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Introduction to Russian History and Culture

This module is open to students taking Russian Language 1A or 1B. It serves as an introduction to the study of Russian history, society and culture from the Middle Ages to the present day. It is taught and assessed in English.

The module enables first-year students to explore the main historical developments of Russian society and culture, and at the same time invites them to think critically about the ‘Russianness’ of the phenomena they study.

The course introduces students to different methods of analysis across a range of examples of Russian cultural expression - literary, visual, musical and performative. The works explored range from the masterpieces of the medieval era to examples of 21st-century mass culture, although the study of the 19th and 20th centuries predominates.

By the end of the module, students will have received a firm grounding in Russian history and culture across all its key periods of development and will be able to engage critically with a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to analysis and interpretation.

This module has been designed to reflect a commitment to diversity in its resources and delivery, and will create opportunities for students to engage with a multiplicity of perspectives relevant to the study area.

Texts that prospective students could read over the summer in preparation for this module:

  • Andy Byford, Connor Doak & Stephen Hutchings, 'Introduction: Transnationalizing Russian Studies', in Transnational Russian Studies (Liverpool University Press, 2019) [click on the hyperlink for the online version of this text]
  • Orlando Figes, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (Penguin, 2003)
  • Geoffrey Hosking, Russia and the Russians: From Earliest Times to the Present (Penguin, 2012)
  • George Gilbert (ed.), Reading Russian Sources: A Student's Guide to Text and Visual Sources from Russian History (Routledge, 2020)

Coordinator: Dr Daniel Green

Further details of pre-requisites, co-requisites, aims, contact hours and assessment.