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HIS 186 — Revolutionary Russia: From Lenin to Putin

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 28—Aug 30
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jun 30
Units: 2
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Kristen Edwards
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jun 28—Aug 30
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 30
2 Units
Kristen Edwards
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Russia experienced a dramatic political, economic, and cultural revolution during much of the 20th century. In this course, we will analyze various radical movements and events that shaped this superpower, including the early-20th-century revolutionaries, the Bolshevik victory of 1917, the transformation of Soviet society by the Communist Party, the myriad opposition movements of the 1970s and 1980s, Gorbachev’s perestroika, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

For the cultural part of this survey, we will examine cutting-edge films and art inspired by the revolutionary spirit permeating Russian and Soviet society (Sergei Eisenstein’s montage theory, the proletarian art of the Proletkult movement, Maxim Gorky’s literary socialist realism). During the final two weeks of the course, we will discuss the extent to which Vladimir Putin positions himself within this Russian revolutionary tradition and the motivations behind his brutal war in Ukraine.

We will read two books by acclaimed historians of the Soviet Union: A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to Its Legacy by Peter Kenez and Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000 by Stephen Kotkin. We will conclude the course with an analysis of Putin’s government, All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin, written by Russian journalist and author Mikhail Zygar. Throughout the course, the instructor will provide regular updates about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Independent Scholar

Kristen Edwards received a PhD in history from Stanford. Since then, she has taught Russian, European, and world history at Menlo College, Notre Dame de Namur University, Stanford, and the Osher Institute at Santa Clara University. She has contributed to Seventeen Moments in Soviet History (an online media archive) and led Stanford Travel/Study trips to Russia. Using her experience in faculty union work, Edwards is researching the labor movement in Russian and US higher education.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Peter Kenez, A History of the Soviet Union From the Beginning to Its Legacy, 3rd Edition (ISBN 978-1316506233)
(Recommended) Stephen Kotkin, Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse 1970-2000, Updated Edition (ISBN 978-0195368635)
(Recommended) Mihail Zygar, All the Kremlin's Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin (ISBN 978-1568588179 )