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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5830M Stalinist Terror

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr JR Harris

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces

HIST5825M Stalinism: Perspectives of Interpretation

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Between 1936 and 1938, the Stalin regime murdered the majority of its senior Party and state officials and then hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens. - What could have provoked such a violent assault on the state and society? - Was it part of a campaign, planned in detail by Stalin, to destroy all real and potential opposition to his leadership (Conquest)?- Was terror applied to overcome bureaucratic resistance to central policy (Getty, Origins)? - How have Getty's ideas changed since then?- Was it a response to growing social disorder (Hagenloh)? - Did the regime inadvertently reveal, in the course of the Moscow Trials, what appeared to be a conspiracy against it (Harris)?- Can the Terror be explained in terms of a generalised fear of conspiracy (Rittersporn)? - What have we learned since the archives opened in 1991, and in what directions should historians be taking their research in order to uncover the sources of the Terror?


1. To analyse and evaluate conflicting historical interpretations of the Great Terror
2. To confront the current limits of knowledge in the field,

Skills outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Reflect critically on the nature of the writing of Soviet history, the variety of theoretical and methodological approaches and political agendas.
2. Understand the limits of our knowledge of the Terror.
3. Present sensible ideas for further research.


The course will study modern historical interpretations of some of the following:
- The Kirov murder
- The international context of Stalin's Terror
- The mass operations
- The Moscow Trials
- The role of denunciation in Soviet governance.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

- Exam preparation;
- researching, preparing, and writing assignments;
- undertaking set reading;
- and self-directed reading around the topic.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contributions to class discussions, assessed and/or non-assessed written exercises.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 word essay to be submitted by 12.00pm on Monday in teaching week 950.00
Essay1 x 3,000 word essay to be submitted by 12.00pm on Monday of exam week 250.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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