This colloquium offers a study of Russia and the Soviet Union as a multinational empire, stressing the period since the mid-19th century. The course will begin with a brief examination of the nature of Russian imperialism and assess its evolution in the context of other European imperialisms. This will be followed by a comparative evaluation of tsarist and Soviet nationality policies (the view from the center). The bulk of the course will offer a comparative study of the major nationalities of the Russian Empire and the USSR (the view from the non-Russian borderlands), seeking to classify their political, socioeconomic, and cultural development and to provide a meaningful basis for generalization about Russia's ethnic diversity.
Weekly meetings will focus on a discussion of common readings. Written work will consist of two book reviews and a historiographical essay.