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Module

HIS2259 : The Russian Empire from Peter the Great to Lenin

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Stella Ghervas
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module examines the history of the Russian Empire from the reign of Peter the Great to the Revolution of 1917 and the rise of Lenin to power. Between about 1700 and 1917, Russia was a vast empire, the largest country in the world. The Tsar Peter the Great started a drive to modernize Russia by adopting Western technology and some aspects of Western culture; he also was the first Russian ruler to be addressed with the Western title of ‘emperor’. The autocratic system created a rift between the elites and the common people, a divide that Lenin’s 1917 Revolution attempted to mend by eliminating the elite. This module will look at the flow of events that led Russia to become a primary actor in European history. Yet the huge Eurasian state also maintained specific cultural traits and political traditions, a situation that affects international relations even today. We will examine several facets of Russia (particularly politics, economy, and culture), which shaped its unique historical trajectory.

The aims of the module are:
1.       To provide historical and geographical background on the history of the Russian Empire.
2.       To give opportunities to investigate selected problems in some depth (by close scrutiny of primary sources, and detailed and critical examination of particular aspects of the latest historiography) based on a sound general knowledge of the subject.
3.       To introduce students to handling translated primary sources on the history of the Russian Empire.
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 critical sense and interpretations of sources.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module consists of 24 one-hour lectures, 11 one-hour seminars, and three hours of Surgery time.

The outline lecture syllabus is intended as a guide only, and topics may vary slightly. Its principal themes include: the development and challenges to autocratic rule; social relations within Russia; the process of imperial expansion, the nature of the Tsar’s authority; Western cultural influences and their reception in Russia; the role of religious institutions and practices; the importance of trade and of political relations with other great powers (notably the Ottoman Empire, Britain, France); the creation of a uniquely Russian cultural style; the meeting between Russians and the many different people and environments, along the borders of what became in this period the world’s largest empire; Russian colonisation and russification.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials151:0015:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion481:0048:0030% of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion481:0048:0030% of guided independent study
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities43:0012:00Film Screening
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities127:0027:00Individual and group reading and research preparation for small group teaching
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Online Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops61:006:00Workshop for discussing complex topics with whole cohort doing exercises in small breakout groups
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Workshop with whole cohort to allow break-out groups to discuss complex topics
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Essay Surgery (online)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Online
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:0020% of guided independent study
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire. They also stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem solving skills and adaptability.
Written works are an exercise on how to conduct proper academic research; they are treated as an opportunity for students to learn the historian’s craft by practice.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A1003000 word extended essay (includes footnotes, excludes bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The review essay will test the student’s ability to engage critically and deeply with the work of a practising historian, analysing the use of primary source material and developing a sophisticated understanding of and response to the argument in relation to other relevant secondary literature and broader historiographical questions, and to write lucidly and confidently to a high standard. The extended essay tests acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject as well as the ability to develop an appropriate topic, gather and synthesize information relevant to that topic, and express complex ideas clearly in written form using appropriate scholarly apparatus. All submitted work will test intended knowledge and skills outcomes and develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree. Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists

Timetable