Russia and the World

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FIG 44
Francine Hirsch
Russia and America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Lecture 5, 11:00–12:55 F
Introduction to International Relations
Lecture 1, 2:30–3:45 MW; Discussion 309, 11:00–11:50 W
First Semester Russian
Lecture 1, 9:55–10:45 MTWRF

Russia occupies an important role on the international stage, and attaining a nuanced understanding of its past and present is critical to America’s future.

This FIG will focus on Russia’s role in international politics and world affairs. It will provide you with the tools to investigate the connection between the Russian past and the Russian present, from both a humanities and a social science perspective. You will be introduced to the broad field of International Relations and begin studying Russian language and culture, which will provide you with an important introduction to Russian area studies.

History 200: “Russia and America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries” will look at Russian and American engagement from the late nineteenth century through the present. It will focus on diplomatic relations, cultural relations, economic relations, and other forms of Russian and American engagement. Themes will include:

  • Americans in the Bolshevik Revolution;
  • Henry Ford in Russia;
  • Soviet filmmakers in America;
  • America’s response to the Stalinist terror;
  • the Soviet portrayal of America’s “race problem”;
  • Cold War politics and culture;
  • détente; and
  • American responses to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Students will look at some of the historical reasons for anti-American sentiment in Russia and examine claims that we are now in the midst of a new Cold War. Students will read memoirs, speeches, political position papers, and other (English-language and translated) primary sources. They will also look at key primary sources on the UW-Madison campus, including fascinating archival documents about American-Russian economic and cultural relations in the Wisconsin State Historical Society archive.

Political Science 140: “Introduction to International Relations” — Explore past and present patterns of political, social and technological change in terms of their contemporary and future implications for international relations.

Slavic 101: “First Semester Russian” —  Speaking, listening, reading, and writing Russian, with an introduction to Russian culture. No previous knowledge of Russian expected.