Spring 2018 - HIST 419W D100

Problems in Modern Russian History (4)

Napoleon in Russia 1812

Class Number: 3314

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    BLU 11901, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Ilya Vinkovetsky
    1 778 782-4306
    Office: AQ 6244
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: HIST 224 or 225.



Advanced analysis of specific problems in social, intellectual, and political history of modern Russia. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 419W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Writing.


1812: War and Peace, Napoleon and Tolstoy

This seminar covers Russia’s dramatic 1812 campaign against Napoleon, a war that radically changed the trajectories of Russian and general European histories. We will delve into the details of this showdown. The centre of the course will be a comparison of how the drama of 1812 is presented in Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace and the works of professional historians. We will also examine the impact of 1812 on Russian society and European geopolitics.

EXPECTATIONS:  Students enrolled in this seminar will be required to produce three or four short response papers, prepare an oral presentation, and write a research essay of 14-20 pages at the end of the semester.  Students will also be expected to participate actively in, and sometimes lead, discussions. Students also need to be prepared for a possibility of one or more pop quizzes.


  • seminar participation 20%
  • response papers 10%
  • oral presentation 10%
  • paper proposal 10%
  • peer review 10%
  • final essay 40%



Dominic Lieven, Russia against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace. Viking Books, 2010.

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. Vintage, 2008

Registrar Notes:

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