HISTORY 432 - Medieval and Early Modern Russia
Fall 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


In February 2022, Russia invaded the independent country of Ukraine and began a long, bloody, destructive war. Part of the pretext for the invasion was that Ukraine ‘had always been part of Russia, had never had an independent history, and should rightfully be part of an Orthodox Christian Russia.’ The stories people tell about history make a difference, in this case a deadly difference.

The history of medieval Rus (a term for the principalities that made up the territories we now call Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus) and of early modern Russia is fascinating and strange. In light of current events, understanding that history takes on new urgency. Should we even include Ukraine and Belarus in a course on Russian history, or is that an act of imperial appropriation?

The course begins the ninth century, when written records begin, and ends with Peter the Great at the beginning of the eighteenth century. We will touch on the major debates in the early history of the region: the Vikings in Russia, Kyivan Rus, conversion to Orthodoxy, the Mongol invasions, the influence of the Orthodox Church, the bloody reign of Ivan the Terrible, imperial expansion in Siberia and Ukraine, and radical changes under Peter the Great. We will read works of literature, examine art and architecture, consider the significance of Russia’s Eurasian expansion, and explore the unique ideas about gender that structured all aspects of life. The class will be run primarily as a discussion seminar, allowing time to grapple with issues. Brief lectures will provide context as needed.

Course Requirements:

  1. Midterm (in class)
  2. Review of a primary source (3-4 pages)
  3. Review of a scholarly monograph (3-4 pages
  4. Research paper building on the previous two papers (7-9 pages)
  5. Attendance and active participation at all lectures and discussions.
  6. Short assignments arising

Intended Audience:

Any interested students willing to grapple with ideas and fascinating material

Class Format:



HISTORY 432 - Medieval and Early Modern Russia
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for HISTORY 432.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for HISTORY 432 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)