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HIS 104 — Russia’s Great and Infamous Tsars: The Imperial Romanovs (1613–1917)

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jan 23—Mar 13
Time: 6:30—8:20 pm
Drop Deadline: Feb 5
Unit: 1
Tuition: $405
Instructor(s): Kristen Edwards
Status: Open
6:30—8:20 pm
Jan 23—Mar 13
8 weeks
Drop By
Feb 5
1 Unit
Kristen Edwards
In this course, we will explore the myths, legends, and history of the Romanov tsars and the grand empire they built over three centuries. We will learn how the Romanov rulers promoted continual expansion to create a Eurasian empire comprising almost nine million square miles and to rule over dozens of different nationalities, religions, and cultures. Peter the Great bested the formidable Swedes to capture the Baltics, while Catherine the Great fought the Turks, Persians, and Poles to expand into eastern and central Europe. Later, Nicholas II incautiously tested how far he could expand into Asia before incurring Japan’s wrath. The dynasty was brought down suddenly by revolution and destroyed once and for all in 1918, when Nicholas II and his family were murdered in cold blood by the Bolsheviks. Nevertheless, many Russians continue to hold dear the concepts of monarchy and empire. We will explore the history of the Romanov dynasty and its enduring attraction (observing how Vladimir Putin has resurrected tsarist symbols to legitimize his own reign), and study the Romanovs’ tools of empire such as mapmaking, ethnography, educational and religious policy, and modern communications. Sources used in this course will include excellent biographies, fascinating primary source documents, archival images, and documentary and feature films. We will conclude with a visit to the Holy Virgin Cathedral and enjoy a Russian meal at the Red Tavern in San Francisco’s Little Russia district.

Field trip transportation and cost will be the responsibility of the student.

Kristen Edwards, Senior Lecturer in History, Notre Dame de Namur

Kristen Edwards received a PhD in history from Stanford and has twenty years of experience teaching Russian, European, and world history. She was a contributor to Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, an online archive that provides access to Soviet media.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Simon Sebag Montefiore , The Romanovs: 1613-1918 (Vintage Books 2016) (ISBN 9780307280510)
(Required) Leo Tolstoy, The Cossacks and Other Stories (Penguin Classics, 2007) (ISBN 0140449590)
(Recommended) Geoffrey Hosking, Russian History: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 0199580987)