History | Heroes and Villains in Russian History
D303 | 0391 | Eklof
Above section carries culture studies credit
This introductory course examines major themes in Russian history
through the individual life stories of colorful, controversial,
mainly famous but also obscure individuals. The emphasis is on how
individuals shaped history, how they in turn were shaped by forces,
and how the private and the public intersected in their lives. The
course also focuses upon biography and memoir as specific genre or
source for approaching historical issues. Lives selected for study
vary somewhat from year to year, but include Gorbachev, Avaakum (a
church dissident), Pugachev (a peasant rebel), Kanatchikov (a radical
worker), five women revolutionaries of the 19th century, a group of
followers of Tolstoy, the first European woman to hold the post of
minister (Alexandra Kollontai) and a woman imprisoned by Stalin.
Three famous writers (Tolstoy, Chekhov and Gorky) will also be
included. Requirements: two equally weighted exams, combining an
essay question and paragraph length id's (summer); during winter and
spring semesters, weekly single page responses also required (and
equal one exam). Students are expected to complete readings in a
timely manner so that class meetings can deal with issues and
analysis as much as basic description; this will be verified by
quizzes, which will contribute to a participation grade (up to 15% of
1) J. Thompson, "Russia and the Soviet Union: A History" (this is a
brief, clear and well-written introduction to history which has
gotten positive appraisals from students who have taken this course),
4th Edition or newer.
2). Either a Course Packet, or the following books (I alternate,
depending upon the figures I focus upon in the course):
M. S. Anderson, "Peter the Great;"
Isabel de Madariaga, "Catherine the Great,"
B. Engelengel, ed., "Five Sisters," and
E. Ginzburg, "Into the Whirlwind"
No background required. Basic texts in Russian history will be
available on reserve, and on occasion the student will be required to
read in these texts.(All available for purchase, and on Reserve)
Format: lectures combined with informal classroom discussion.
Requirements: two exams and weekly quizzes on reading.