Course Detail

195:272: Russia Between Empire and Nation

  • SAS Core Requirement: AHp, 21C

Russia Between Empire and Nation: The Russian tsars called Moscow the New Jerusalem. The Russian emperors preferred Third Rome or Great European Power. Soviet leaders called it the Friendship of the Peoples. Reagan denounced it as the Evil Empire. Over the course of several centuries some idea of imperial dominance has been used to define how Russia has related to its many borderlands and its external neighbors. Meanwhile, for successive generations cultural elites, Russia’s vast territory has constantly presented a creative problem, inspiring pride, confusion, and resentment–sometimes all at once, in the very same people. Our course will try to understand why that is, by examining how Russian and Russophone literature and art has engaged with Russia’s complicated territorial identity, focusing especially on the last two hundred years. All readings, films, and class discussions in English. No prerequisites.
Fulfills Core requirement 21Cb. Cross-listing 01:860:272.

Required Readings:

Nikolai Gogol, Taras Bulba (Modern Library, ISBN: 9780812971194)
Leo Tolstoy, Hadji Murad (Modern Library, ISBN: 9780812967111)
Andrey Platonov, Soul (NYRB Classics, ISBN: 9781590172544)
Chingiz Aitmatov, The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years (Indiana UP, ISBN: 9780253204820)

Grading and Requirements

Paper I (4-5pp) 15%
Paper II (6-7pp) 25%
Test I 10%
Test II 10%
5 Single-Paragraph Sakai Responses 25%
Class Participation 10%
Attendance 5%