Advanced Russian Source Reading in Historiography

Course Description: 

This course aims to offer perspectives on some key and debatable problems in historiography of medieval and imperial Russia, attacking our subjects from a non-ideological, comparative and preferably multidisciplinary angle.

More specifically, this course aims:

- to analyze comparatively and from the longue durée perspective some crucial and controversial aspects of  social, political and cultural history of Russia;

- to familiarize students with the current research  problems  of Russian and East European history, as well as to define some research issues which remain unclear, controversial and disputable, and thus most promising in terms of further research.

It goes without saying that we will foster a consistently critical approach to the present day theories and representations of Russia’s past.

Special attention will be given to (a) the specificity of Russia’s civilizational traditions; (b) peculiarities of Russia’s traditions in political culture; c) problems of accommodating cultural differences within the Russian Empire; (d) genesis of the intelligentsia, revolutionary movements and socialism in the Russian Empire.

The selection of readings may be modified to meet expectations of MA and PhD students, in function of their own research projects.

Chronologically we will be dealing with period running from Middle Ages  through the XIXth century.


Learning Outcomes: 

The course is addressed to two groups of students:

1) those who are working on Russian and East European History;

2) those who are studying other historical regions and are interested in a comparative framework - the course addresses the analyzed processes within  a larger historical context.

Students who will successfully complete the course will be well equipped with an adequate knowledge and skills to pursue their academic career both in Russian, European and East European history. By this token, the students who are planning to continue their studies and to enroll into a Ph.D. program are the most welcome.

This course will develop students’ skills to analyze critically and comparatively a range of problems in history of Russia and Eastern Europe using appropriate theoretical and historical perspectives.  Students will acquire a systemic understanding of the processes underpinning social, political and cultural evolution of Russia and Eastern Europe in Modern time. They will be able to produce  informed, argued judgments in complex questions in history of Russia and neighboring countries. 



Prerequisites: acquaintance with medieval and modern history of Russia and Europe.

Expected readings will be split in two parts: 20-30 pages per  week in RUSSIAN; 40-50 pages  per  week in English. Readings will include excerpts, book chapters and articles taken from academic studies.

During classroom discussions students are expected to provide critical comments on articles or book chapters and source excerpts. Students are expected to read all mandatory texts and participate in every class discussion. Since the range of discussed issues is broad and modifiable, students will have many opportunities to show their interests, qualification and abilities.

Instructor will suggest a list of questions about readings.  Students will be expected to comment on such questions.

Most readings will be available as pdf files. 


Assignments and  final  grade:

Grading will be  based (1) on the quality of the classroom discussions; (2) on a short written essay to be handed in at the end  of the  course; (3) on final exam / or a term paper mark.

40% -    seminar    work:    attendance;  preparedness; short oral presentations; participation in discussions.

20% - a short written essay (5-6 pages) on one of topics discussed in class;

40% - either a term paper (12-15 pages; its topic will be chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor); or the final oral exam (oral discussion on one of topics studied in our course and other issues from our course program).