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

Undergraduate Course: Stalin's Revolution: The USSR, 1926-1941 (HIST10366)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers a survey of Stalin's revolution in the USSR from 1926 to 1941, 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.
Course description This course addresses what is undoubtedly the most controversial period of Russian history: the first half of Stalin's 'reign of terror', from his successful defeat of the United Opposition in 1926/27 to the long expected German invasion of 1941. It seeks to explore not just questions central to Russian history, but also how they reflect on wider issues in European civilization: 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? What did these dictators achieve? Why did these tyrannous regimes eventually fail?

1 Course introduction
2 1926 Ideology: The Struggle for Power and the Rise of Stalinism
3 1927 Old Russia: Rural Life in the 1920s
4 1928 New Russia: Utopian Dreams and NEP Realities in the 1920s
5 1929 Revolution from Above I: Collectivization and Its Impact
6 1930 Revolution from Above II: Industrialization and Its impact
7 1931-33 Social Problems: Sex, Crime, Disease and Drink
8 1932-34 Opposition to Stalin: Conspiracies, Resistance and Revolt
9 1934-1936 How to Win Friends & Influence People: Propaganda, Popular Support and the Pursuit of Pleasure
10 1937-38 Terror: The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down?
11 1939-1941 Foreign policy and the descent into war
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Stalin's Russia, 1921-1941 (HIST10336)
Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to 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).
James Harris (ed.), The Anatomy of Terror: Political Violence under Stalin (Oxford, 2013).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills *the capacity to work independently on a research topic, whilst respecting different opinions, and demonstrate the ability to evaluate and use effectively the relevant information
*the capacity to express themselves clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing.
*the ability to meet the deadlines
Course organiserDr Iain Lauchlan
Tel: (0131 6)50 3769
Course secretaryMiss Annabel Samson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3783
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