searching to understand the intricate relationship between a shifting global environment and a region very much caught in the middle."
I. Vaivode (2013/14)
"HY465 provided me the opportunity to explore a variety of issues within the context of one geographical region. The Balkans serve as a prime case study for issues modeled throughout the rest of the world including ethnic violence, the clash of religions and cultures, the effects of macro-economic policies and ideologies on political systems, and most importantly the effects, (sometimes catastrophic) of relationships between world powers and smaller states. Dr. Rajak's teaching style enabled us as students to explore ideas and questions through vivid discussion, dispelling common stereotypes in the process. The class certainly improved my ability to think critically and communicate effectively as Dr. Rajak avidly pushed us to not blindly accept what we read, but to thoroughly analyze and compare with a variety of sources. Through Hy 465 I developed some of my closest friendships at LSE and always felt Dr. Rajak genuinely cared not only about our progress as students, but our development as leaders and human beings."
D. Wade (2013/14)
“HY465 course was, according to my opinion, the most interesting course of my Master’s year in LSE due to my personal interest on the region and the way it was taught. The structure of the course, (preparatory themes before each class, debates, presentations, and discussions that followed), was not only intellectually engaging but also very interesting. Due to this formula, I believe that I developed a deeper knowledge about subjects such as the Tito/Stalin split and the Yugoslavian Civil War (and many more), which I was not previously aware of. Furthermore, even though the focus of the course was on the Balkans, it was always given emphasis to the international framework and complexities of each subject. Due to all the above, and the personal interest and guidance of the teacher, I felt really prepared by the time of the exams. More importantly, I felt much benefited as a student and as a person on the whole. Finally, I felt that beyond the concrete knowledge I gained from the course, I was introduced to a methodology of working/thinking/writing that will benefit me on whatever I do in the future. For all the above reasons, I propose the HY465 course without any hesitation.”
A. Diamantis-Balaskas (2013/14)