HIST 240
The Soviet Experiment Spring 2020
Division II
Cross-listed HIST 240 / RUSS 240

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In 1917, the former Russian Empire became the site of the world’s first socialist revolutionary government and the twentieth century’s largest multiethnic state. Over the next quarter century, the Soviet Union witnessed the rise of one of history’s most violent dictatorships, an apocalyptic war that claimed upwards of 26 million lives, and communist expansion into Eastern Europe and the decolonizing world. It also became the site of vibrant and optimistic utopian cultural projects, flights into space, bitter and hilarious political satire, and a society that was, for the most part, economically equal. Then in 1991, everything fell apart. This course will survey the origins, life, and collapse of the Soviet Union, paying particular attention to the ideas that shaped its development, the mark its architects’ and leaders’ policies left both at home and abroad, and the impact it had on the people who lived and didn’t live to tell the tale.
The Class: Type: lecture
Limit: 40
Expected: 15-20
Class#: 3244
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation based on active class participation, two short essays (3-5 pages), one in-class midterm, and one take-home final exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: History Majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST 240 Division II RUSS 240 Division I
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia

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