This week we are making sense of the complex dynamics of war and revolution (two revolutions, actually). We also move into range of a fabulous digital archive that will inspire us for the rest of the term. The topic of your post this week is the end of the autocracy and the two revolutions of 1917.
From people laboring in the fields of central Russia, to melon sellers in Samarkand, this first round of posts highlights the ethnic and geographic diversity of Imperial Russia at a time when the world seemed both very traditional and in flux. This first edition of our course digest includes an abundance of featured content, touching on everything from sword making, and “tea with a splash of vodka,” to the changing fortunes of the Solovki monastery and a Star Wars themed “Phantom Railways” screencast.
The semester’s first student’s choice award goes to a marvelous discussion of the blood red cathedral in Mozhaisk and the evolving relationship between church and state. Please enjoy these posts and the whole weekly edition. We’ll be back with news about the 1917 revolutions in a couple weeks!
For your first blog post, please select a photograph from this online exhibit at the Library of Congress and analyze it in the context of social and economic change in late Imperial Russia.
A photograph such as this one, for example, might lead you to explore the religious, ethnic and economic diversity of this vast country. Looking forward to our discussions over the next couple of weeks, you should think about how the combination of economic modernization and the autocracy’s resistance to political change would inform developments leading up to the fall of the Romanov dynasty and the rise of the Bolsheviks in 1917.