Introduction to History
In 2017 we commemorate one hundred years of possibly the most
important political upheaval of the twentieth century--the
Russian Revolution. This course will introduce students to the
tools and techniques of the historian's craft through a focus on
the events in Russia in 1917. Using an array of primary sources
and scholarly literature, we will investigate the causes of the
fall of the tsarist autocracy in February, the strengths and
weaknesses of the Provisional Government as it sought a
Western-style liberal democracy, and the coming to power of an
avowedly communist government in October. Students will
examine alternative interpretations of the revolution and
conduct their own research on a topic of their own choosing
related to the events of the revolutionary year. There is no
prerequisite for this course.
This course introduces students to the discipline of history by
exploring compelling themes or problems in history. Through
study of different topics, each section instructor will teach
students the core methodological skills of historical analysis
and interpretation. Students are expected to appreciate
differing interpretations of the same historical questions.
Students will study appropriate primary and secondary sources in
the field, and learn the basic analytical and writing skills
historians use to interpret the past.