|1||Introduction to the course|
|2||Introduction to the Russian Empire|| |
From your brief acquaintance with Russia's geography and history so far, what can you tell about the role of geography and ethnicity in Russian history?
The role of geography in Russian history; the geopolitical environment in the 18th and 19th centuries; the role of the military in the expansion of Russia; and the question of empire in Russia
|3||The Muscovite heritage|| |
Be sure to examine closely the Ulozhenie of 1649. What did it mean to be a serf in 18th century Russia? Also think about what Kollmann means by "Muscovite Patrimonialism." What do Khodarkovsky's and Slezkine's articles tell us about what it meant to be "Russian" and "non-Russian"?
|4||Peter the Great and the Petrine Reforms|| |
Analyze one aspect of Anisimov's main argument in "Peter I." What evidence from the Petrine Reform Legislation can you use to support or refute his argument? (Key aspects you might choose to focus on include: the military, bureaucracy & state organization, property relations, social relations, the trial of Tsarevich Alexei, resistance, cultural revolution, church reform.)
|5||The Age of Elizabeth and Catherine II|
|6||Critics and rebels in the 18th century|| |
What do these different forms of criticism have in common? How do they differ?
|7||Bureaucratic monarchy, 1796-1855|| |
What do you think of Alexander I's "constitutionalism" and Nicholas I's apparent "anti-constitutionalism"? Alexander I (ruled 1801-1825) has been termed "the enigmatic tsar." Nicholas I (ruled 1825-1855) might be called "the wooden tsar." How do you explain the similarities and differences between the two tsars and their approach? How do you explain the dramatic differences in their approaches from those of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great? Or do you not think they were so very different? What is the nascent criticism in the intelligentsia? How do their criticisms differ from those of the 18th century?
|8||First paper due|
|9||Bureaucracy in literature|| |
What is Gogol saying in this story about bureaucracy, law & order, and life in St. Petersburg?
|10||The institution of serfdom|| |
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?
|11||Serfdom in literature|| |
Aksakov and Goncharov both show the corrosive effects of serfdom not only on the peasants themselves but also on the nobility. Consider two or three ways in which serfdom corrupted both state and society.
|12||Alexander II and the Great Reforms|| |
What were some of the dilemmas of reform in Russia? Why do you think the reforms took the form they did? What patterns can you see in the ways they were implemented?
|13||The aftermath of the Reforms|| |
How was peasant life changed and not changed following the Great Reforms? What seem to have been their chief complaints? What were the complaints of other estates?
|14||Second paper due|
|15||Reaction and counter-revolution|| |
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?
|16||War and peace in the Caucasus|| |
Comment on the portrayal of Chechen and Russian societies, their values, their ways of interacting as portrayed by Tolstoy in this novella.
|17||Exploration and empire-building|| |
How did the Russian Empire run? What was the position of the different nationalities? Why do you think anti-Semitism was so virulent?
|18||Industrialization and radicalization|| |
Comment on either the government's engagement in the industrialization process or the politicization of labor discussed in Kanatchikov. How did the conditions discussed in Pavlov help to facilitate worker radicalization?
|19||The Russo-Japanese War|| |
Why did the tsar's ministers think this might be a "small victorious war"? Why were they wrong?
|20||The Revolution of 1905|| |
Why did the spark of revolution catch fire in 1905 when it had not in previous decades? How did the tsar and his ministers respond? What was Witte's role? Do you think Russia would be dramatically changed after this revolution?
|21||The constitutional monarchy and World War I|| |
How well do you think the constitutional monarchy worked? What were some of its strengths and weaknesses? What were some of the causes and consequences of WWI for Russia? Why was Durnovo so afraid of the war?
|22||The February Revolution|| |
How did the February 1917 revolution compare to the 1905 revolution? What were the principal issues? What do you think about Trotsky's comment that the old regime "fell like rotten fruit"?
|23||From February to October|| |
Everything changed between February and October 1917. In what ways and why?
|24||The October Revolution|| |
The October Revolution brought about the definitive end of tsarist Russia. Why? Do you think autocratic Russia could have continued in tsarist form?