History | "THE GORBACHEV REVOLUTION"
J400 | 0399 | Eklof


2:35-4:30P     TWR     BH321

Topic:  The End of the Soviet Union (1985-1991)
Above section COAS intensive writing section and also
requires registration in W333
A portion of above section reserved for majors

This course focuses upon the Gorbachev Revolution and the Collapse of
the Soviet Empire in 1991.  There are three parts to the course:  The
Tsarist and Soviet Legacy: the Gorbachev Revolution (1985-1991); and
the New Russia (1991 to present).  We will look first at the cultural
and political legacy of Imperial Russia and the impact of the
Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, as well as at "Stalinism" as a way of
life encompassing politics, economics and culture.  We will look at
how the Soviet Union changed after Stalin in the period between 1953
and 1985, and at daily life in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, when the
teacher of this course lived in Russia.  Part II will look at the life
of Mikhail Gorbachev, who rose from humble beginnings to a position of
enormous power and international fame: what was his upbringing and
education life, what events and people shaped his views? Why did he
decide to initiate a revolution in his own country, what were his
goals, who supported and opposed him, and why did perestroika
ultimately fail?  We also consider his far more successful effort to
end the Cold War, and the contradictory impact his foreign policy
triumphs had on his popularity at home.  We look carefully at the
dramatic events of 1985-91, and examine the era of perestroika both
from above (high politics) and below (daily life, how common people
experienced these events).  A concluding section will look at Russia
after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Readings will include:

Mark Galeotti, Gorbachev and his Revolution
Adam Hochschild, The UnQuiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin
Svetlana Boym, Common Places: Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia
David Remnick, Lenin's Tomb

Requirements:  weekly written responses and short papers.  Midterm
(?).