Dr. Curtis Richardson firstname.lastname@example.org
Northwest Missouri State University 660-562-1614
HISTORY 312: HISTORY OF RUSSIA TO 1914 FALL 2011
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”—excerpt from “Ozymandias,” Percy Shelley.
“History is the autobiography of a madman.”—Alexander Herzen.
This class will survey the key cultural, social, and political events and trends in Russian history from its origins to the fall of the empire in 1917, with an emphasis on the Imperial period. We will consider the Russian experience from numerous perspectives, from high politics to everyday life. To wit, we will consider the following: the rise of Muscovy; the lives of the peasantry; westernization; the creation and experience of a multiethnic empire; the roles of and changing constructions of gender, national identity, and class and their intersections; the Great Reforms; industrialization and its impacts; the rise of the revolutionary intelligentsia; and the collapse of Tsarism. Such an approach should facilitate an investigation into the construction of the multiethnic empire, from the experience of empire to how various people conceived of the vision of empire.
In addition to offering a deeper perspective on the imperial period, this course expands upon traditional presentations through broadening the perspective to consider non-Russian lands and peoples when possible. We will thus consider how the empire was constructed over more than two centuries, not solely how particular regions were incorporated into the empire, but also what visions of empire were conceived, articulated, and received by non-Russian peoples. Thus, what were Russia and the Russian Empire and what were the ambiguities of Russia and Russians as a nation, a people, and an empire? What did the creation of an empire and these various visions impact notions of identity, civil society, and governance? In what ways did Russians conceive of themselves vis-à-vis the West?
Some of the goals of the course include the development of students' historical sense, the expansion of their perspectives of the world, and the honing of their critical thinking and ability to articulate themselves. Students will also display competence in conducting basic historical research, proficiency in the use of different genres of historical literature, and awareness of the role of interpretation in history and its impact on how we view the past.