HIST 2158 St. Petersburg and the Making of Modern Russia (also RUSSL 2158) (HA-AS)(HNU)(HEU)
Tuesday and Thursday: 8:40-9:55
Professor Olga Litvak
Founded by Peter the Great in the early eighteenth century, St. Petersburg was built expressly to advertise the triumph of enlightened absolutism at home and to display Russia’s status as a major European power abroad. But for all of its neo-classical splendor, the image of imperial St. Petersburg has been consistently invoked as a critical touchstone for the expression of political discontent, social unease and spiritual anxiety. The most modern and “intentional” of Russian cities, Russia’s northern capital has come to stand for everything that’s wrong with modern life. In this seminar, we will approach St. Petersburg as a cultural text composed by an illustrious trio of Russian writers who saw the complicated history of their country through Peter’s “window to the west” -- Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Andrei Bely.