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HISTORY 2Q03 Imperial Russia

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Tracy McDonald

Email: tmcdon@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 627

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24148


Office Hours: Mondays 3:30-5:00 pm

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to provide students with a background in Russian Imperial History from the Church schism of 1640 to the Revolution of 1917. Students will be asked to follow a series of themes through time, including: the challenge of rule, economic development, identity and societal layers, food supply, and culture. By the end of the course students will have experience interpreting primary documents, discussing primary and secondary sources, and writing analytical essays.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Hosking, Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917.  Harvard, 1997

Riha, Readings in Russian Civilization, Vol. 2 Paperback 2nd edition Univ. of Chicago Pr (Sd) ISBN: 0226718557

Turgenev, Fathers and Sons. Oxford Paperbacks, 2008.


Method of Assessment:

Course Requirements:

Task                                                                            Value              Due

Tutorial Attendance and Participation                        20%                 ongoing

Essay Outline and Annotated Bibliography

(2 -3 pages long NOT including bibliography

 500-750 words)                                                          15%                 Thurs 29 September

Research Essay (10-12 pages/2500-3000words)             35%                 Thurs 24 November

Final Exam                                                                  30%                 tba


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Penalty

A late penalty of 3% per day applies to all late assignments.

We will not accept assignments electronically. You must present a hard paper copy of all assignments.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

 Schedule of Topics and Readings:

Week 1 – 8 September




Hosking - Introduction, Part 1, and Part 2 chapter 1, pp. xix – 74

No tutorials this week

Week 2 – (12 and 15 September) – The Age of Peter

Tutorial Readings:

Hosking - Part 2 chapter 2, pp. 75-94

Riha, Chapter 18 – pp. 233-237 (note the book starts at p. 233 (chapter 18) as it is vol. II)

Tutorials begin this week. Be sure to discuss the essay outline and annotated bibliography which is due in 2 weeks. Talk about finding the journal articles listed on the syllabus. Make sure everyone is aware of “Historical Abstracts” as a resource.

Week 3 – (19 and 22 September) The Age of Catherine

Tutorial Readings:

Hosking - pp. 95-119

Riha - Chapters 20-22, pp. 252-279

Cracraft, James. “Great Catherine,” Slavic Review 1993 52(1): 107-115. [find this article online using the Mills Library Catalogue]

Week 4 – (26 September and 29 September) Nobility - Vassals or a power to contend with?

Readings: Hosking, pp. 120-171

No Tutorials this Week

Essay Outline Due in Lecture on Thursday 29 September. Do not forget to write your t.a’s name on the title page.

Week 5 – (3 and 6 October) - Russia faces Europe – Alexander I

Tutorial Readings:

Hosking, pp. 183-197, 225-262

Riha, pp. 280-294

Plus discussion of Week 4 Readings

Week 6

Mid-Term Recess – No Classes

Week 7 – (17 and 20 October) - Russia faces itself – The Decembrists and Nicholas I

Hosking – pp. 171-182

Riha - pp. 295-302

Week 8 – Russia reforms itself (24 and 27 October)

Tutorial Readings:

Hosking - pp. 198-224 and 315-344

Smith, “Freed Serfs without Free People: Manumission in Imperial Russia,” American Historical Review Volume 1 No. 18 (Issue 4) October 2013: 1029-1051.

Week 9 – (31 October and 3 November) - The birth of the intelligentsia

Tutorial Readings:

Hosking - pp. 263-285

Riha – Chapters 25-27, pp. 303-332

Malia, “What is the Intelligentsia,” Daedalus. vol. 89, no. 3, (Summer, 1960): 441-458

Week 10 (7 and 10 November) – Fathers and Children

Tutorial Readings:

Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

Note: There is a required question on the novel on the final exam.

Week 11 – (14 and 17 November) The radicalization of the intelligentsia – From Populism to Terror

Tutorial Readings:

Hosking - pp. 345-366

Riha – pp. 344-357, pp. 368-377

Week 12 (21 and 24 November) Dilemmas of modernization - Witte


Riha – pp. 390-429

No Tutorials this Week – Final Essay Due at Lecture on Thursday 24 November.

Do not forget to write your t.a’s name on the title page.

Week 13 – (28 November and 1 December) A Complex Empire – Nationality

Tutorial Readings:

Hosking, pp.367-397

Riha – pp. 430-55

Also discuss the readings assigned for last week.  Witte and Pobedonostsev are important and often show up on the exam in one form or another.

Week 14 – (5 December) - Crisis of the Old Order

Tutorial Readings:

Hosking, pp. 398-452

Riha, pp. 456-478