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HIST2107 The Fall of imperial Russia

Module Overview

At the outset of the nineteenth century the Russian Empire appeared to be at the zenith of its power. 100 years later, the autocracy had collapsed, overthrown by the Bolsheviks in the 1917 revolutions. The emergence of new ideas and movements in Russia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, from both the left and the right, posed new challenges to the tsarist state. This module will trace the internal extremism that led to the collapse of the tsarist autocracy, and why the tsarist state proved unable to respond effectively to the pace of change occurring within Russia. Among the new forces emerging in this period were anarchism, Marxism, socialism and terrorism. The module will consider the rise of radicalism from the right and the problems that this too posed for the longevity of tsarism. Both had important implications for the long-term sustainability of the Russian autocracy. Considering a variety of different sources, including novels and memoirs as well as police reports and other official documents, the module will make a thorough assessment of the resulting problem of violence in tsarist society. By the end of this module you should have a firm understanding of the processes that shaped the development of the Russian state in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and, particularly, the events that would lead to the fall of the autocracy in 1917.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The course of Russian history in the late imperial period, and major events in the fall of imperial Russia
  • Major debates and controversies in the historiography of Late imperial Russia
  • Some of the major intellectual and political movements and ideas that emerged in Russia from 1812- 1917 that challenged the autocracy
  • The weaknesses of the tsarist regime and why the autocracy collapsed in 1917
  • The wider context of imperial Russian politics, government and society and how this relates to the thinkers and movements discussed in the module
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand how and why radical politics emerged in late imperial Russia
  • Consider the implications of the emergence of extreme ideas and movements for the longevity of the tsarist state
  • Recognize the internal problems of the Russian state leading up until 1917
  • Critically assess the path of development of late imperial Russia, and what type of society was emerging in the final years of tsarism
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work independently and unsupervised for extended periods of time on complex tasks
  • Display effective time management
  • Interact purposefully, productively and confidently with both your tutor and peers
  • Make valuable, critical and valued contributions to discussions and debates
  • Write speedily yet fluently for extended periods, clearly articulating your ideas
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Gather, assimilate, synthesise and interpret a range of primary and secondary material
  • Comment upon complex debates, citing relevant evidence in support
  • Demonstrate significant depth of knowledge and insight into the history of late imperial Russia
  • Draw upon your acquired knowledge in debate, essays and under timed conditions

Syllabus

Topics to be covered include: an introduction to the Russian state in the late imperial period; the emergence of state structures in Russia and new processes of nation building in nineteenth-century Russia; the impact of European ideologies in Russia; the impact of left-wing and radical movements, such as anarchists, socialists and Marxists in the nineteenth century; the public role of violence in the late imperial period, including assassinations of leading figures of the old regime; the development of the public sphere and how this facilitated the spread of both pro- and anti-state ideas; the emergence of deep social and political unrest from 1881 leading up to the 1905 revolution; the emergence of right-wing movements and ideas after 1905; the various social, political and economic problems for the tsarist state on the eve of the First World War; and, finally, the role the war itself played in the fall of tsarism in 1917.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures, which may include some group work and/or participation • Seminars including detailed reading and analysis of primary sources – including texts, images or objects Learning activities include: • In depth analysis of primary sources • Preparatory reading and individual study • Individual participation in seminars, group work and short presentations on seminar themes Discussion in seminars will help you to develop your ideas on a topic, to analyse a range of source material and to articulate a critical argument. Teaching methods include: • Lectures, which may include some group work and/or participation • Seminars including detailed reading and analysis of primary sources – including texts, images or objects Learning activities include: • In depth analysis of primary sources • Preparatory reading and individual study • Individual participation in seminars, group work and short presentations on seminar themes Discussion in seminars will help you to develop your ideas on a topic, to analyse a range of source material and to articulate a critical argument.

TypeHours
Completion of assessment task50
Revision12
Seminar12
Follow-up work20
Wider reading or practice32
Lecture24
Preparation for scheduled sessions150
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Waldron, Peter (1998). The End of Imperial Russia. 

Geifman, Anna (1993). Thou Shalt Kill. Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia. 

Marshall, Peter (2007). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. 

Pipes, Richard (1995). Russia Under the Old Regime. 

Service, Robert (2009). The Russian Revolution, 1900-1927. 

Rogger, Hans (1983). Russia in the Age of Modernization and Revolution, 1881-1917. 

Weeks, Theodore (2011). Across the Revolutionary Divide. Russia and the USSR 1861-1945. 

Berlin, Isaiah (2008). Russian Thinkers. 

Hosking, Geoffrey (1997). Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917. 

Trotsky, Leon (1971). 1905. 

Woodcock, George (ed.) (1977). The Anarchist Reader. 

Dostoevsky, Fedor (2009). Notes from the Underground. 

Trotsky, Leon (1970). My Life. 

Dostoevsky, Fedor (2009). The Devils. 

Rogger, Hans (1986). Jewish Policies and Right-Wing Politics in Late imperial Russia. 

Waldron, Peter (2007). Governing Tsarist Russia. 

Lenin, Vladimir (2009). The State and Revolution. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Examination  (2 hours) 40%
Research proposal 10%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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