History | Heroes and Villains in Russian History
D303 | 8318 | Eklof

Above class carries Culture Studies credit
Above class open to undergraduates and EDUC MA's only
Above class meets with REEI-R500

This course examines major themes in Russian history through the
lives of colorful, controversial, mainly famous, but also obscure,
individuals.  We examine biography and memoirs as historical
sources, and focus upon the connection between the private and
public, the individual and society.  We look at the myth-making
process surrounding their lives to learn what such myths, as much as
the truth of their lives, tell us about Russian identity and its
search for a “usable past” (a term to be discussed in the course).
We watch and analyze popular films and “documentaries”, again, to
address how myths are constructed and why certain figures occupy a
permanent place in the Russian or Western imagination.

This year we will look at Ivan the Terrible and the consolidation of
the Russian [Muscovite] statehood;  the obscure religious icon
painter Andrei Rublev; a  peasant and religious rebel Stenka Razin
and Avvakum,  legendary rulers Peter the Great and Catherine the
Great, the “blessed”  Alexander I, victor over Napoleon in 1812;
populist female revolutionary and “terrorist” Vera Figner;  two
powerful Russian statesmen, Witte and Stolypin, who tried to
modernize Russia on the eve of World War I, Nicholas and Alexandra
[the “last Romanovs” ] and their “friend” Rasputin

Requirements:  There will be three take home exams (@25%).   The
format will be a combination of informal lecture and discussion and
for that reason it is important that you regularly come prepared.  I
will periodically quiz you to encourage such preparation, thus to
enhance the interactions in class (quizzes will cumulatively amount
o 25% of your grade).

Readings:  [list is tentative]
A concise textbook history, possibly Roger Bartlett, "A History of

John Channon, "A Map History of Russia"

Biographies of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great

Other short readings on E-Reserve [also available for purchase as a

Please note; requirements/grading are subject to change before the
first class.