The Rest and the West

Discipline: History
Instructor: Nalbach
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 2 - Sunday, 31 August | Russia Download Syllabus

Between 1450 and 1900, the Great Powers of the North Atlantic established maritime networks, military machines, overseas empires, scientific mindsets, industrial capitalism, public education, parliamentary politics and the rule of law. By the twentieth century, these features afforded Britain and France, Germany and the United States tremendous power which threatened the economic, political, and cultural sovereignty of regions like Russia, Africa, and Latin America. Indeed, without the labor and land, materials and markets of these areas, the Rise of the West might not have been possible.

Efforts by imperiled regions to retain or regain their sovereignty in the twentieth century had much in common—economic socialism, protectionist industrialization, cultural nationalism, and political authoritarianism. But they also exhibited considerable diversity, assuming such forms as Russian Communism, German National Socialism, Spanish and Portuguese Fascism, Pan-Africanism and African Socialism, the Brazilian Estado Novo, and Cuban Castroism. And by the 1990s, nearly all these regions would adopt neo-liberal democratization and capitalist free markets.

Field Work

Country: Russia
Day: 2 - Sunday, 31 August

We will visit sites which relate to all of our major themes: namely, sites pertaining to the modern political history of St. Petersburg. These include:

  • Finland Station
  • The State Museum of the Political History of Russia
  • The Blockade of Leningrad State Museum
  • Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery
As we explore these sites, we will consider the ways in which they illuminate Soviet history, how the events of that system have been memorialized, and the impact of that system upon the human development not only of Russia, but also of regions which resisted or emulated it abroad. Academic Objectives: The course addresses three major themes in the modern Atlantic World:
  1. Strategies of Development: What factors shaped different strategies of resistance to Western dominance in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Why did so many regimes adopt “Western”-style neo-liberalism by the early twenty-first century?
  2. Collective Memory: How do societies memorialize heroic or traumatic moments in the recent past?
  3. Human Development: How do the legacies of imperialist, statist, and neo-liberal strategies affect the socioeconomic well-being and civil liberties of different societies today?