Course Meeting Times 

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Description

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Russia began to come into its own as a major European power. Members of the Russian intellectual classes increasingly compared themselves and their autocratic order to states and societies in the West. This comparison generated both a new sense of national consciousness and intense criticism of the existing order in Russia. In this course we will examine different perspectives on Russian history and literature in order to try to understand the Russian Empire in the period from Peter the Great to the Russian Revolution.

Required Books

Antonova, Katherine Pickering. An Ordinary Marriage: The World of a Gentry Family in Provincial Russia. Oxford University Press, 2017. ISBN: 9780190616748. [Preview with Google Books]

Gogol, Nikolai. The Overcoat & Other Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions). Dover Publications,1992. ISBN: 9780486270579. [Preview with Google Books]

Kivelson, Valerie A., and Ronald Grigor Suny. Russia’s Empires. Oxford University Press, 2016. ISBN: 9780199924394. 

For additional readings, see the Readings section.

Grading Policy


Class participation and leading class

Each student will lead one class with a summary of the key issues and questions prepared in advance for everyone to consider.


Five (5) forum posts

Students will be asked to write five weekly short papers of approximately 1–2 pages responding to the readings.


One (1) 10-page analysis of a primary source

Students will write one 10-page analysis of a primary source that will examine the questions it addresses, the scholarship that has been written about it, and the students’ own close analysis of the text itself.


For more information, see the Assignments section.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2019
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments