For this course, students must complete a series of response papers, and a research paper.
Response papers are short papers of approximately 1–2 pages responding to the readings, and are due in sessions 2, 4, 6, 10, 11, and 15.
Read both Pipes and Kollmann very carefully. In class we will discuss degree to which Muscovite patrimonialism, as Kollmann calls it, is still relevant in Russia today. For your response paper you may either write on Kollmann alone or you may look at one or more articles on Russia today to think about the deep structures in Russia. I would also like each of you to identify one theme in the readings that you would like to keep an eye on throughout the course.
What can you say about Peter's reforms? Is there a pattern to his reforms that you can see? What do you think of the Table of Ranks in particular? The Prologue to Pushkin's Bronze Horseman is considered one of the great pieces of Russian literature of all time. What does it tell you about views of both Peter and his imperial city Petersburg?
Catherine II had a number of "enlightened" ideas about how Russia should be run. What do you think of these ideas? How did she instruct the Legislative Commission? What was her vision? Her son Paul was born in 1754. What difference might his birth and attainment of a majority have made? What difference do you think it made (or failed to make) that she was a woman and a foreigner?
What is Gogol saying in this story about bureaucracy, law & order, and life in St. Petersburg?
Kolchin's Unfree Labor is an example of comparative history at its best. What kinds of sources does he use to compare American and Russian slavery? What findings does he present that might not be as apparent if one were studying only the one or the other? What do you think is his principal thesis, and how do you evaluate it? Do you find it convincing?
Think about the difference between administration and law. What were the interrelationships between the governor and police, on the one hand, and the courts, on the other? Why did the court fail to convict in the Vera Zasulich case? What were some of the consequences of the government's failure to modernize the law? What can you say about the nature of conservative sentiment in late Tsarist Russia? Why do you think it was so pervasive? Did the revolutionaries do themselves a favor when they assassinated the tsar? Why did Constantin Pobedonostsev abhor democracy?
The research paper is developed and worked on throughout the course.
Paper topic: Please submit a one-paragraph description of your proposed paper topic.
Bibliography/Methods: Please bring to class a one-page discussion of the primary and secondary sources you will use for your paper.
Statement of possible hypothesis (one paragraph): What might be the central question you are asking or hypothesis you are trying to prove/disprove?
Statement of initial findings in your research (1–page).
Research papers due.