​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​Russian history 

Suggested Secondary Readings

 For each of the topics below, one relevant secondary source has been suggested to help you get started. You can find others in the syllabus and the library reading list (grouped under the course topic to which the essay relates) and/or via the Library search, Google Scholar, etc. Item TOPIC 1TOPIC 1 Russia’s relationship with Europe was the central issue in the Slavophile-Westerniser debates. 

Discuss. Suggested secondary reading: Rabow-Edling, Susanna, ‘The Role of “Europe” in Russian Nationalism: Reinterpreting the Relationship between Russia and the West in Slavophile Thought’, in Russia in the European Context, 1789-1914: A Member of the Family, edited by Susan McCaffray and Michael Melancon (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005), pp. 97-112. ProQuest Ebook. Item


Geoffrey Hosking observes that the question ‘What is Russia?’ dominated ‘the polemics conducted on the pages of the “thick journals”’ in the 1840s. How did Slavophiles and Westernisers answer this question? Suggested secondary reading: Cherepanova, Rozaliya, ‘Discourse on a Russian “Sonderweg”: European models in Russian disguise’, Studies in East European Thought 62.3/4 (2010), 315-329. Item TOPIC 3TOPIC 3 Assess the validity of the view that Russia was defeated in the Crimean War ‘not by the external forces of the Western Alliance, but by [its] own internal weaknesses’ (Iurii Samarin, 1856). 

Suggested secondary reading: Stepanov, Valerii L., ‘The Crimean War and the Russian Economy’, Russian Studies in History 51.1 (2012), 7-34. Item TOPIC 4TOPIC 4 ‘The defenders of Sevastopol’ saved the prestige of the [Imperial Russian] gover​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​nment’ (Valerii Krest’iannikov). How and with what consequences? Suggested secondary reading: Plokhy, Serhii, ‘City of Glory: Sevastopol in Russian Historical Mythology’, Journal of Contemporary History 35.3 (2000), 369-383. Item TOPIC 5TOPIC 5 According to Alfred Reiber, Tsar Alexander II ‘measured out doses of freedom to his subjects in relation to their ability to understand exactly how he wanted them to use it’. 

To what extent is this assessment applicable to the Emancipation of the Serfs? Suggested secondary reading: Saunders, David, ‘Chapter 8: The Politics of Emancipation’, in Russia in the Age of Reaction and Reform, 1801-1881 (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014), pp. 204-238. Item TOPIC 6TOPIC 6 How did Russia’s rapid industrialisation, from the 1880s onward, contribute to sparking the 1905 revolution? Suggested secondary reading: Smith, S. A., ‘Chapter 1: Roots of Revolution, 1880s-1905’, in Russia in Revolution:

 An Empire on Crisis, 1890 to 1928 (Oxford,: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 9-59. Ebook. Item TOPIC 7TOPIC 7 To what extent did Stolypin’s agrarian reforms address the problems that developed out of the ‘decades long-drawn out implementation of serf emancipation’ (Carole Leonard)?

 Suggested secondary reading: Finkel, Evgeny, Scott Ghelbach and Tricia D. Olsen, ‘Does Reform Prevent Rebellion?

 Evidence from Russia’s Emancipation of the Serfs’, Comparative Political Studies 48.8 (2015), 984-1019. Item TOPIC 8TOPIC 8 Discuss the contention that the main aim of the Stolypin reforms was to strengthen the Russian monarchy. Suggested secondary reading: Shelokhaev, Valentin V., ‘The Stolypin Variant of Russian Modernization’, Russian Studies in History 53.2 (2014), 29-55. I can provide a​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​ny secondary resource from above listed