Russian and Soviet history offers a broad look at modern Russian history of the Imperial and Soviet eras. Subjects include Russia’s Eurasian Empire, the Russian Revolution, nineteenth-century culture and identity, the Soviet Union since 1929, women in Russian history, and a variety of other topics.
Depending upon course focus and content, courses in Russian history count towards the European or Third World/Non-Western major concentrations. Courses in Eastern European history count toward the European major concentration.
Russian and Soviet history offers broad training in modern Russian history of the Imperial and Soviet eras. In addition to a two-semester sequence of courses in modern European history, students majoring in the field also take specialized reading colloquia on Imperial and Soviet history taught by Professors Louise McReynolds and Donald J. Raleigh respectively, and research seminars taught by them and other Europeanists. Professors McReynolds and Raleigh likewise teach specialized courses on Russia’s Eurasian Empire, the Russian Revolution, nineteenth-century culture and identity, the Soviet Union since 1929, women in Russian history, and a variety of topical courses. Graduate students specializing in the field must take a directed reading course on medieval and Muscovite history as well. They have the option of broadening the Russian history major to include East Europe by enrolling in the field colloquium taught by Professor Chad Bryant. Alternatively, they can declare East European history their minor field by completing two courses in the area.
Those interested in pursuing graduate work in East European history may do so within the Russian/Soviet or West European orbit. Professor Bryant offers graduate colloquia on East and Central European history. He and Professor Raleigh also teach a colloquium that introduces History Department students to both Russian and East European history, and which serves as a capstone course for students enrolled in the university’s interdisciplinary M.A. program in Russian and East European studies administered by the UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies.
The Russian and East European History graduate program cooperates closely with the federally-funded UNC–Duke Joint Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies (UNC CSEEES and Duke CSEEES) and with Duke University’s Department of History. This cooperation expands the course offerings available to UNC students, who may enroll in classes at Duke taught by Russianists Martin Miller and Anna Krylova. The joint UNC–Duke center also provides Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship support for intermediate/advanced language training, maximizes the impact of spending for library purchases thanks to a cooperative purchasing program, and boasts a lively program of speakers and related initiatives.
All of the students who completed the Ph.D. since 1995 or who are now writing their dissertations have won prestigious national dissertation research and/or writing fellowships funded by organizations such as Fulbright-Hayes, ACTR, IREX, and the SSRC. Recent recipients of the Ph.D. have accepted teaching appointments at the University of Iowa, California State University–Chico, Loyola University (Chicago), University of North Carolina–Greensboro, Clayton State University, Texas A&M, College of the Holy Cross, Arhus University (Denmark), and Rocky Mountain College.
For information on the Russian and East European field graduate comprehensive exams, consult the Graduate Student Handbook.