Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Imaginary Course Number One: Introduction to the History of the Soviet Union


Allworth, Edward, “Mass Exile, Ethnocide, Group Derogation” in Allworth, Edward, ed., The Tatars of Crimea: Return to the Homeland (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998).

Khazanov, Anatoly, “Meskhetian Turks in Search of Self Identity,” Central Asian Survey, vol. 11, no. 4, 1992.

Hosking, Geoffry, The First Socialist Society: The History of the Soviet Union from Within (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993).

Krieger, Viktor, “Patriots or Traitors? – The Soviet Government and the “German Russians’ After the Attack on the USSR by National Socialist Germany” trans. by Venner, Catherine in Schlogel, Karl, Russian-German Special Relations in the Twentieth Century: A Closed Chapter? (New York: Berg Publishers, 2006).

Long, James, “The Volga Germans and the Famine of 1921,” The Russian Review, vol. 51 (Oct. 1992).

Martin, Terry, “An Affirmative Action Empire: The Soviet Union as the Highest Form of Imperialism,” in Suny, Ronald Grigor and Martin, Terry, eds., A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Merridale, Catherine, Ivan’s War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945 (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).

Werth, Nicolas, “The Mechanism of a Mass Crime: The Great Terror in the Soviet Union” in Gellatey, Robert and Kiernen, Ben, eds., The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Course Description

This course is an introductory survey course of the history of the Soviet Union. It will cover political, economic and social changes in the USSR from the time of its founding until its collapse. Important political events that will be covered include the Bolshevik Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Terror, World War II, and the reforms of the Khrushchev era. Special emphasis will be given to the role of World War II in Soviet history and the multinational nature of the USSR. In particular the course will cover how different nationalities in the Soviet Union experienced and remembered the Second World War.

Course Requirements

This course will consist of lectures based upon the assigned readings and two assigned papers. The first paper will require the student to trace the development of one aspect of Soviet government policy such as nationalities, agriculture, industry or the penal system from the 1920s through the 1930s. It should be between 1500 and 2000 words and is due at the start of week nine. The second paper will require library research in addition to the assigned class readings. For this paper students should pick one Soviet nationality and discuss their collective memory of World War II. The paper should be between 2500 and 3000 words and is due at the start of week fourteen. Plagiarism will result in failure of the course and notification of the Dean.


First Paper 25%
Second Paper 50%
Class Participation 25%


Week 1 Introduction

Week 2 The Bolshevik Revolution

Chapters 1 and 2 in Hosking, pp. 15-56

Week 3 War Communism

Chapters 3 in Hosking, pp. 57-92 and Long

Week 4 Nationalities in the 1920s

Chapter 4 in Hosking, pp. 93-118 and Martin

Week 5 Economic Transformation in the 1930s

Chapters 5 and 6 in Hosking, pp. 119-182

Week 6 The Great Terror

Chapter 6 in Hosking, pp. 183-204 and Werth

Week 7 The USSR on the Eve of the Great War

Chapter 8 and 9 in Hosking, pp.205-260

Week 8 Work on First Paper

Week 9 The Nazi Invasion of the USSR

First paper due at start of class. Chapter 10 in Hosking, pp. 263-295, Chapters 1-4 in Merridale, pp. 1-152, and Krieger

Week 10 Victory over Germany

Chapters 5-11 in Merridale, pp. 153-388

Week 11 Political and Economic Changes in the USSR after World War II

Chapters 11-13 in Hosking, pp. 296-401

Week 12 Nationality in the USSR after World War II

Chapter 14 in Hosking, pp. 402-445, Allworth, and Khazanov

Week 13 Work on Second Paper

Week 14 The End of the Soviet Union

Second paper due at start of class. Chapter 15 in Hosking, pp. 446-501

Week 15 Conclusion

1 comment:

Grant Jones said...

Sounds like a great course, I don't suppose it will be offered soon at UC Berkeley.