- Department: History
- Module co-ordinator: Prof. David Moon
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: I
- Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
- See module specification for other years: 2018-19
This module examines major themes in the history of tsarist Russia between two major crises. In 1613, the election of first Romanov tsar, Michael, marked the end of the 'Time of Troubles' when the state nearly collapsed. Two and half centuries later, the then mighty Russian Empire was defeated by Britain, France and the Turkish Empire in the Crimean War of 1853-56. In between these crises, Russia's tsars acquired considerable power over their population and a vast empire that extended across three continents.
This module considers how the tsars were able to attain autocratic power and how they exercised it. We will pay particular attention to the major personalities of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Both drew on western European models to shape their empire. Another major theme is how, why and with what consequences the tsars were able to build an enormous empire. By the end of the eighteenth century, it extended from Poland and Finland in Europe, across Siberia in northern Asia, to Alaska in north America. We will also consider the social history of a country whose population was made up overwhelmingly of peasants.
The lectures will address major themes in the history of tsarist Russia. The discussion groups will allow us to explore major themes in greater depth by analyzing primary sources. The module assumes no prior knowledge of Russian history.
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The aims of this module are:
Students who complete this module successfully will:
This 20-credit module consists of 16 twice weekly lectures delivered in weeks 2-9 plus one round-up session in week 10, and eight 90 minute discussion groups.
The likely lecture programme will include the following (please note - some topics are covered by more than one lecture) :-
Discussion groups will deal with a range of key topics, such as:-
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Students will be required to write a 2,000-word procedural essay for formative assessment, due in either week 5 or week 7 of the autumn term. They will then complete a 2,000-word essay for summative assessment, due in week 1 of the spring term.
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Following their formative assessment task, students will typically receive written feedback that will include comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission.
Work will be returned to students in their discussion groups and may be supplemented by the tutor giving some oral feedback to the whole group. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback on their procedural work with their tutor (or module convenor) during student hours. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.
For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.
For term time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the course starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:
Hughes, Lindsey. The Romanovs: Ruling Russia 1613-1917. London: Continuum, 2009.
Wirtschafter, Elise. Russia's Age of Serfdom 1649-1861. Blackwell Publishers, 2008.
Hosking, Geoffrey. Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917. London: Fontana, 1998.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses
The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.
Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.