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The University of Southampton

HIST1058 Russia in Revolution, 1905-1917

Module Overview

The module will investigate in depth one of the most formative events in twentieth-century world history then examine the interplay between political, economic, social, military and ideological aspects of revolution in Russia between 1905 and 1917. To conclude we will engage with debates between historians on both the causes and outcomes of the revolution.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the chronology of events and processes of the revolutionary period
  • the international significance of the revolution
  • the influences on historians of the revolution
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify elements of continuity in a period of profound turmoil
  • evaluate a variety of interpretations of a controversial subject
  • assess the impact of later events on those interpretations
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically engage with both primary and secondary texts (in English)
  • write cogently within a common academic framework and to deadline
  • write cogently under pressure of timed unseen examination
  • participate confidently in seminar discussions.


We will begin with an examination of the first revolution (1905) to shake the foundations of autocratic rule in Russia, and assess the prospects for the development of a constitutional monarchy. We then address the issue of whether Russia’s experience in the First World War was the cause or catalyst for the next popular uprising which overthrew tsarism early in 1917. We will next make a detailed case study of events in the capital over the following eight months, resulting in the Bolshevik seizure of power. Political debates will be a major focus, with assessment of key figures. We will also consider the wider context, including ways in which the social movements in the country as a whole developed and inter-related. Interpretations of the Revolution will be studied in the context of developments in western (Cold War, revisionist) and Russian (Soviet, post- communist) scholarship. We will conclude with consideration of the Revolution’s significance, both immediate and long-term.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • lectures (one hour, each week) • complementary seminars (also one hour, each week) • essay tutorials Learning activities include • guided as well as independent reading in preparation both for classes and assignments • development of a range of analytical and organisational writing skills through the two forms of assessment

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Martin Miller (2001). The Russian Revolution. 

Robert Service (2000). Lenin: A biography. 

Jane McDermid & Anna Hillyar (1999). Midwives of the Revolution: Female Bolsheviks and women workers in 1917. 

Orlando Figes (1996). A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924. 

James D. White (2001). Lenin: The Practice and Theory of Revolution. 

Ronald Kowalski (1997). The Russian Revolution 1917-1921. 

Edith R. Frankel, Jonathan Frankel & Baruch Knei-Paz (eds.) (1992). Revolution in Russia: Reassessments of 1917. 

Richard Pipes (1990). The Russian Revolution 1899-1919. 

Robert B. McKean (1990). St. Petersburg Between the Revolutions: Workers and Revolutionaries June 1907-February 1917. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  you will have the opportunity to discuss preparation for the formal assessment with the tutor  you will also be encouraged to discuss your participation in class discussions with the tutor


MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (1000 words) 20%
Essay  (2000 words) 40%
Examination  (1 hours) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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