Summer 2020 - HIST 334 D100

The Making of Imperial Russia (4)

Class Number: 3275

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 11 – Jun 22, 2020: Mon, Wed, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

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

    45 units, including six units of lower division history. Recommended: HIST 106.



An examination of major themes in Russian history up to the Revolution of 1917, including the emergence of the modern Russian state; the organization of the empire at the center and the periphery; the contest between imperial, national, and religious identities; social, economic, and cultural transformations; and the Russian Empire's involvement in world politics.


This is a study of Russia up to 1917.  After briefly looking at the earlier period of Russia’s development, we will spend most of the semester examining the Russian Empire from its proclamation under Emperor Peter I (also known as “Peter the Great”) in the early 18th century until its collapse during the First World War.  We will pay attention to the organization of the empire at the centre and the periphery; the contest between imperial, national, and religious identities; and debates among the Russians about the destiny of their country.  We will examine the Russian Empire’s social and cultural transformations, multiethnic character, territorial expansion, imperial and colonial policies, economic strategies, and role in world politics.  But as we pay attention to these broader developments and contexts, we will also look at the lives of some ordinary folks, and ask ourselves: what was it like for them to be Russia’s subjects?


  • Tutorial participation 15%
  • Short writing assignments & quizzes 5%
  • Paper 20%
  • First test 20%
  • Second test 40%



Nicholas V. Riasanovsky and Mark D. Steinberg, A History of Russia.  9th ed. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Olga Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia, Village Life in Late Imperial Russia. Bloomington, Ind.:  Indiana University Press, 1993.

Douglas Smith, The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great's Russia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Leo Tolstoy, Hadji Murat. New York: Vintage, 2012.

Registrar Notes:


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Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course 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.

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 ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.