Module Catalogue 2023/24

HIS3337 : Russian Cities and Culture from Peter the Great to the Revolution (Inactive)

HIS3337 : Russian Cities and Culture from Peter the Great to the Revolution (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Stella Ghervas
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module is an invitation to visit key Russian cities through their history and culture, from Peter the Great to the Bolshevik Revolution. We will make extended stays in the two Russian capitals, Moscow and St. Petersburg; in Kiev, the capital of the ancient Rus and today’s Ukraine; in the new city of Odessa on the Black Sea; in the provincial city of Nizhny Novgorod; and in the two merchant cities of Kazan and Rostov-on-Don. During our journey, we will ask a number of questions: How were these cities created? Why did they evolve in the way they did, sometimes dramatically? What types of populations lived there and what were their cultural expressions? To answer these questions, we will examine critically a variety of primary sources written by those who planned, ruled and lived in these cities, by foreigners who visited them and by authors who re-imagined their life and history in literature.

The module goals are:
1.       To provide historical and geographical background on the varied urban realities of Russia, as well as to show commonalities and comparisons with other European cities.
2.       To impart the methods of historical research on cities and an insight on the range of themes that this research subject may cover, within and beyond Russia.
3.       To introduce students to handling translated primary sources on the history of Russian cities.
4.       To encourage students to read widely and critically in the secondary literature, and to develop their capacity for independent study.
5.       To enable students to focus on specific issues of interest and develop their own interpretations of sources.
6.       To encourage students to think about their own communities and how they have developed over time.

Outline Of Syllabus

Using works of history, literature, and film we will cover such topics as: the rationale for the location of cities; the circumstances of their foundation; trade routes; populations and demography; architectural and cultural productions; religious institutions and practices; music and theatre; and the perception of these cities in Russian culture and literature, as well as by foreigners who travelled or lived there. We will examine these topics in relation to the cities of Novgorod, St Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Odessa, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan. Each city presents an opportunity to explore specific themes in the history of cities more broadly.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will acquire:
-       A detailed knowledge of the history of cities studied in relation to their culture;
-       The ability to handle sources on Russian cities, both fiction and non-fiction;
-       An understanding of Russian cultures and their urban imaginaries.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students are expected:
-       To acquire a basic competence in the general methodology and themes of the history of cities, as well as in handling available primary sources (administrative and diplomatic sources; memoirs; voyage accounts; plans and drawings; novels, poems, films and other artistic productions, etc.);
-       To develop and deploy categories through which urban life in Russia can be discussed and understood;
-       To show competence in researching any complex community through time.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion371:0037:00Additional time for work on summative assessments
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading201:0020:00Essential background reading in secondary literature
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities301:0030:00Structured reading to prepare for primary source seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching103:0030:00Weekly group seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Drop-in surgeries for assessment preparation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study801:0080:00Wider reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Small-group seminar teaching provides students with an opportunity to summarize and ask questions about the readings, and to improve their ability to engage in debate and discussion.

Drop-in sessions are designed to help students prepare for their assessments and to bring any questions or queries regarding the module to the module leader.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A1003000 word extended essay (includes footnotes, excludes bibliography)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MStudents will give presentations of 5mins on one specific topic as a means of gaining feedback
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The extended essay will test the acquisition of a thorough knowledge of the history of Russian cities and culture. It will assess the general knowledge of history and historiography the student has gained throughout the course of the module, as well as the detailed knowledge of particular primary sources, and the student’s ability to draw on these to construct a focused and clearly-expounded argument under the constraints of time.

The ability to present ideas clearly and convincingly in oral form will be tested by (non-assessed) pre-prepared presentations in the seminars, and through ongoing group discussion.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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