Russia to 1917 Syllabus

History 356 Fall 2003

Study Questions, Week 1

Cracraft, pp. 1-21:

Explain Pipes' argument regarding the importance of Russia's 3 main vegetation zones, soil types, climate, and waterways to the development of Russia's economy.

How did physical geography limit agriculture? In Pipes' view, what other factors limited Russian agricultural development?

What does Pipes consider to be the main dynamics of Russian demographic history, and how did environment shape population?

What did population growth affect the Russian state's boundaries and the distribution of Russia's population?

How does Pipes think the environment shaped and influenced the organization of rural life?

What connection does Pipes draw between the environment and the nature of the Russian political system?

What does Pipes mean by "the patrimonial state," and why does he describe Russia this way?

Kaiser and Marker, pp. 3-20

Introduction (3-7):

What sorts of primary sources exist for the history of Rus'?

Do all historians consider Rus' a solely "slavic" polity? Explain.

What sorts of political institutions existed in Rus'/Novgorod?

What do we know about the economy of Rus'? About the status of women? The cultural importance of Christianity? Literacy?

Be sure to read all introductions and notes to documents!

"Primary Chronicle" [look at a map while you read this]:

What does this document tell us about: settlement patterns; trade patterns; the way the chroniclers understood the place of Rus' in the world (esp. re. the Bible); the way Rus' understood race; social customs, eg, concerning women; social norms; the role of the Varangians in ancient Rus'; the Rus' founding myth.

"King Harald's Saga":

In what ways does this saga correspond to the Primary Chronicle? Explain.

"Runic Inscriptions":

How do these runes support the Primary Chronicle?

Dubov, "Ethnic History":

What sort of evidence of multi-ethnic settlement in Rus' does Dubov present?

What does Dubov tell us about the Finno-Ugrain role in the Upper Volga region?

About tensions between Finno-Ugric and "Rus'" culture?

About the assimilation of the Meria and the shaping of new ethnic traditions?

How does Dubov explain the effects of slavic settlement in the Upper Volga?

According to Dubov, what sort of functions did Scandinavians have in Rus' society?

What does this evidence suggest about the nature of Rus' ethnicity?


Russia to 1917 Syllabus