MO3321 Russia - Real and Imagined: Identities, Indentity, and Culture, 1800-2000
Lecturer Dr Frances Nethercott
Credits 30
Availability Semester 2, 2019-20
Class Hour view timetable
Description Situated on the borders of Europe and Asia, Russia has always been an enigma for Western observers and scholars, by turns inspiring admiration as the exotic ‘other’, and discomfort as the untamed brutish bear. Yet this conflicting ‘sacred/profane’ image has been as much a part of intellectual rhetoric in Russia itself, as it has been the cause for divided opinion abroad. With this in mind, we shall explore a number of leitmotifs in Russian intellectual culture, together with the contexts in which these were first elaborated. In addition, we shall identify instances of their recurrence as a ‘resource’ in late and post-Soviet endeavours to re-articulate the ‘authentic’ nature of Russian culture.
Basic Reading A. Walicki, A History of Russian Thought from the Enlightenment to Marxism (Oxford, 1980)
M. Malia, Russia under Western Eyes. From the Bronze Horseman to the Lenin Mausoleum (London, 1999)
J. Billington, The Icon and the Axe. An Interpretive History of Russian Culture (New York, 1970)

Course Structure

  1. Introduction
  2. ‘Fathers and Sons’: Intellectuals and Intelligency
  3. Three Accursed Questions
  4. Prophesies and Visions
  5. The Silver Age of Russian Culture
  6. Identity Crisis: The ‘Vekhi’ Episode
  7. Home and Abroad: The Bolshevik Experiment and Russian Culture in Exile
  8. Russia through Western Eyes
  9. Fools and Soothsayers: The Technical Intelligentsia and Dissidence
  10. After Communism What? Reflections on the Russian Idea in Post-Soviet Russia
  11. Overview: Continuity and Change in Russian Culture
Assessment 40% examination - 3-hour paper
60% coursework - 2 essays, one presentation, and oral participation

Learning Outcomes

  • Have detailed knowledge of the circumstances which both prompted and conditioned debate among Russian intellectuals
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of select primary sources
  • Discuss with reference to primary and secondary materials topics such as the Russian Intelligentsia, the cultural impact of Revolution, Russian Idea
Restrictions None)
Resource Lists