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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2310 Russia under the Romanovs, 1812-1917

20 creditsClass Size: 29

Module manager: Dr Robert Hornsby

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The last one hundred years of the Romanov dynasty in Russia were by far the most eventful. They included war with Napoleon, the emancipation of the serfs, the emergence of cultural giants like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Chekhov as well as revolutionary thinkers like Lenin, Herzen and Kropotkin, break-neck industrialisation, the First World War, and a failed revolution in 1905 before a successful one in February 1917.Russia under the Romanovs charts the last century of Imperial Russia, focusing on key developments in the politics, society and culture of the time. Strict conservatism was followed by dramatic reform, which was in turn followed by stifling conservatism. We see a regime beginning to transform Russia into a modern European power but also trapped within an archaic socio-political structure and beleaguered by opponents at home and abroad.


The objectives for this module are to examine the complex historical processes involved in the maintenance, reform and collapse of the Russian Empire. It also encourages students to consider the ways in which regimes either survive or succumb to major crises, and the nature of the relationship between masses and revolution.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:

Demonstrate an informed understanding of the social, cultural and political history of the Russian Empire.

Demonstrate a sophisticated knowledge of the relevant historiography, including the most recent developments in the field.

Critically analyse and interpret a variety of primary and secondary sources relating to this historical period, including official documents, the press, literature, photographs and testimony.

Construct and express historically rigorous arguments effectively, whether in written form or orally, using both primary and secondary sources.

Skills outcomes
In-depth study and interpretation of primary sources.

A thorough understanding of historiographical debate.

Development of analytical skills.

Independent research.

Oral and written communication skills.


Themes and events raised to include:

Napoleonic Wars in Russia

The Decembrist Uprising

Emancipation of the serfs

Industrialisation and social change

Nationalities and religions of the Russian Empire

The development of Russian culture

The emergence of revolutionary movements and political terrorism

Russia in the First World War

Revolutions in 1905 and 1917

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will prepare for each seminar by reading a range of secondary texts and primary sources, as directed. They will also be expected to undertake further, self-directed reading for each class. Students will additionally produce three seminar essays, and research and write an essay.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Essay consultations and workshops with the module leader

Evaluation of written and oral assessments

Feedback on written work

Participation in class discussion

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 word essay due by noon of Monday of exam week 160.00
Essay3 x 500 word seminar essay (each to be submitted 24 hours before the relevant seminar)40.00
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: 30/06/2021 15:57:30


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