Instructor: Dr. Daniel T. Dorrity

Office: Library 326

Office Telephone: 635-2117

Office hours: MTWR 0900-1000am

Email: ddorrity@lssu.edu

Web Site: www.lssu.edu/faculty/ddorrity.htm



Course Description


A study of Russian history from Peter the Great to the present.


Required Text

Students are required to read (study) assigned chapters from the following textbook:  David Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran, A History of Russia, the Soviet Union, and Beyond. Students will also be assigned excerpts from various writings. These will be placed on reserve in the Library.

Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are to discuss the development of Russian history from the reign of Peter the Great to the present. The main emphasis of the course will be on political, social, and cultural events.

Students will gain a knowledge and understanding of:


The major themes of Russian history in the period from the reign of Peter the Great to the present


They will also gain a deeper understanding of the processes of history


A greater ability to perceive the progress of history and to think critically about the major issues from age to age and the means and methods used to solve them


A perception of the complex nature of history and the multiplicity of disciplines that comprise it and contribute to an understanding of it


A comprehension of the importance of a historical perspective in understanding current issues and problems


And a keener perception of the nuances of historical explanation and a greater precision in the expression of that understanding


Among the specific substantive issues addressed are:

The concept and practice of autocracy

Westernization or slavophilism: the nature of Russian culture

Efforts at democratization, 1861-1917

The nature of human and civil rights for the russian peasantry

The problems of serfdom and the struggle to abolish it

The growth of industry and capitalism, and its social impact in imperial russia

The power and influence of the Orthodox Church

The ideology of Russian expansionism: imperial and soviet

The gains and losses of Russia’s wars

Industrialization under Stalin: achievement or disaster?

The nature of communist organization in industry and agriculture

The post-communist era

Class Schedule


The class will meet on MTWR from 1100-1150am.


Course Requirements




There will be four exams for the course. These exams will be made up of multiple choice and written questions, and will be based on the textbook, and other assigned readings, on lectures and class discussions, and on videos shown in class or assigned for viewing outside of class.




The grade for the course will be computed on the basis of your performance on the various exams, the quality of your contributions in class, on class attendance, and on extra credit assignments, in cases where those are allowed. Each of the four exams will carry the same weight.



























Extra Credit


Students may be permitted to do special assignments for extra credit. The instructor's decision to permit a student to do these will be based on the student's attendance, constructive contributions in class, and the Instructor's perception of the student's work ethic.  Students deficient in any of these areas will not be permitted to submit work for extra credit.


Attendance Policy


To be discussed and announced in class.


Class Participation


Students are strongly encouraged to participate in class discussions. Your contribution is important for various reasons. First it can indicate to the Instructor where he may need to provide further clarification or more information. Second it helps the student by gaining further explanation, while at the same time it will help fellow students who may be experiencing the same problem.  Third it helps students develop the ability and confidence to express themselves in a group setting, and it will also help them gradually to express themselves with greater clarity, as well as encouraging classmates to do likewise. And fourth it will help engage the class in a group discussion of the issue or problem that is of special benefit because of the various sides of the issue that can emerge and the variety of explanations possible. Finally it makes the student an active participant in the classroom who provokes and stimulates discussion and the search for explanations and understanding rather than a passive recipient of knowledge.  


Honor Code and Plagiarism


Ethics is an important aspect of the human being. It is indispensable to the effective functioning of all societies and to reliable and successful relations between all human beings. Consequently you are expected that all work submitted to the Instructor as a part of this course be your own, unless otherwise denoted in footnotes or by some other appropriate means. The University imposes very severe penalties for plagiarism, so you should be sure to avoid this at all costs. If you have some doubts about all the different forms and aspects of plagiarism, you should log on to the Duke University web site which is linked in my web site and read carefully their short article on the nature of plagiarism and how to avoid it.


Research Paper


All written work submitted for this course must follow the bibliographic, footnoting, and quotation style presented by Kate L. Turabian. Copies of her books on style are in the library and excerpts and examples are on the Duke University’s and Long Island University’s web sites which are linked from my web site.


Correct Form for the Term Paper


Follow the Turabian style and suggestions available on Duke University’s and Long Island University’s web sites which are linked from my web site.




Bibliographies must follow the style set out by Turabian and available on Duke University’s and Long Island University’s web sites which are linked from my web site. Be sure to follow her warning not to cite or list encyclopedias or textbooks in your writings. Also note her comments on the proper title for your bibliography. Once again, be sure in all historical research papers to concentrate on primary sources, using secondary sources mostly as a guide to primary ones and also to familiarize yourself with the major perspectives and interpretations of your topic.

Textbook Reading Assignments

Week 1: Chapters 15, 16, 17

Week 2: Chapters 18,19

Week 3: Chapters 20,21,22

Week 4: Chapters 23,24

Week 5: Chapters 25,26,27

Week 6: Chapters 28,29

Week 7: Chapters 30,31,32

Week 8: Chapters 33,34

Week 9: Chapters 35,36

Week 10: Chapters 37,38

Week 11: Chapters 39,40

Week 12: Chapters 41,42, 43

Week 13: Chapters 44, 45

Week 14: Review