This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague may take about 45 minutes.
This course describes and analyses the political and social modernization of Russia during the twentieth century under tsarist autocracy, communist dictatorship and post-Soviet transition. On the basis of a textbook the students will prepare and discuss the historical overview in the lecture (=70%), and working with an edited collection of documents the students will give individual presentations leading up to a written essay during the tutorial (=30%). The aim of this course is to involve students with the historical backgrounds of Russia, and to make them aware of the legacy of its turbulent past for the current-day Russians.
The student has:
- Acquired knowledge and understanding of history, its processes, structure, actors, factors, and events, and has familiarised him- / herself with the academic understanding of history and the history specific to the chosen area, with an emphasis on the last two centuries.
Furthermore, the student has acquired a basic understanding of the theories used in the field of History and those with specific relevance to the Area History.
Finally the student has acquired basic research skills, which he/she has put into practice for the first time in the shape of a small individual research project.
- Acquired knowledge and understanding of the concepts and conceptual structures relevant for the study of history from an area perspective, i.e. local, national, regional but also transnational and from a comparative, international, and global perspective.
- A basic understanding of the methodologies used in the field of History. Both the methods and theories will be explained and activated through exercises based on the handbook common to all Area History courses and used for the overall History track in the programme. Robert Williams, The Historian's Toolbox; A Student's Guide to the Theory and Craft of History will be the common frame of reference. The student will make a first attempt to put into practice one relevant method in an individual research project.
- Knowledge of the main facts, actors and developments in the history of the Soviet Union, as well of the debates on the key-concepts and theories in the historiography on this subject.
- Insights in the multi-layered quality of the Soviet experience, in the interactions between state and society and in the complex dynamics of Russia’s ongoing modernization process.
The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.
Mode of instruction
Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.
Tutorials are held once every two weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance. Being absent at more than two of the tutorial sessions will result in a lowering of your tutorial grade (30% of the end grade) with 1 point for each session missed after the first two sessions. Please note that being absent at any tutorial session may have a negative impact on the grade of the assignment due for that particular tutorial session. This is at the discretion of the tutor.
Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:
- Attending lectures: 24 hours
- Attending tutorials: 12 hours
- Assessment hours (exams): 4 hours
- Study of compulsory literature (approximately 7 pages / hour): 60 hours
- Completing assignments, preparing for classes and exams: 40 hours
- Midterm Exam:
Written examination with five open questions on key items and main historical issues.
- Final Exam:
Written examination with five open questions on key terms, main historical issues and a primary source text (in an edited translation).
To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:
- The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of Tutorial grade, Midterm Exam grade, and Final Exam grade.
- The weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.
- This means that failing Exam grades cannot be compensated with a high Tutorial grade.
If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the weighted average of Midterm- and Final Exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier Midterm- and Final Exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the Resit Exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.
Retaking a passing grade
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2018 – 2019.
How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.
- Textbook: Peter Kenez, A history of the Soviet Union from the beginning to its legacy (3d ed. Cambridge UP; Cambridge 2017)
- Sourcebook: Richard Sakwa, The rise and fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991 Routledge sources in history series (Routledge reprint 2009; London 1999)
- Enrolment through uSis for Tutorials and Lectures is mandatory.
Students will be enrolled for Exams by the Administration Office, as long as they have a valid Tutorial enrolment.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
Dr. J.H.C. Kern
Drs. H.A.T. Wilbrink
When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.