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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James D West
CHID 498
Seattle Campus

Special Colloquia

Each colloquium examines a different subject or problem from a comparative framework. A list of topics is available from the CHID office.

Class description

This course looks at two focal points in Russia’s relationship with Western Europe, embodied in the two cities that have been at different times its capital. As Russia emerged from the Middle Ages only recently unified and Christianized, it responded to the fall of Byzantium by declaring itself ‘The Third Rome’, the successor to Rome and Constantinople as the leader of the Christian world. Under Peter the Great, St. Petersburg was built as a new capital, a bastion against intrusions from Catholic and Protestant Europe, designed to more than match the splendor of Western Europe’s capital cities. This reorientation only heightened the tension between the stronghold of Eastern Christianity This course looks at two focal points in Russia’s relationship with Western Europe, embodied in the two cities that have been at different times its capital. As Russia emerged from the Middle Ages only recently unified and Christianized, it responded to the fall of Byzantium by declaring itself ‘The Third Rome’, the successor to Rome and Constantinople as the leader of the Christian world. Under Peter the Great, St. Petersburg was built as a new capital, a bastion against intrusions from Catholic and Protestant Europe, designed to more than match the splendor of Western Europe’s capital cities. This reorientation only heightened the tension between the stronghold of Eastern Christianity and a politically and technically ascendant Europe of which Russia aspired to be a part, and the country spent the nineteenth century grappling with age-old problems of national identity. Readings for this course are historical, literary and philosophical, and there is a component of art and music.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion.

Recommended preparation

No prerequistes, but some coursework in any European literature and history useful.

Class assignments and grading

Final and midterm papers.

45% final paper, 40% midterm, 15% participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by James D West
Date: 03/21/2014