Why do so many people still support communist ideas? Why were totalitarian regimes so strong yet fell apart relatively quickly and suddenly? This course will examine the various dimensions of the communist society and ideology. As a motivation and a guide we will use Milan Kundera’s famous novel, The Joke, which depicts the rise of communism in 1948 and its demise in the sixties. Through this text the following topics will be analyzed in detail: Communist ideology, folklore, religion, economy, political trials, repression, education, socialistic realism and cult of communist heroes, among others. Guest speakers will also talk about their own experience with communism and communist ideology. Program will be relatively flexible to allow for quest speakers.