HISTORY 433 - Russia Under the Tsars: From Peter the Great to the Revolutions of 1917
Fall 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


A powerful state and imposing international military force are shaken under the pressures of terrorism, political extremism, and fiscal irresponsibility, exacerbated by the pressures of unending war. This may sound like the US today, but it refers here to the historical experience of Russia, 1917. In this unusual team-taught course, we will study the currents of Russian and Western thought that clashed and combined to form a uniquely Russian cultural mix in the centuries between 1700 and 1917. Beginning with the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725), the Russian Empire began a long and difficult process of economic, social, and cultural development within the framework of tsarist autocracy. Russian elites came to set the standards for the European world with their cultural production -- great music, ballet, literature, art, philosophy, and science -- but they built their glittering world on the back of oppressed peasants. At the same time, imperial forces swept across the Eurasian continent, building a vast, religiously and ethnically diverse empire. For two centuries the emperors and empresses held together their many lands and peoples through a combination of repression and reform. By the early 20th century tsarism proved to be unable to resist any longer the social forces it had done so much to create. TENTATIVE Book List: Five Sisters: Women Against the Tsar, edited and translated by Barbara Alpern Engel and Clifford N. Rosenthal (New York: Schocken Books, 1977, c1975). Russia’s Empires, ed. by Valerie A. Kivelson and Ronald Grigor Suny (Oxford University Press, 2016). Days of a Russian Noblewoman: The Memories of Anna Labzina. 1758-1821, ed. and trans. by Gary Marker and Rachel May (DeKalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois University Press, 2001). Leo Tolstoy, “The Cossacks,” any edition. PLUS: Additional readings – those from books or journals other than the four books listed for purchase – will be posted on Canvas.

Course Requirements:

There are no pre-requisites. 1. Attendance at all lectures and participation in discussion is required (15%). 2. Take-home midterm exam (15%). 3. Take-home end-of-term summary think piece (not a final!) (20%). 4. Research Paper based on a primary source (8-10 pp.) (Total of research assignment = 50%). This assignment will be approached in segments, low stakes steps toward the end result, the final paper: a. short review of book-length primary source (2-3 pp) (15%). Sources can be selected from a list provided, or you may choose your own, but it must be approved well in advance by the professor. b. short review of a scholarly monograph or a cluster of 5 scholarly articles on a related topic (2-3 pp) (10%). This will get you started on your research. c. prospectus, bibliography and working hypothesis (i.e., preliminary formulation of argument) (5%) individual meetings with professors, by appointment. e.) Final Paper (20%).

Intended Audience:

All interested students.

Class Format:

Lecture and discussion.


HISTORY 433 - Russia Under the Tsars: From Peter the Great to the Revolutions of 1917
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM

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