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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Spring 2008

HIS 362G • Cultural History of Russian Revolutionary Movement-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

The goal of this seminar is to introduce the students to the Russian revolutionary milieu and provide an opportunity for independent work with primary sources. We will be reading together primary sources from late 19th - early 20th century and autobiographies of revolutionaries (in translation). We will try to understand what it meant to be a revolutionary in Russia during different time periods  how people lived, how people saw themselves and others, how people behaved towards each other. As in all successful revolutionary movements being a revolutionary in Russia entailed not only adherence to a certain ideology, but also to certain social practices, identity and norms of behavior. These adherences, not less than political ideology, defined for both revolutionaries and non-revolutionaries, what being a revolutionary meant. These meanings evolved over time when new social groups joined the ranks of the revolutionaries and brought elements of their own culture and understanding. Disagreements about modes of behavior proper to a revolutionary were often a key to major political and cultural developments. Our timeframe will be 1860s  1917, that is the late imperial period of Russian history. The main reason for this timeframe is that the Bolsheviks, already during the civil war, declared an open battle against the traditional revolutionary values. This battle, fought side by side with glorification of major revolutionary figures of the past, is one of the most interesting characteristics of the Soviet period, but it is a different topic which should be researched separately.

Grading Policy

Political debate project and short paper with his/her arguments in the debate: 30% Final paper: 70%


Excerpts from Alexander Herzen, My Life and Thoughts Excerpts from Nikolai Chernyshevskii, What is to be Done Excerpts from: Vera Figner, Memoirs of a Revolutionist Petr Kropotkin, Memoirs of a Revolutionist Reginald Zelnik ed., A Radical Worker in Tsarist Russia: The Autobiography of Semen Ivanovich Kanatchikov Leopold Haimson, The Making of Three Russian Revolutionaries Barbara Engel, Five Sisters Samuel Portnoy ed., Vladimir Medem: The Life and Soul of a Legendary Jewish Socialist Trotsky, Leon, My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography Alexander Shliapnikov. On the Eve of 1917 Victoria Bonnell ed., The Russian Worker: Life and Labor under the Tsarist Regime Boris Savinkov, Memoirs of a Terrorist Paul Avrich, Anarchist Portraits


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