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Dr Svetozar Rajak

Associate Professor

Other Titles: Senior Fellow, LSE IDEAS Centre; Masters Tutor (Summer Term)
Research Interests: Cold War; Eastern Europe; Balkans
Room: SAR.3.15
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 6404

Dr Rajak holds degrees in economics and in history. He received his PhD in history from LSE. He has been the recipient of a prestigious grant from the British Arts and Humanities Research Council and is a member of the Republic of Serbia’s Archival Legislation Working Group.

Dr Rajak's main fields of interest are the international history of the Cold War, the contemporary history of the Balkans, East Europe, and the making of the post-Cold War international system.

He is also the Academic Director of LSE IDEAS, centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy at the LSE and is the Head of the Southern Europe International Affairs Programme (SEIAP) at LSE IDEAS. Dr Rajak is the editor of the journal Cold War History, and co-editor of a multi-volume Collection of Documents on the 'Soviet-British Relations in the Cold War', sponsored by the British and Russian Academies of Sciences.

Dr Svetozar Rajak teaches the following course:

At postgraduate level:

HY465: The International History of the Balkans since 1939: State Projects, Wars and Social Conflict

HY498/99: MSc Dissertation

Dr Svetozar also supervises the following research students:

Research Student               Provisional Thesis Title                                                 
Daniel Berman Coming Soon
Laza Kekic Coming Soon


Watch Dr Svetozar Rajak talk about his course, HY465, how it is structured and how students can benefit from taking it in order to better understand the world we live in today.

Video recorded in May 2015 | All information accurate at time of recording

Dr Svetozar has also received praise for his teaching over the years. Here are a few of his students' testimonials:

"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

Dr Rajak has recently published a book Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union In the Early Cold War: Reconciliation, Comradeship, Confrontation, 1953-1957 (London, New York: Routledge, 2010). He has contributed a chapter on 'The Cold War in the Balkans, 1945-1956: From the Greek Civil War to Soviet-Yugoslav-Normalization' in Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad (eds), Cambridge History of the Cold War, Volume I: Origins (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010) and is the author of numerous articles on the Cold War and contemporary history of the Balkans.

Full list of publications on LSE Research Online