George Klein Lecture

Portrait of George Klein

The annual George Klein Lecture is named after Dr. George Klein, a longtime member of the Western Michigan University Department of Political Science and an internationally known expert on Balkan politics and Eastern European political systems.

After his death in 1981, his widow, Dr. Patricia V. Klein, WMU associate professor emerita of science studies, created an endowment in his honor. That endowment funds the annual lecture, symposia, conferences and scholarships.

2014 lecture

April 17, 2014, Bernhard Center, 7 p.m.

"Ethnonationalist Conflict in Postcommunist States: Varieties of Governance in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Kosovo," presented by Dr. Maria Koinova, University of Warwick (UK).

2013 lecture

"Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice In Post-Communist Europe," presented by Dr. Monika Nalepa, University of Notre Dame.

This talk addressed three important conceptual puzzles.

  • First, why do autocrats step down from power peacefully if they know that
    they may be held accountable for their involvement in the ancien régime?
  • Second, when does the opposition refrain from punishing former autocrats?
  • Third, why, in some countries, does transitional justice get adopted when
    successors of former communists hold parliamentary majorities?

Infiltration of the opposition with the authoritarian regime’s collaborators serves as insurance against transitional justice, making their commitments to amnesty credible, and accounts for the timing of transitional justice across East Central Europe. The theory is applied to power transitions in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

Past speakers

“Do Citizens Rule in Postcommunist Europe and Should They?”
Andrew Roberts, Northwestern University

Dr. Kevin Deegan-Krause, Wayne State University

Dr. Ray Taras, Tulane University

Dr. Leah Seppanen Anderson, Wheaton College

Dr. Robert Hayden, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Kathleen Hill Hawk, University of Alabama, Huntsville

Dr. Igor Luksic, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Symposium: " Transitions in Process: Social, Political and Cultural Dimensions of Change in Eastern Europe"

Dr Branko Horvat, University of Zagreb

Dr Zarko Korac, University of Belgrade

Dr. Robin Remington, University of Missouri, Columbia