This seminar will explore the political and cultural tumult that mark the transformation of the Russian Empire into the Soviet Union. Each day, participants will study a moment of historical crisis: the prerevolutionary setting; the revolutions of 1917; the civil war that followed; Lenin’s New Economic Plan; and Stalin’s revolution from above. We will supplement historical background reading with primary sources from the time, including literary and political texts, memoirs and letters, paintings and films, journalism and newsreels, works of music, drama, dance, and opera.
Required reading: The Russian Revolution. 4th edition. Sheila Fitzpatrick. Paperback: ISBN: 978-0198806707
Peter Thomas has been teaching Russian language and culture in the Russian Department at Lawrence University since 2006. Before coming to Lawrence, he taught courses in comparative literature, and in Russian language, culture, and film, at Northwestern University, Beloit College, and St. Olaf College. Since arriving at Lawrence, Thomas has received the Young Teacher Award (2013) and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award (2015). This is his ninth summer seminar at Björklunden.