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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ali F Igmen
HIST 388
Seattle Campus

Colloquium: Introduction to History

Introduction to the discipline of history for new or prospective majors. Emphasizes the basic skills of reading, analysis, and communication (both verbal and written) that are central to the historian's craft. Each seminar discusses a different subject or problem.

Class description

STALIN'S GREAT TERROR: 1934-1941 The purpose of this course is to train history students to became historians. As new history majors, you will learn to examine and interpret the important events of the 1930s in the Soviet Union. Soviet leader Iosif V. Stalin (1879-1953) ruled the Soviet Union for twenty-five years. In the late 1930s, the era of the "Great Terror" began with Moscow show trials. By the Nazi invasion of 1941, Soviet government had purged thousands of Soviet citizens. Among the arrested, exiled and murdered, there were military men, artists, scholars, party leaders and ordinary people. This course will give us the opportunity to analyze the ways in which the interpretations of the extraordinary events of this era have changed over time. We will use a number of primary sources in translation: literary sources such as memoirs, autobiographies; visuals such as political cartoons, posters; and other sources such as music and film. We will attempt to understand the meaning and effects of the Great Terror by asking why and how the Soviet leadership initiated the purges. We will also study the reaction and response of the Soviet people to this era of terror. We will examine the survival strategies of Soviet citizens during this time.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This is a seminar, which will require the students to participate in class discussions and in-class writing assignments. The instructor will not lecture but rather lead the discussions on the readings.

Recommended preparation

No previous study of European or Soviet history is required, but an interest in the Soviet Union would be desirable.

Class assignments and grading

There will be two 5-7 page papers and short in-class writing assignments.

Writing assignments: 75% Class participation: 25%


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.
Last Update by Ali F Igmen
Date: 04/12/2005