Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
The following syllabi come from a variety of different terms. They illustrate the evolution of this course over time, and are intended to provide alternate views into the instruction of this course.
Spring 2011, Elizabeth Wood (PDF)
Spring 2010, Elizabeth Wood (PDF)
Spring 2009, Elizabeth Wood (PDF)
Spring 2008, Elizabeth Wood (PDF)
Fall 2006, Elizabeth Wood (PDF)
Spring 2006, Elizabeth Wood (PDF)
Spring 2005, Elizabeth Wood (PDF - 1.5MB)
Spring 2003, David Woodruff and Elizabeth Wood (PDF)
At its greatest extent the former Soviet Union encompassed a geographical area that covered one-sixth of the Earth's landmass. It spanned 11 time zones and contained over 100 distinct nationalities, 22 of which numbered over one million in population. In the 74 years from the October Revolution in 1917 to the fall of Communism in 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, its leaders and its people, had to face a number of difficult challenges: the overthrow of the Tsarist autocracy, the establishment of a new state, four years of civil war, a famine, transition to a mixed economy, political strife after Lenin's death, industrialization, collectivization, a second famine, political Show Trials, World War II, post-war reconstruction and repression, the "Thaw" after Stalin's death, Khrushchev's experimentation, and Brezhnev's decline. Each of these challenges engendered new solutions and modifications in what can be loosely called the evolving "Soviet system."
Students will be asked to write three papers over the course of the semester, totaling twenty pages in length. Grading in the course will be determined as follows: 15% for attendance and participation; 60% for the three papers (20% each); and 25% for the final examination.
Grades are assigned as letters and then combined using the above weights and following numerical equivalents: A+=4.3, A=4, A-=3.7, B+=3.3, B=3, etc.
Participation grading will not be highly differentiated. Regular attendance guarantees a B, infrequent participation – a B+. Any student who participates regularly will receive an A-; thought-provoking participation will earn an A or A+.
Standards for grading the papers are as follows:
A Excellent thesis, excellent execution
A- Interesting to excellent thesis, good to excellent execution
B+ A good thesis, good execution
B Summary of others' thoughts (no original thesis!)
B- Poor summary of others' thoughts
C+ and below Increasingly inadequate thought and effort
Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Russian Revolution. Oxford University Press, 1994.
Sakwa, Richard. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991. Routledge, 1999.
Khomiakov-Andreev, Gennady. Bitter Waters: Life and Work in Stalin's Russia. Westview Press, 1998.
Pelevin, Victor. Homo Zapiens. USA: Penguin, 2003.