Spring 2021 - HIST 335 D100

The Soviet Project (4)

Class Number: 5631

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

    We 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



An examination of the history of the Soviet Union from its creation to its collapse, emphasizing its ideology, culture, role in global politics, and social and economic transformations.


This course covers the history of the Soviet Union from its creation to its collapse.  Particular emphases will be on the context out of which that state emerged, how it was constructed and maintained, and how it fell apart.

The Soviet Union was not merely a state; it also represented an attempt to forge an alternative civilization – a dream to some and a nightmare to others.  The drama of the Soviet project dominated much of the twentieth century.  In this course, we will trace this drama and its legacy.  We will consider the history of the Soviet Union from start to finish, and look into the USSR’s ideology, culture, social and economic transformations, and role in global politics.

Requirements and Grading:  There will be three written open-book examinations with essay questions: these will be conducted January 25, March 1, and April 12, between 2:30 and 4:20 pm.  Together these examinations will account for three fourths of the course grade.  The remaining fourth will be based on tutorial participation and weekly (or almost weekly) written exercises, aka short response papers (of 2-3 pages each, double-spaced).  Some course material, including lecture, will be synchronous.  Some lectures will be asynchronous.


  • Tutorial participation/weekly writing assignments 25%
  • First test 20%
  • Second test 25%
  • Third test 30%



Peter Kenez, A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to Its Legacy.

Milovan Djilas, Conversations with Stalin.

Mikhail Bulgakov, Heart of a Dog.

Shaun Walker, The Long Hangover: Putin’s New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past.

Students are encouraged to obtain physical copies in advance of the course. That said, Kenez, Djilas, and Bulgakov are available in e-format on VitalSource: https://www.vitalsource.com/  Sean Walker’s book is available in e-format on RedShelf:  https://www.redshelf.com/

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).