Empire and Ethnicity in Modern Russian History
This colloquium offers a comparative study of the concept of empire and of the major nationalities in tsarist Russia and the USSR. It seeks to provide an antidote to a traditional Russocentric approach as well as to narrow ethnocentric views regarding the non-Russian areas. We will stress the period since the mid-19th century when national movements began emerging among many of the ethnic groups in the empire. The course will assess developments both from the perspective of the center (nationality “policy” in St. Petersburg and Moscow) and that of the non-Russian borderlands. The approach will be comparative both chronologically (e.g., the tsarist and Soviet eras) and geographically (the various regions of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union).
Each member of the colloquium will write two 5-pp. book reviews. These should clearly impart the book’s contents and also engage in internal and external criticism of the work. The reviews are due October 7 (or 9) and November 18. In addition, students in H640 (taking the class for 4 credits) will prepare a 25-pp. historiographical essay focusing on the range of interpretations and the state of the literature on a given topic. This paper should include 20-25 sources (mainly books) and is due December 18. Students enrolled in U518 (taking the class for 3 credits) will prepare a 15-pp. paper, using 15 sources. A brief oral version (15-20 min.) will be presented in class according to the schedule below. The oral report should be accompanied by a bibliography of 15 sources with copies for all members of the course. Evaluation of student performance will be based on the following components: historiographical paper–40%, book reviews–30%, and oral work–30%.