History 1Q

Angels of Death: Russia Under Lenin and Stalin

Spring 2013

 

Bob Weinberg    (rweinbe1)                                                       Office Hours: Mondays 2-4                                                              

Trotter 218                                                                                                                Tuesdays 1-2

328-8133                                                                                                                    Fridays 2-4

 

This First-Year Seminar focuses on the history of Russia from the Revolution of 1197 through the Stalinist purges of the 1930s.  Particular attention is paid to assessing the impact of Lenin and Stalin on developments after 1918 and the interplay among socioeconomic, gender, cultural, and ideological currents.  We explore the significance of the socialist experiment and try to explain how and why the Stalinist dictatorship emerged.  Topics focus on the Bolshevik seizure of power, the cultural dreams of revolutionaries, the struggle to succeed Lenin, the rise of Stalin, the cult of personality, collectivization and industrialization, the purges, and women’s emancipation.  Course materials include monographs, documents, memoirs, and films.

 

The seminar will devote attention to developing your expository and analytical skills as a writer and speaker.  We will focus on developing, organizing, revising, and editing your papers and will help you to identify a thesis, develop an argument, and analyze evidence to support your thesis.

 

All students are expected to read the College’s policy on academic integrity and honesty that appears in the Swarthmore College Bulletin.  This work you submit must be your own, and you be subject to prosecution by the College Judiciary Committee for work I suspect is plagiarized.  When in doubt, check with me.

 

I also do not accept late papers and will assign a failing grade for the assignment unless you receive my permission to submit the paper after the due date. 

 

You are required to attend all classes, and it is the policy of the History Department that students who do not attend all classes will have their final grade lowered.  Indeed, they are at risk for failing the course.  In addition, I do not accept late papers and will assign a failing grade for the assignment unless you notify me and receive permission to submit the paper after the due date.

 

Course Requirements

 

Attendance and Active Participation

Presentation of Research Project

Ten-Page Research Paper

Three Five-page Papers

 

The following books are available for purchase at the bookstore and are also on reserve in McCabe.  All other readings are on Moodle.

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism (also an ebook)

Evgeniia Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind

Vasilii Grossman, Everything Flows

Moshe Lewin, Lenin’s Last Struggle  (also an ebook)

John Scott, Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia’s City of Steel

Mark Steinberg, Voices of Revolution

Nicolas Werth, Cannibal Island: Death in a Siberian Gulag

 

 

Week One: Introduction

 

Vladimir Lenin,”What is to be Done?”

Leon Trotsky, “The Peculiarities of Russia’s Development”

Stephen Cohen, “Scholarly Missions:  Sovietology as a Vocation”

Ronald Suny, “Revising the Old Story: The 1917 Revolution in Light of New Sources”

 

Week Two: 1917--The Year of Revolutions

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution, chapters 1 and 2

Mark Steinberg, Voices of Revolution

 

Week Three: The Crucible of Revolution--The Civil War and War Communism

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution, chapter 3

Moshe Lewin, Lenin’s Last Struggle On Moodle and Reserve

 

Week Four: The Promise of the Revolution

 

Alexandra Kollontai, “The Family and the Communist State” and “Make Way for Winged Eros”

Polina Vinogradskaia, “The `Winged Eros’ of Comrade Kollontai”

Nadezhda Krupskaia, “What a Revolutionary Is”

Leon Trotsky, “`Thou’ and `You’ in the Red Army” and “The Struggle for Cultured Speech”

Barbara Evans Clements, “The Birth of the New Soviet Woman”

 

Week Five: The Quiet Before the Storm--NEP and the Rise of Stalin

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution, chapter 4

Stephen Cohen, “Bolshevism and Stalinism”

Documents on the Political Struggle (Handout)

Watch Bed and Sofa (75 minutes) for class. Streamed

Watch Part 1 of Stalin Documentary (55 minutes) for class. Streamed

 

Week Six: Revolution from Above--Collectivization

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution, chapter 5

Lynne Viola, “The Peasant Nightmare: Visions of the Apocalypse in the Soviet Countryside”

Lynne Viola, “`BabiBunty and Peasant Women’s Protest during Collectivization”

Vasilii Grossman, Everything Flows, chapter 15

Lev Kopelev, The Education of a True Believer

 

Week Seven: Revolution from Above: Industrialization

 

John Scott, Behind the Urals

Alec Nove, “Was Stalin Really Necessary?”

Watch Entusiazm: Simfoniia Donbassa (65 minutes) for class. Streamed

 

Week Eight: Social Engineering

 

Nicolas Werth, Cannibal Island

 

Week Nine: Stalinist Culture

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution, chapter 6

Sheila Fitzpatrick, “Cultural Revolution as Class War”   

Terry Martin, “An Affirmative Action Empire”

Documents on family, abortion, cult of personality (Handout)

 

Week Ten: Understanding the Purges

 

J. Arch Getty, “Afraid of Their Shadows: The Bolshevik Recourse to Terror, 1932-1938”

Peter Holquist, “State Violence as Technique: The Logic of Violence in Soviet Totalitarianism”

Robert Tucker, “Stalinism as Revolution from Above”

Amir Weiner, “Nature and Nurture in a Socialist Utopia: Delineating the Soviet Socio-Ethnic Body in the Age of Socialism”

Sarah Davies, “Us Against Them: Social Identity in Soviet Russia, 1934-1939”

Watch Part 2 of Stalin Documentary (55 minutes) for class. Streamed

 

Week Eleven: The Purge Experience

 

Evgeniia Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind

Watch Burnt by the Sun (135 minutes) for class. Streamed

 

Week Twelve: Daily Life in the 1930s

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism

Watch Circus (89  minutes) for class. Streamed

 

Week Thirteen: Reflections on the Revolution

    

Vasilii Grossman, Everything Flows, all chapters except 15

 

Week Fourteen: Presentations