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CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
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(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: Jan. 24, 2001

Cornell University professor to speak at UI about transitions to democracy

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Why did some former communist countries make a peaceful transition to democracy while, for other countries, the end of communism meant warfare and new forms of authoritarianism? Valerie Bunce, professor of government at Cornell University, will address this question in two public events at the University of Iowa.

Bunce will speak on "Building Democracy: Lessons from the Postcommunist Experience," Thursday, Feb. 1 in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol from 7:30-9 p.m. She will also give a research presentation Friday, Feb. 2 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Schaeffer Hall Commons Room (Room 302). The topic is "Peaceful versus Violent State Dissolution: The Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia versus Yugoslavia."

Both speaking events are free and open to the public. Bunce's visit is sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) and the University of Iowa department of political science. Bunce is visiting the UI as part of the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorship Program.

Bunce is a renowned scholar of comparative politics and one of the most prominent figures in the interdisciplinary study of communist and post-communist systems. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1976 and was influential in the first cohort of scholars that moved beyond simple models of totalitarianism and the analytical method of Kremlinology.

In recent years she has played a prominent role in redefining research paradigms and agendas in the wake of communism's collapse. She has been elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, which is the leading organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Russia, Central Eurasia, and Eastern and Central Europe. Bunce has published more than 50 articles and two books, the most recent of which is "Subversive Institutions: The Design and Destruction of Socialism and the State" (Cambridge 1999).

For special accommodations or more information on her public lectures, contact the UI department of political science at (319) 335-2358 or CREEES at (319) 335-3584.

The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program was established in 1978-79 with the income from a bequest to the University by the late Ida Cordelia Beam of Vinton.