Calendar

SESS # TOPICS DUE DATES

1

Introduction to the Course

 

2

Visualizing Russia and Thinking about Empire

Forum post due:

Look at the Prokudin-Gorsky photos, and skim the article on the Solovetsky Transfiguration Monastery. You may write about both empire and photos in your response paper, or choose to comment on one or the other.

Questions to consider:

  • How do Kivelson & Suny define empire?
  • What qualities do you think you might want to look for in Russian history in this course?
  • On Prokudin-Gorsky, what do you notice about Russian life–what technologies, what diversity, what architecture do you find most striking? 

3

Geography and Historical Background

Begin reading the lists of primary sources. Think about what you might want to write about. 

4

Muscovy

Guest: Ece Turnator, MIT Humanities and Digital Scholarship Librarian

(This week Ece and the instructor will hold required individual meetings to discuss your possible research topics.)

Forum post due:

Think about how Muscovy expanded.

  • How did the expansion, including contacts between different peoples, begin to define what it meant to be Russian?
  • How did serfdom come about?
  • Why might it have been a pillar of Russian rule?
  • Why did Muscovy almost fall apart in the Time of Troubles?
  • How did the center come to rule the different parts under its jurisdiction?

5

Peter the Great and the Petrine Reforms

 

6

From Peter the Great to Catherine the Great

 

7

Catherine the Great as Woman and Ruler

Review of primary source material due 

8

18th Century Identities and Conflicts

Forum post due:

Kivelson & Suny wrestle with the question of national consciousness.

  • What do you think it meant to be “Russian” in the 18th century?
  • How did the state deal with different estates (sosloviia), geographical regions, new territories, and different nationalities?
  • In Catherine’s reign two important critics and a challenger emerged, Prince Mikhail Shcherbatov (1733–1790), Alexander Radishchev (1749–1802) and Emelian Pugachev (1740 or 1742–1775). What aspects of Russian life did each one criticize?
  • What did Pugachev promise in his Emancipation Decree?
  • Why did Radishchev think nobles and bureaucrats should change the system?
  • Do you see any resemblances between the criticisms of Radishchev and Shcherbatov?

9

Bureaucratic Monarchy, 1796–1825: Tsars Paul and Alexander

 

10

Nicholas I and the Birth of the Intelligentsia

 

11

Bureaucracy in Literature

Viewing:

Shinel (The Overcoat). Directed by Grigoriy Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg. Black and White, 84 min. 1926.

Event:

Focus on Russia: The Lands in Between: Russia vs. The West and the New Politics of Hybrid War” with Professor Mitchell A. Orenstein

Forum post due:

  • What is Gogol saying in this story about bureaucracy, law and order, and life in St. Petersburg?

Short review of a scholarly monograph or a cluster of three scholarly articles due

12

Estate Life, Part I

 

13

Estate Life, Part II

 

14

Alexander II and the Great Reforms

Event:

Starr Forum: The Kremlin’s Global Outreach: From Cyber to Russians Abroad” with Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan

 

15

Alexander III and the Counter Reforms

Prospectus, bibliography and working hypothesis (preliminary formulation of argument) due

16

Late 19th Century Tensions

 

17

Anti-Semitism and Pogroms

 

18

Nicholas II, Industrialization, and Radicalization

 

19

The 1905 Revolution

Viewing:

Excerpt from  Battleship Potemkin. Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein, Black and White, 66 min. 1925.

 

20

The Constitutional Monarchy and World War I

 

21

The February Revolution of 1917

 

22

The October Revolution

 

23

The Age of Questions: How Do We Think About What We Have Learned and What Are Our Questions Going Forward?

Forum post due:

  • Reflecting on all you have learned this semester, what are the questions that you have found most intriguing, most unsettling?
  • What questions do you leave the course with?
  • How important do you think they are for the world we live in?
  • How might you keep trying to answer them after this course is over?

Final Paper due

24

Wrap Up and Review

 

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

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