From War to Peace

From War to Peace

The practice and technology of war is a profound force of history, while literature in the Russian context has long been concerned with social and political questions. The two lecture courses in this FIG offer disciplinary introductions to literature and history and ask basic questions about social, political, and technological change. They converge in an exploration of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and its profound effects in both Russia and the rest of the world. Students in this FIG usually participate in several activities, such as a trip to Special Collections to view first-hand war diaries, letters and other wartime primary documents, meeting for lunch at the Glenwood restaurant, a tour of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and a trip to Saturday Market for lunch and Voodoo Doughnuts. 

Students explore the intersection of topics by taking the following course package:

UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1-credit

RUSS 204 Introduction to Russian Literature - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

In the nineteenth century, Russian literature emerged from obscurity to great fame and acclaim, producing some of the best and most famous writers in the history of literature: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin. Russian society was changing fast and was caught up in issues that became great philosophical questions, many of which still resonate today: How should one live an ethical and meaningful life? If you plan to do great things with your ill-gotten gains, can you commit a crime? Is marriage worthwhile or is it just an institution that oppresses women? Is war ever justified?

HIST 240 War and the Modern World I - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

This course explores the changes in the nature and conduct of warfare within the broader context of social, political, and technological change. We begin in the mid-eighteenth century and continue through the end of World War II. Although much of the course is focused on Europe, time is also devoted to warfare in other parts of the world, in particular the colonial wars of the 19th century.  Special attention is placed on the Napoleonic period to develop a sense of how war was conducted just prior to the major technological changes associated with the industrial revolution. We spend the last several weeks on World War II in order to assess the nature of mass industrialized interstate warfare.