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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Stalin's Russia, 1921-1941 (HIST10336)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course offers a survey of the revolutionary communist experiments carried out by the USSR from 1921 to 1941, giving the students a chance to engage with the latest debates in Russian history and with in-depth primary source analysis. This period is crucial to understanding the rise and fall of the world's first great socialist state, and provides a Russian perspective on important debates in modern history.
Course description This is a study of the emergence and evolution of a 'Stalinist' regime, culture and society. There is a wide variety of published translated Russian primary source material available on this subject, giving the students a chance to engage with the latest debates in Russian history. This period is crucial to understanding the rise and fall of the world's first great socialist experiment, and provides a Russian perspective on important debates in modern history: Did communism offer a more viable model of modernity than capitalism? Why did so many European states turn towards political extremism, violence and dictatorship in the early twentieth century? Why did these tyrannous regimes fail?

First Semester: The Rise of Stalinism
1 Introduction: A Brief Introduction to Russian History
2 1921: Context: The Lenin Legacy
3 1922: Politics: The leaders and the struggle for power
4 1923: Economics: The world of NEP
5 1924-26: Ideology: From Leninism to Stalinism
6 1926: Society I: rural life in the 1920s
7 1927: Society II: city life in the 1920s
8 1928: Experimental life: Utopian dreams
9 1929: Revolutionary life I: Collectivization
10 1930: Revolutionary life II: Industrialization
11 Was Stalin Necessary? Historical debate on the 1920s

Second semester: The Road to Dystopia
12 1931: Sex, crime, disease and drink: Social problems
13 1932-34: Opposition to Stalin: Conspiracies, resistance and revolt
14 1934: Support for Stalin: Populism, Party cliques and cadres
15 1935: Work & leisure: Rituals, routines and the pursuit of pleasure
16 1936: How to win friends & influence people: Propaganda & show trials
17 1937: The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down? Stalinist terror
18 1938: Soviet Science
19 1939: Culture: Revolutionary experimentalism to socialist realism
20 1940-41: Foreign policy and the descent into war
21 The Great Experiment: Historical debate on the 1930s
22 Exam preparation
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Stalin's Revolution: The USSR, 1926-1941 (HIST10366) OR Establishing the Iron Curtain: Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe, 1945-1968 (HIST10431)
Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  30
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 345 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students will complete two essays of 4,000 words and sit one three-hour exam. The final mark will be composed of the essay mark, weighted at 50% of the final mark, and the exam mark, weighted at 50% of the final mark.
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Philip Boobbyer (ed.), The Stalin Era (London, 2000).
Richard Sakwa (ed.), The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union (London, 1999).
J. Arch Getty & Oleg Naumov (eds.) The Road to Terror (Yale UP, 1999).
Ronald Grigor Suny (ed.), The Structure of Soviet History: Essays and Documents (Oxford, 2003).
Chris Ward, Stalin's Russia (London, 1999).
Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (London, 2003).
Robert Service, Stalin: A Biography (London, 2004).
Sarah Davies & James Harris (eds.), Stalin: A New History (Cambridge, 2005).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsStalin's Russia
Course organiserDr Nataliya Kibita
Course secretaryMr Rob Hutchinson
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