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HIS 153 — Inflection Points in Russian History

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Sep 28—Nov 30
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 30
Units: 2
Tuition: $530
Instructor(s): Kristen Edwards
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on November 23
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Sep 28—Nov 30
9 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 30
2 Units
Kristen Edwards
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class on November 23
Russian history is a story of imperial intrigue, war, and revolution. This course focuses on watershed moments from the past 1,000 years, using art, film, music, and literature to enrich our understanding of this nation’s people, traditions, and history.

The main theme of this course is the creative refashioning of centralized power in the Russian state. This process started with Muscovy’s gathering of the lands of the Rus, and it continued with the imperialism of the Romanov Dynasty (1613–1917). Autocratic tsars such as Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, and Peter the Great transformed Russia into a mighty Eurasian empire. Expansion was slowed but not stopped by Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War. Following World War I, the 1917 Revolution, and a brutal civil war, the new Soviet rulers forcibly industrialized their empire, turning it into a nuclear superpower after World War II. After the fall of the Soviet Union and a decade of disarray under Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin worked steadily to achieve authoritarian dominance over the Russian Federation. Frustrated by Moscow’s losses in 1991, Putin is now waging war to rebuild a Eurasian empire. We will read history texts, analyze Russian and European films, study the golden age of Russian literature—including works by Pushkin and Dostoevsky—and read contemporary fiction to explore Russia’s enduring literary tradition in these uncertain times.

Independent Scholar

Kristen Edwards received a PhD in history from Stanford and has taught Russian, European, and world history in the Bay Area for more than 20 years. She has contributed to Seventeen Moments in Soviet History (an online media archive) and led Stanford Travel/Study trips to Russia. Edwards is researching the labor movement in Russian and US higher education.