BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
The Making of Modern Russia

Unit code RUSS20251
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Russian & E. European Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course aims to introduce students to the study of Russia from a variety of different perspectives (e.g. historical, cultural, social and political). The course is structured around a series of pivotal events that have shaped Russia’s development from the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725) to the reign of Nicholas II (1894-1917). Each event is examined in its appropriate historical context, through documentary evidence, cultural artefacts and contemporary debates, as well as through scholarly works. The relevance and legacy of the selected events for Russia’s present and future are also considered. 

Aims

  • to help students develop a solid understanding of Russia’s pre-Soviet past;
  • to provide a foundation for exploring specific aspects of Russian culture, history and society in greater detail at Levels 2 and 3
  • to develop students’ skills at analysing and understanding primary and secondary sources;
  • to develop students’ skills at presenting cogent arguments, both in writing and orally.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • make effective use of relevant resources; 
  • critically evaluate different approaches to and interpretations of events in Russian history;
  • present their written work in a coherent, well-structured and well-articulated form;
  • present and defend their views orally;
  • manage their time effectively.

Syllabus

  • Week 1: Course Introduction: Russia before Peter the Great
  • Week 2: The Founding of St. Petersburg (1703)
  • Week 3: The Pugachev Rebellion (1773-1775)
  • Week 4: The Battle of Borodino (1812)
  • Week 5: The Decembrist Uprising (1825)
  • Week 7: The Slavophile-Westerniser Debates (1840s)
  • Week 8: The Siege of Sevastopol (1854-1855)
  • Week 9: The Emancipation of the Serfs (1861)
  • Week 10: The First Russian Revolution (1905)
  • Week 11: The Stolypin Reforms (1906-1911)
  • Week 12: Course Conclusion

Teaching and learning methods

One one-hour lecture and one two-hour seminar per week.

The Blackboard site will contain an extensive range of materials including the course syllabus; lecture handouts and slides; coursework assignments and guidance on how to complete them; and sample exam questions.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will have:

  • a knowledge of Russia’s cultural and historical developments from the Petrine era to 1917
  • an ability to situate individual events in the specific context of their time
  • an understanding of the impact of history on current events in Russia today
  • an appreciation of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Russia
  • an appreciation of the range of sources that can be used for studying a particular historical event

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • situate individual historical events and primary sources in the specific context of their time;
  • understand the impact of history on current events in Russia today;
  • appreciate interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Russia
  • appreciate the range of sources that can be used for studying a particular historical event

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • analyse and understand primary and secondary sources of various types;
  • make effective use of primary and secondary sources to develop cogent arguments, both in writing and orally;
  • present their written work in a coherent, well-structured and well-articulated form;
  • work successfully in groups with others.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • the ability to gather, synthesise and organise material from a  variety of sources and to critically evaluate their significance;
  • the ability to construct and defend arguments, both in writing and orally;
  • the ability to work in a team, recognising different opinions and approaches and using them to best advantage;
  • the ability to work to deadlines.

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Length

Weighting within unit

In-Class Presentation (in groups)

 

Essay

 

Written Exam

 

20 minutes + 5 minutes of Q&A

 

1500 words (Level 1)/2000 words (Level 2)

90 minutes

20%

 

 

40%

 

40%

 

 

RE-SIT ASSESSMENT

Assessment task

Length

Written Exam

90 minutes

 

Feedback methods

  • written feedback on group presentation;
  • written feedback on essays ;
  • oral feedback on exams when requested;
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment), on the understanding that this de-anonymises marking.

Recommended reading

Freeze, Gregory, ed., Russia: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. and Mark D. Steinberg, A History of Russia, 8th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Hosking, Geoffrey, Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997)

Hosking, Geoffrey, Russia and the Russians (London: Allen Lane, 2001)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rachel Platonov Unit coordinator

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