A Social-Science Group-Satisfying Course

Table of Contents

19th-century Russian hand-driven printing press named Amerikanka [American Girl]

Table of Contents =

Russia, America and the World: Shared Histories
Alan Kimball
General Description of the Course

From the 1600s to the present, the "modern" histories of Russia [Muscovy, the Russian Empire, the USSR, the Russian Federation] and America [North American English Colonies, USA], when viewed in their global setting, are what I call "shared histories". The shared historical experiences are often as much to be contrasted as to be compared. Russia and America have sometimes been like peas from the same pod and sometimes like boxers in a ring.

Concentration on shared histories helps us break down certain artificial intellectual dividers between peoples. When historical experiences are partitioned off or isolated in packaged histories of this and that nation-state, they are shorn of their broader significance, their global significance. Shared histories, however, also seek to identify what is distinct, to identify the point at which the search for universals comes a cropper. The neat national, geo-political, and governmental labels, Russia and America, attach themselves to diverse, roguish and powerful historical experiences. There is always a beautiful variety within and between cultural traditions. The Russian circus performer wrestles the bear and the American cowboy clings to the bronco, but vast historical trends animate the whole globe and will continue for some time to shape the destinies of both wrestler and rider. The course explores these trends, often discovering important similarities where one might expect stark contrasts, and distinctions where one might expect identities.

Out of this grows, I hope, an appreciation of the historical foundation of current affairs. Behind everything lurks the problem of historical judgment [TXT] which is very similar to political judgment. In what seems a more wholesome analogy, historical judgment is somewhat like the work of trial juries [here are four paragraphs on that issue = TXT].

After defining and describing the shared historical experiences with all their comparisons and contrasts, how does one judge them, especially when most of us involved in this course are citizens of one of these two great states? We must not neglect the philosophy of history, especially the eternal problems of subjectivism and objectivism [here are a few paragraphs on the question of interests and the variety of human groups = TXT].

Nor will we neglect some of the techniques of history, ways of organizing and thus mastering historical knowledge. Just to get everyone thinking about this, I provide the following suggestions and systematic information:

The course concentrates on published secondary and primary documentation [ID] (all translated or originally in English). The central component of the course, The Student's Annotated Chronology and Systematic Bibliography [SAC Alan Kimball] which structures all this information [TXT], contains guides to primary and secondary sources. The bibliographic details about the collections of primary sources are gathered in a Glossary, which identifies the sources and tells you where to find them [W].

The course also provides some pointers on


Alan Kimball, instructor
Office hours: TU&TH 10:15-12:00 in McKenzie 367


Here is a basic calendar of 2016 fall-term work:

!!  oc18(TU): -- FIRST SUBMISSION OF JOURNAL, with notes and "take-home" draft essay #1
!!  no03(TH): -- MIDTERM EXAM IN JOURNAL, with continuing notes and draft essay #2
!!  de07(WE) at 8am in regular classroom: -- FINAL EXAM IN JOURNAL, with continuing notes & draft essays #3 & #4

First exercise = Purchase and set up your journal. Ask at the customer service desk in the basement of the UO Book Store for a blue lab book, the larger one, 11x9 inches; Stock # 43-581, JUST EXACTLY THIS ONE.

The first thing I want you to do with your lab book (let’s call it the journal) is paste a white label securely to the outer upper right-hand corner of the front cover (a mailing label will do). Boldly inscribe your name there. Inscribe other personal contact info on the inner face of the cover, and leave the first 4-5 numbered pages blank for keeping your own table of contents through the term, indicating sources consulted. It is your responsibility here to provide a guide to each part of your journal. Leave the last two pages blank for instructor comments & grading. In this journal you will enter lecture notes, keep a record of library work and webpage work, research and write four take-home "draft" essays, & write your midterm & final exams.

Second exercise:  Locate this course on the following webpage [a sub-page within KIMBALL FILES] =

Add this page to your web-browser "bookmarks" or "favorites" page. You'll go there often this term. Nearly all course readings are on this web site or in UO libraries. The course is not on BLACKBOARD or CANVAS. It's on the World Wide Web, in our great library, periodically in this room, and increasingly in your journal and mind.

These first two and ten further exercises are listed and explained on the course website.

ABOUT GRADES: Essays & exams are due at the time the class meets on the days specified. Late exercises are penalized one grade. Exercises AWOL 24 hours after due date are given a failing grade. Failure to complete any one of the essays or exams will result in a failing grade for the course. Unpenalized postponement of an exercise is possible only when documented illness or happenstance forces delay, or when arranged in writing beforehand with me. If you attend class regularly, keep good lecture notes, devote nine hours of your outside-of-class study-week to your reading & writing, & keep a good record of all this in your journal, you may be sure that you are meeting course expectations.







The calendar guides you to topics we will cover in the classroom and readings available on this website and in libraries. These readings cover the larger topics suggested in the headline for each week of class (week = TH afternoon to next TH afternoon). Select from among the readings as you wish in order to complete 9 hours of weekly out-of-class work. It is not wise to try to read everything. You can trust yourself to make decisions, following your own sense of what is both interesting to you and most relevant to the big issues raised in the course. When I am asked by the Registrar to report grades, all in line with unquestioned assumptions of our pedagogical cultural assumptions, I base my reports on what you have learned, not what you have failed to learn.

Think of both weekly reading lists and the suggestions in SAC as menus. When the 9 hours are up, congratulate yourself. We will pass through mountains of material, and you will see many bibliographic suggestions through the term, but you need deal directly with only 9-hours-worth every week. Put in the time and keep a good record of it in your journal. If you do that, you & I both will be satisfied.

1st Week (IE=to TH afternoon)
INTRODUCTION: Key concepts and terms
(1) We open with discussion of the course itself and
(2) the broad chronological sweep of our challenging interpretive "focused world histories"
In other words, we will begin with a broad definition of "when" our shared histories happened, then
(3) we consider how we might organize our thinking about this vast sweep of history


Elementary website techniques may be known to you, but, if not, you need to become familiar with the following two web functions =

Web function#1: How to click on a word or phrase that has a hyperlink to another site, and how to hop back from it to where you first clicked.
A hypertext link is indicated when a word or phrase is underlined and of a different color than surrounding text.
Click on this hypertext phrase and hop to a paragraph on a SAC web page that explains how you can come back here.

Web function#2: Now read five paragraphs about how to "FIND" keywords in electronic texts. Then  hop back here.


In these first days of the term, get a feel for the larger shape of course requirements =
Quickly read through descriptions of all 12 exercises here [ID],
including linkages to auxiliary explanatory pages.
It seems a lot when considered all together, but remember the old proverb =
"Inch by inch, life's a cinch; it's mile by mile that life's a trial".

Just below, exercises 1, 2 & 3 help us inch our way through this mysterious jungle.
The first three exercises are about two closely related issues =
the mechanics and philosophy of the course itself


Exercise 1
Purchase and set up your journal
This paragraph from the hand-out syllabus defines what to purchase

!! Read (and then perhaps re-read) this extended description of the journal !!

You may print any part of the electronic material I provide this class, but
you should not place photocopied printed or electronic text of any sort in your journal.
The journal is for YOUR WORK.
All of your own hand-written notes on lectures, internet and library materials, as well as your essays and exams, will be in your journal.

Class attendance is essential to the successful completion of this course.
For one thing, you will be keeping lecture notes in your journal.
The course does not "happen" on the internet or in the library.
It happens when you bring the internet and library materials into contact with lectures
in order to expand and refine that most important historical arena =
Your own mind


Exercise 2
The course website

Most of the technical peculiarities you will meet in this course are connected with 
Student's Annotated Chronology and Systematic Bibliography [SAC]
© Alan Kimball
Read this extended description of SAC and how to use it.


Exercise 3
Hop directly to the following entries in SAC that describe the "big picture" of our course

Take three hours here in the early going this term to acquaint yourself with some of the most important moments, issues and possible readings you will later consider (about five minutes per hypertext link below). For now, just consider the big sweep of topics. There will be ample opportunity for more concentrated reading later. Remember what it means when you come upon a keyword in a SAC entry that has its own hypertext indication = It's a chronological LOOP [ID].

1680:1730; Bound labor and the beginnings of "economic globalization"
1786: The conceptual foundations of the revolutionary American (IE=USA) Constitution
1835:1840; Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville looked to USA for inspiration but also found warnings and offered a sweeping comparison of Russia and USA
1841:1844; German economist Friedrich List took lessons from Russia and USA about how to "modernize" in competitive global setting
1861ja28: First Russia, then USA, freed bound laborers (serfs and slaves)
1867mr30: Russia sold Alaska to USA
1868:1912; Japan entered era of dramatic modernization. the beginning of the end of global colonialism and imperialism
1889:1905; Russian industrialization in full swing, and so it was in USA
1892je11: Russian and USA urbanization altering traditional rural ways
1893my01: "Turner Thesis" of US frontier expansion had broad implications for Russia, among other places
1895my19: Take 6 hops on the chronological LOOP linked by the keyword phrase "USA imperialism"
1904:1905; German sociologist Max Weber tried to understand Russia & USA
1904: USA Chicago was site of Pavel Miliukov's plea for American understanding of the great transformational Russian crisis
1913mr03:  Feminism gripped the European cultural world. Follow LOOP on keyword "women"
1917mr02:1918jy28; USA entered World War One only after Russian autocracy collapsed, allowing USA to ally with non-tsarist Russia
1917oc25: The Soviet Revolution 8 months later eventually created the USSR. Some in USA were inspired, others were terrified, BUT =
1919ja18+: Never mind, the USA was now for the first time deeply embedded in European and global politics
1919: Oregon-born John Reed published his eyewitness account of the 1917oc25:Soviet Revolution, accompanied by significant primary documentation
1921-1927: USSR tried a "New Economic Policy", combining free market with planning, BUT =
1927:1937; An epoch of global economic crisis = capitalist economic collapse (Great Depression in USA) & rise of authoritarian states (Stalin in USSR)
1927de02: World economic crisis pitted Soviet Communism against staggering capitalist economies
1928my28: Dramatic changes in Russian and USA agriculture
1936: English economist John Maynard Keynes designed a way out of the great crisis for "The West"
1939au23: World War Two began
1946mr05: WW2 just over, tensions between USSR & USA opened "Cold War"
1946se27: Soviet Ambassador to USA warned of USA motives (hop on 1947jy to learn of US Ambassador warnings about USSR)
1947au: Soviet theorists saw that the "Cold War" would concentrate on the "Third World"
1955jy: Many Europeans were suspicious of the bi-polar nuclear standoff
1958: Cultural exchanges helped smooth the edges of hostility, HOWEVER =
1961ja17: Powerful military-industrial tensions dominated events [read through to 1963]
1962:1975; The COLD WAR era of dissent
1964: Many asked how USA stacked up against its Cold-War rival, the USSR
1979de: USA war in Vietnam and newly opened USSR hostilities in Afghanistan brought attentions back to the "Third World"
1985+; The Contemporary age witnessed a dramatic and fundamental reform movement in the USSR, HOWEVER =
1991de31: The USSR disintegrated
1993fe26+: USA lent support to the post-Soviet government and economy, but the "Western" military alliance, NATO, expanded into ex-Soviet territories

This has been a "big gulp", but think of it as a complicated sequential snapshot of "when" our shared histories happened.
We will begin to put a magnifying glass to this wide-angle snapshot of our large chronological landscape.
And we will look at these histories arranged in a conceptual "taxonomy" [ID], then we will begin to roll that taxonomy forward in time [TXT]


Prepare for second class session =

Read "Ways of Seeing History" [TXT] (which links to three "sub-essays": "Taxonomy" [TXT], "Interests" [TXT], and "Dozen Categories" [TXT]).
These narratives present a "philosophical" discussion of some the guiding historical concepts behind the course,
but they also explain some of the technical peculiarities of the course.
Prepare yourself so that we can discuss the concepts and techniques at our second class meeting.



This electronic syllabus has so far presented hypertext "hops" to the following auxiliary pages and subpages =

---1. Reading
---2. Draft essays
---3. Exams


---1. Dozen Categories of Human Grouping
---2. Taxonomy of Historical Experience
---3. Interests








2nd Week (TH afternoon of 1st week to TH afternoon of 2nd week)
Geography, or
"Where" our histories unfold

Time and space are the two fundamental organizational principles of history. In the first week, our goal was to get a general sense of chronology (time). Here our goal is to develop broad familiarity with geography (space), and with certain other visual/spatial dimensions of our history.

Read N. C. Field, "Environmental Quality and Land Productivity", 1968:Canadian Geographer #12:1-14 [TXT]. Bear in mind that Field draws all North America together (the lands of two nation-states USA and Canada), comparing that vast territory with the old Soviet Union (the lands of fifteen independent nation-states since 1992 [ID]). There is no Soviet Union any longer. But our first question might be, what difference does the geo-political terminology make when we engage in serious geo-physical analysis of environmental quality and land productivity? Here are other questions we should be able to answer = What is the main argument of Field's technical article? What are the broadest "non-technical" implications of the article? For example, what might Field's findings suggest about the shared history of frontier and imperialist expansion?

Read these excerpts from D.W. Treadgold's book, The Great Siberian Migration [TXT]

Then give "The Turner Thesis" at least an hour (beyond what you may have already spent following the hypertext links from the Treadgold readings). Check out this SAC entry on the Turner Thesis, with its guides to some comparative perspectives. You may make a hypertext hop from there, or directly from here, to the "Turner Thesis" on the significance of the frontier in American History [TXT]. Do you think there is anything "universal" about Turner's thesis? Does it seem right as an explanation of USA in particular? On the basis of what you see in Turner, would you alter or expand on what Treadgold says in his chapter?

Dukes, ch.1:1-29 accounts for the geographic expansion of two empires prior to 1898. Does he help compare and/or contrast frontier and imperialist expansion?


Lectures =
"Russian and American Frontier and Imperialist Expansion"
(down to the section on "Indigenous Peoples")


Exercise 4
Self-guided Tour of UO collections

For this exercise I have identified eight collections, but I emphasize the three most vital to our course =

(1) E-TXT~ and KNIGHT Library

The following are our main titles that deal with the "shared" world history of Russia and America

Bowker = The challenge of Islam to Russia and USA
Brzezinski = Broadly conceptualized comparative political systems and practices
Dukes = A general comparative account
Gaddis = Best study of long-term Russian/American international relations| Discusses Mennonites & Jews
Granick = Surprising comparison of corporate managerial habits and practices
Kolchin = Finest comparison of serfdom and slavery| Discusses indigenous peoples
Mayer = How Russia and USA were similar threats to old Europe in WW1
Merkle = On rise of managerial "new class" in Russia, America, etc.
Rimlinger = World-historical comparative welfare programs
Rosen = A serious scholarly attempt to understand and assess "military-industrial" complexes
Saul = Best general study of Russia/American shared histories
Urban = A detailed but also highly theoretical assessment of the Blues in Russia (and USA)
White = Challenging and probing comparative economic-history| Discusses indigenous people, serfs and slaves

(2) KNIGHT Reference Division
Look up "Kennan, George Frost" in MERSH
Look up "Eurasia" (and read first couple of paragraphs) in GSE


In the MAP Room, spend a hour with some of the following atlases.
Be particularly attentive to events in our two areas of the globe, Northern Eurasia and North America.
I especially recommend the first four listed =

Cassell atlas of world history | On 20th-c world, see scts 5.05, 5.06, & all of sct 6
National Geographic atlas of world history | On 20th century world, see pp. 302-79
Rand McNally Historical atlas of the world maps #67, 75-78, 80-84, & 86, & pp. 168-82
Wheatcroft, Andrew. The world atlas of revolutions: 78-95, 134-9, & 182-5
Atlas zur Zeitgeschichte : Europa im 20. Jahrhundert
Collins atlas of twentieth century world history
Hammond atlas of the 20th century

Hupchick, Dennis P, and Harold E. Cox. A concise historical atlas of Eastern Europe (1996)
Natkiel, Richard, et al. Atlas of the 20th century
Times atlas of the 20th century

As the term progresses, learn to sketch maps of Russia and USA, locating major paths of frontier expansion, major high points, seas, waters that flow between, and a dozen or so major cities. The page that outlines my second-week lectures provides many website maps to aid this project = "Russian and American Frontier and Imperialist Expansion"

Second, I invite you to acquaint yourself with five further research locales =

KNIGHT stacks
KNIGHT Information Technology Center
University of Oregon Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Architecture & Allied Arts Library
All UO students ought at least once to visit the Jacqua Law School Library







3rd Week
Indigenous peoples, native Americans, Alaska and the Pacific Basin

Exercises =

Do not forget = Next week, you will submit the journal, with draft essay #1 [ID] already inscribed, for an early "no-fault" evaluation [ID]

This week, move toward final decisions on exercises seven, eight and nine.

Lectures =

We will continue this week with the web page "Russian and American Frontier and Imperialist Expansion"
and continue with the entries on indigenous peoples [TXT]

Readings =

We shift attention a bit from geo-physical aspects of our topic toward the demographic (human). Both Russian and American societies are "multicultural" and have been from the beginning. German-speaking Mennonite communities emigrated to Russia in the 1770s. One hundred years later, many of them emigrated yet again to the USA. Another example = USA and Russia share the distinction of being the homes of more Jews than anywhere else on the globe, except Israel after its creation in the 1940s. Yet the shared historical experience of the Jewish "national minorities" in these two areas has been different in several notable ways.

Saul is an especially good source for information on Mennonites and Jews in Russia and USA. Does Gaddis touch on these topics?

Violent inter-ethnic and/or racial episodes in the Russian Empire [ID] and USA [ID] in the early 20th century provide "case studies" in a shared history of "racism"

Both societies have developed under the influence of non-European peoples, at home and abroad. Confrontation with native peoples have left a profound mark on both histories. In the period of "Cold War" both offered themselves as models for the development of "third-world countries". Both histories have been shaped by peoples confronted in the process of frontier and imperialist expansion.


Keeping in mind the puzzle of how to distinguish "frontier expansion" and "imperialist expansion", we note that it was common in the era of the Cold War (1945-1990) to think of the United States and its NATO allies ("The West") as one world, while the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies ("The Communist Bloc") were thought of as another.  All other nation-states, most particularly those nations just emerging from under the power of declining imperialist Europe, were lumped together as "The Third World" [ID]. Understanding the role of the Third World in 20th-century history is an interpretive problem associated with the larger issue of global imperialism in the modern historical era.

Now, in the aftermath of the Cold War, attention is being drawn to what some call "The Fourth World", namely native or indigenous peoples who have been absorbed into larger nation-states. It is not clear whether the question of the fourth world is a frontier or imperialist question. What do you think?  Check this web index page on indigenous peoples [W]. And check this one on indigenous peoples of North America [W]

Here are two helpful maps =
1783:Native American tribes and
1783:European possessions bordering rebellious colonies

Russia and America have rich and perplexing shared historical experiences in both the "third" and "fourth" worlds.

Look briefly at how Tocqueville, in Democracy in America, understood the question of the USA "fourth world" in the 1830s. After all the praise you have heard heaped on Tocqueville, you might be surprised by the tone of  his discussion of the USA black population. [TXT] [I have put certain passages in bold face]

How do you square his views on blacks and native Americans with his famous words on the two great expanding civilizations, Russia and USA, at the conclusion of this same chapter? [TXT] How do these words square with what you see in next weeks readings in White and Kolchin?

Tocqueville's famous words comparing Russia and USA could also be tested against the historical record of US policy toward native Americans.

Exercise 5
Draft essay #1

Select one or more sources related to the shared history of frontier and imperialist expansion of Russia and USA. Study it (them) closely with a mind to designing and completing draft essay #1

Here is an explanation of what the draft essay is.

You will write draft essay #1 in your journal outside of regular class time. Draft essay #1 will be in your journal before the first submission of the journal in week 4 [ID]

Select one or two of the biggest and in your estimation most important and interesting themes or episodes in the shared history of frontier and/or imperialistic expansion, down to the era of "High Imperialism" (to the 1870s)

As you work toward a decision about your topic, you might want to consider something that relates to one or more of the following big issues =

1) Judging from class discussion and a review of maps, what appear to be the main similarities and differences in the geographical features of Russia and the USA? You might want to note something about the meaning of these similarities and differences for agriculture in the two areas. Check this SAC entry.

2) Why did Russia not maintain its hold on the North-American continent? Why did the United States inherit, through purchase, the Alaskan territories? What does this all suggest about the "shared historical experience" of the two nations? Check these two SAC entries = (1)  (2)

3) How do you explain the "heritage of harmony, 1781-1867" in the relationship between the USA and the Russian Empire? Here I think Saul and Gaddis are the most helpful secondary sources.

Here are some more specific ideas. Consider the pros and cons of the following bold statements. Be careful about the meanings of the key words. Cite details or examples and source(s) in support of your "thesis" [main points or "arguments" as they are called in rhetoric]:

1) The Russian frontier in Siberia is in no way like the US frontier in the West.
2) Russia's colonialism or imperialism was uniquely blighted by mercantilist policies [LOOP on "mercantilism"]
3) Russia sold Alaska to the USA simply because it wanted to turn its attentions back to Asia.
4) US policy toward native peoples on its frontier was more humane than parallel Russian policy.

You could even take a very focused topic. For example you might compare Russian policy toward the Bashkir people (in the 18th century = LOOP) compared with USA policy toward the Cherokee people (in the 19th century = LOOP).

Here is a suggestion for a topic that might be called 'historiographic" = Comparisons of two important specialists on our theme, Norman Saul [ID] and John Lewis Gaddis [ID] on selected topics (using the indexes of their books) would be of interest. Can you discover differences of attitude or tone in these two authors, Gaddis and Saul, as they deal with the same topics? Restrict yourself to the period prior to the 1870s

If your first choice of theme or episode does not pan out (that is, if your choice of topic is poorly represented, or absent, in the sources or anything I have said yet), then choose another theme or episode! If you are stymied, email me for suggestions =

Explore your topic in some of the following places, as seems appropriate =

Saul will be of use on any topic through World War One and the Russian Revolution. Gaddis is of general use for the whole period since 1780.

Gaddis' first three chapters correspond very closely to the chronology and central focus of Saul's three volumes, except that Saul endeavors a comprehensive account of intellectual, political, social & economic relations between the two areas, while Gaddis provides a more focused account of foreign relations.

Think about how the sources you consult relate to one another and to the themes I have developed in lectures and in SAC. Write an essay about what all these sources, together or separately, contribute to your understanding of some important aspect of the "shared history" of frontier and/or imperialistic expansion prior to the 1870s

After reading and thinking about this exercise, sit down with your journal and compose a first-draft of an essay describing your conclusions. Notice that you have a great deal of latitude in deciding what your topic should be, but you are still confined, so to speak, within the limits set by the published sources, SAC, and my lectures

Some Additional Bibliography

They are many outstanding secondary (books by historians) and a few primary sources [ID] that present aspects of the history we are studying. SAC contains references to many more.

Primary sources here, as in SAC, are divided from secondary by "\\" =








4th Week
Slavery and Serfdom

This week we consider the remarkable shared historical experience of "bound labor". (But don't forget Exercise 6 below)
Over the long haul, the two social structures have been very different, nonetheless Russia and USA have shared the experience of slavery and serfdom

Lectures will deal with these two sets of readings =

A. On-line readings =

(1). Colin White, Russia and America: Roots of Economic Divergence (1987)

Begin your reading with the title page and table of contents for the whole book [TXT].

Then jump to ch2:18-40 (for at least one hour) [TXT]. I want you to concentrate on chapter 2.
We are first interested in Colin White's sense of the influence of geography and peoples on the frontier expansion of Russia and America.
What does White emphasize about indigenous peoples, frontiers, and early industrialization?

Then go back to ch1:1-18 (30 minutes) [TXT].
We will discuss the theoretical material in chapter 1 together.

Then read ch9:211-219 [TXT]

Before our discussion in class, follow the hypertext hops and "FIND" [ID] suggestions provided by SAC editor,
just to get a better grasp of the key concepts in White's work [TXT]

If you wish to read more of White, you might look at chapters 6, 7 and/or 8 (in the library).
You learn more about White's ideas on "risk" and the role of the state in the commercial market.

(2). Peter Kolchin, Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom (1987)

Read pages 1-46 and 359-75 (pp. 41-44 summarize Kolchin's main arguments about the similarities and differences in Russian serfdom and US slavery) [TXT]. An additional hour with other Kolchin chapters, either in the E-TXT edition or the KNIGHT library hardcopy, would also be useful = from title page through the table of contents, then p. 49 (chronology of world-wide emancipation of unfree labor), ch.3:157-191 ("Ideals and Ideology"), and some rebellions:250-51.

B. SAC readings =

For origins and some main moments in the history of serfdom and slavery as recorded in SAC =

Serfdom & slavery 1568:1670; origins 1680:1730; apex 1797mr24: nadir 1852: opposition
Russian serfdom   1765ja17: managed 1773oc05: rebellion 1861: emancipation
USA slavery   1786: slave=person? 1788ja19: world 1862: emancipation

Notice that you could choose, if time allows, to follow LOOPS on either keyword, "serf" or "slave", to visit more entries


Exercise 6
FIRST SUBMISSION OF JOURNAL [ID], with draft essay #1 earlier written at home
(Consult the hand-out syllabus for exact due-date)

What should be in the journal by this time? The journal should contain lecture notes and all notes related to your course work outside of class-meeting time, especially notes that record discoveries as you work on the enumerated exercises [ID]. In addition =
Draft essay #1 [ID]
Exercise 2 = Notes on "Ways of Seeing History" and other course-related concepts and techniques
Exercise 3 = SAC chronological summary of the whole term
Exercise 4 = Library tours
Week Two reading = Field
Week Two reading = Course page "Frontier and Imperial Expansion"
Week Two reading = Treadgold
Week Two reading = Turner
Week Three reading = Tocqueville and indigenous peoples



LOOKING AHEAD, you should very soon make decisions about exercises seven and eight, each designed to get you started reading and taking notes on what will become your draft essays #3 and #4 [ID] =

Exercise 7

Exercise 7 asks you to select a person (or identifiable group) whose life was in some way and to some degree rooted in Russian and American realities. Take a few hours to determine the main outline and main significance of that shared experience.

Here are some suggestions=

Exercise 8

Select some aspect of Russian and American shared economic history after 1862, agricultural and/or industrial development.

Lectures and SAC entries ought to help you make your choice, but also some of our most important publications can be skimmed for help, especially White and Brzezinski.

Here are some SAC entries that might help:


You might by this time also get started with Exercise 9 = Draft essay #2







5th Week
Industrial Revolutions in the late 19th century;
Free Market vs. Five-Year Plans in the mid-20th century

Our main topic this week is "industrialization" or economic modernization. Russia and America industrialized at about the same time, yet the two experiences were notably different. With the help of White, we see the complications and contradictions of laissez faire or market economics and their relationship to statist or mercantilist economic practices

Here are seven main issues and some SAC entries that will be subjects of readings and lectures =

*ISSUE ONE-- Economic modernization in USA:

Take this hypertext hop to the complex SAC entry covering the years 1786:1789. Here certain general features of USA revolutionary economic development are described. We will take up revolution as a distinct topic later. For now, concentrate on the 1789:Tariff and Tonnage Acts. Follow all the hyperlinks. Read to the end of this long entry

1864:1866; USA government aided creation of railroad corporations, just as it helped farmers to settle in the dry, short-grass plains

*--ISSUE TWO = Friedrich List:

Spend some time reading and thinking about the views of the German economist Friedrich List on Russia and USA

*--ISSUE THREE = Economic modernization in Russia:

1889:1905; Russian Finance Minister Sergei Witte might have been List's most important "pupil"

Russian statist corporation

*--ISSUE FOUR = Labor: In the aftermath of two emancipations in the 1860s (serfs in Russia, slaves in USA), wage laborers appeared in great numbers and with new force in both Russia and USA. Wage labor is the greatest modern social novelty. There had never been anything like this, the overwhelming majority of the population living outside the bonds of traditional communities and customs, linked to society solely via the rate at which they could sell their time and labor =

Click on the huge "labor" LOOP from 1862, over 30 hops, covering a half century to 1914au04. A new social formation arose and organized itself in unprecedented ways, all in response to unprecedented developments in the productive economies of Russia, USA and the rest of the world

Follow the "farm" LOOP from 1862 to 1972

The labor and farm LOOPS explore some of the social results of industrialization

*--ISSUE FIVE = Welfare: Even conservative European states were pressured to adopt various social welfare measures when the radical labor and socialist movement organized internationally in the Second International. That  hypertext hop indicates the following main reading =

Gaston Rimlinger, Welfare Policy ... in Europe, America, and Russia (1971) [TXT]

The hardcopy on our library shelves would allow you to read the conclusion (ch.9:333-43) if you wish

For more on welfare (plus more Rimlinger readings), follow the 15-hop welfare LOOP, beginning 1868

*--ISSUE SIX = "Globalization": This is not at all a new feature of life in our world

Overseas corporations, a 12-hop LOOP
Russian-America Company picks up in the middle of this previous LOOP with its own 9-hop LOOP

From the 16th century on, the whaling industry was part of an intensifying "global economy". Trade in whale products, like trade in pepper, tea, tobacco and humans (slaves), required ocean-going transport. In its greatest years, until the middle of the 19th century, whaling was a  peculiarly "American" contribution to global economic life. Try this 7-hop LOOP on whaling

Rise of the more modern trans-national corporation =

International grain trade [5-hop LOOP]
Global petroleum [3 hops]
Martin Walker's concept of three historical phases of globalization [TXT]

*--ISSUE SEVEN = "Managerial revolution of the 20th century: We will touch on the WW1 and Russian Revolutionary background to Stalinist economic policy, but for now we are focused on the question industrialization and economic modernization as a world-historical example of shared history. Spend four hours with the following three website readings =

*--Further reading suggestions: Concentrate on the entries that relate to shared economic history = Saul,2:335-64 is especially good on the 1891 famine in Russia, and Saul,2:529-57 & 570-82 are good on economic relations on the eve of WW1
*--Website E-TXT of comparative essays on the Russian city Odessa and the USA city New Orleans. Urbanization as a feature of shared world historical development

Exercise 9
Research and write draft essay #2

Look again at the general instructions and advice about what is meant by "Draft Essays"

You have already written draft essay #1.

Now, for draft essay #2, choose as your topic one of the seven issues outlined above. I recommend that you select one or two important sources suggested here in our syllabus website and SAC, then read about your chosen topic and the main subjects raised in your source(s), searching mainly in the various reference works [ID] and the indexes of our main course books [ID].

Whatever your individual choices with respect to draft essay #2, you are asked here to raise issues of "shared history" [ID]. Draft essay #2, like just about everything else we do this term, is an exercise in "focused world history". Your essay will compare and contrast the historical experience of your topic in Russia (or Eurasia) and USA (North America)







6th Week

Our topic this week is revolution, but this is also the week of midterm exam (see Exercise 10 below).

Our earlier work on shared histories of economic modernization now mixes with the consideration of two revolutionary traditions, Russian and US. These two constitution-building and legal historical experiences call out for comparison and contrast, every bit as much as the comparisons and contrasts of economic systems. However different, these two revolutionary traditions posed a similar threat to old Europe. Both revolutionary traditions have in different ways reshaped the world.

Readings =

*--Read in Saul,1 about the American Revolution and its impact on Russia. Read about the correspondence of Russian Emperor Alexander I with Thomas Jefferson, about the Russian conspirators called "the Decembrists", about the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and Alexander II, and about George Kennan’s expose of Siberian penal colonies (Saul,2:281-93)
*--Spend a couple of hours with Saul,3 and Gaddis to get some sense of the impact on USA of the 1917 revolutions in Russia
*--Dukes, ch.2:30-56, deals with WW1 and the Russian Revolutionary period in Russia and USA
*2015:MVA| Maybe someday we'll have an English translation of Pavel Mizhuev's История великой американской демократии

Lectures =

Three phases of world-revolutionary events
Emphasize introduction and the first phase, skim the second phase, and bear down on the third phase

Exercise 10 =

(Consult the hand-out syllabus for exact date)

On the last page of your journal, I enter my evaluations, using what I call "Frequently Observed Qualities" [FOQs]

Here is a study-guide in the form of
taxonomy of keywords relating to the shared Russian & USA Historical experience

Read down the column named "midterm" and click to websites that will help you review
(compare with the general taxonomy)






7th Week
Comparative aspects of the US and Russian revolutionary traditions

A distinctive outcome of the American Revolution was the habit of two-party rule, whereas the Soviet Revolution established one-party rule as the norm.

Readings & Lectures =

Depending on your personal schedule, either follow
this LOOP on "political party" (nearly 40 hops, from the 1820s to the post-WW2 period)
this shorter LOOP on "cadre party"

The 20th century not only experienced the managerial revolution but produced brilliant critics of it [EG]

Several important moments of macro-economic or political-economic comparisons of Russia and USA in the 20th century =

*1927de02:Where corporate managerial styles are considered

*1928my28:Where agricultural economies are considered

*1929:The collapse of the global market economy reached the USA when the stock market crashed

*--Then came Roosevelt's "New Deal" for economic recovery. On the place of the Roosevelt administration in world history, consider Rimlinger:193-232 [TXT]

*--Look at this SAC analysis of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Samuel Huntington, Political Power: USA/USSR (1964), then spend two hours with this [TXT]. How well (and in what way) do you think the book has "aged"?  Seek out 2-3 examples where the book seems outdated and 2-3 examples where the book shows more lasting or "timeless" qualities. Check these observations about religion [TXT].. Notice Brzezinski and Huntington's surprising skepticism or lack of enthusiasm for liberty and democracy [TXT]. What about the attitude toward China? Would it be fair to say that the authors work to show the USSR could never be like USA but that they are unwilling to consider the possibility that USA might become like the USSR? Even more complicated, do the authors consider the possibility that both USSR and USA are moving less toward one another than toward a new third point? In this regard, consider their views, expressed toward the very end, on managerial technocracy [TXT]. Perhaps some of the insights of 1964 still apply to this time

*1967:1972; Russian and USA DISSENT, a shared historical experience, provides a good comparative test of these two revolutions

*1985mr: The Soviet System approached a "revolutionary situation" as serious as the collapse of the global capitalist system was for USA sixty years earlier. General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's answer was Perestroika, a Soviet-style "new deal" that did not work. Gorbachev was nearly toppled by a coup [ID] organized by military-industrial elites who feared his democratization

*1991:1993; After the collapse of the USSR (perhaps we should say the disintegration of the USSR into 15 components earlier federated [ID]), Russia worked to Europeanize its economy and democratize its government. President Boris Yeltsin dissolved elected legislative bodies [ID], sent mobile artillery to attack them, and engineered acceptance of a constitution [ID] drafted by his presidential faction (statist or executive-branch managers of Russian political life)
*--We might ask "Are Russians Ready for Democracy?" This essay brings James Madison and the Federalist Papers to bear on the problems of Russian reform in the post-Soviet period of Russian history.

Two contrary experiences--one being the American political revolution of 1776 vs. the Russian social revolution of 1917, and the other being the American laissez faire economy vs. the Russian statist economy--shed light not only on the two separate national histories, but also on problems of global politics in our time and the prospects for "privatization" and "marketization" and for "social welfare" in both areas.







8th Week
World War One and World War Two
The first modern total war destroyed old Russia and built the new America

World War One [WW1] and its imperialist background:
Read the section devoted to imperialism and WW1 in "Russian and American Frontier and Imperialist Expansion" [TXT]

I will describe Arno Mayer’s ideas about "Wilson vs. Lenin". For those who would like to try Mayer, here are excerpts from his conclusion [TXT]
Working in hostile tandem with one another, Russia and USA competed with old Europe.

Spend an hour with Saul’s descriptions of US/Russian relations in war time (e.g., Saul,2:87-165 & 421-507; Saul,3 is dedicated fully to that topic).

World War Two [WW2]=
Read the section devoted to WW2 in "Russian and American Frontier and Imperialist Expansion" [TXT]
Dukes, ch.3:57-84, deals with the origins and course of WW2,
which he considers the "gestation" period of the Cold War and the subsequent "New World Order"







9th Week

You should be making good progress with Exercise #11

Readings =

By now you should have completed your reading in White, Kolchin, and Rimlinger. You should be making progress toward defining what you want to do with draft essay#3 and draft essay#4


The USA and Russia (USSR) not only both fought in World War Two but were the two most important allies in the anti-Hitler coalition
Yet relations were strained to the utmost between the two giant partners, and their experiences of the war were vastly different
The Cold War grew largely from a shared historical experience of modern total war
with ambiguous and divergent consequences for each of the main partners.

Dukes, ch.4:85-115, deals with post-WW2 decolonization and its impact on the Cold War
Dukes, ch.5:116-142, deals with the Cold War and the "Third World"

Brzezinski suggests a great deal about how US scholarship played a role in the Cold War, providing a challenging but perhaps all too complacent comparison of the two superpowers. But notice also the role of the scholar Brzezinski as President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser in the time of the Soviet war in Afghanistan =

Two disastrous "limited wars", America in Vietnam and Russia in Afghanistan, provide fascinating comparisons and contrasts. These wars were deeply lodged in the broader historical experience of Russia and America (not forgetting the experiences of the French, Japanese, and English, or of the Vietnamese and Afghans themselves), and they lend a new complexity and richness to the notion of shared history.

Bowker, ch.3:27-39, deals with the Soviet war in Afghanistan

*1973:Rosen,Steven, ed| Testing the Theory of the Military-industrial Complex| [TXT of introduction with general summary]

Lectures =

Read the section devoted to the Cold War in "Russian and American Frontier and Imperialist Expansion" [TXT]


Exercise 11
Draft essay #3 and draft essay #4

You have been reading and thinking about Exercise #11 since week 6 when you first began to think about exercises #7 and #8 [ID].

If you prefer, write one of your final two draft essays one the following topic = compare and contrast what, in your opinion, are the most interesting and important lessons about the nature of "shared history" (history seen beyond borders of individual nation states), as learned in some selection from among some combination of at least three of our readings, for example, from among the following =

Kazin (or Van Wyck Brooks)

Make your own choice of topical or chronological emphasis and concentration or focus. When appropriate, you may use information and interpretations that come from lectures. Be as sweeping as you wish in your generalizations and as broad in your references to these sources; or be as focused, detailed and concentrated in your reference to sources as you wish.

The strictest requirement in Exercise #11 is that your ideas and your examples must be directly related to the main themes of our course and from the materials you have studied for this course. And I think it is important to recognize that your reader [I am your reader] prefers essays that manage to bring together several course sources (lectures, library readings, web texts linked to the course syllabus, and SAC).

In structure, the third and fourth draft essays are like the first. But I offer a wide choice of topics for both draft essay #3 and draft essay #4. As you make your choices, avoid duplication with other draft essays or midterm exam.. In other words, show breadth of learning.








10th Week

A. Shared "mentalities"

Warren Wagar [ID] explores the comparative intellectual history of Russia and USA, from 19th-century "rationalism" to 20th-century "irrationalism". Consider the way Wagar links conditions of national political, social and economic development with the character of national world views [TXT].

The fate of creative intellectuals under conditions of modern industrialization and the evolution of commercial economies is the center of attention in the following highly linked page on SHARED MENTALITIES [TXT]

Sacred arts, high arts, and folk arts now were joined globally by a new phenomenon, "pop-arts" [TXT]

How about the blues? Here's an optional reading by Michael Urban and Andrei Evdokimov which explores the surprising shared experience of the blues [TXT]

B. Post-Soviet "New World Order"

Read the section devoted to The New World Order in "Russian and American Frontier and Imperialist Expansion" [TXT]
Read Marina Peunova's comparison of Russian and US neo-conservative imperialists [TXT]
Read Russian Journal effort to predict and compare the two national elections -- Russian and American -- scheduled for 2012 [TXT]

Dukes, ch.6:143-168, asks if the disintegration of the USSR represented the death or the rebirth of the Cold War, 1991+
Bowker, ch.1 & 2 (1-27) deal with the post Cold War world. Other chapters deal with the 1990s = US Gulf War, wars in Yugoslavia, Russia conflict in Chechnya
Bowker, ch.7 & 8 (:83-123) deal with USA wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Iranian tensions after "9/11"
Bowker, ch.11-13 (135-171) deals broadly with US & Russian relations with the Islamic world

Exercise 12 =
Take a final exam and submit the journal to me with completed draft essays #3 & #4

Here is some vital information =

(Consult hand-out syllabus for exact day and time)

Here is a study-guide
in the form of
a taxonomy of keywords relating to the shared Russian & American Historical experience
(compare with the general taxonomy)

You may submit a self-addressed and stamped envelope of proper dimension to me at the end, and I will mail your journal to you after grades are submitted. Beforehand, purchase the envelope and address it to yourself. Then place your journal in it and ask at the Post Office what the proper postage should be. These rates change, but I can tell you that in 2012 the postage was ca. $2.20. Place the proper postage on the self-addressed envelope and submit it with the journal at the end of the final exam. I will mail it to you after grades are posted.

Or email me that you wish to pick up your journal. I will reply telling you where and when you may do that.

Good luck to all.