The USSR and the World

“Peace to the World! This era demands the union of all peace-loving peoples!–L. Brezhnev”

This two-semester seminar looks at the Soviet Union’s foreign relations and geopolitical conflicts; the various forms of foreign influence it experienced and which it exerted upon other countries; the image it sought to project (and inadvertently projected) to the world; and its participation in international conventions, organizations, and events. It charts the Soviet Union’s place in the world from its origins in the ruins of the Russian empire, through a period of interwar autarky and isolation, to its emergence as a world superpower after World War Two and during the Cold War. It ends with the Soviet Union’s increasingly marginalized international position in the last years of its existence. In the first semester, we will read the latest scholarship taking an international, transnational, or ‘entangled’ approach to Soviet history, with the aim of building up the necessary historiographical foundation for students to write an original research paper in the second semester that focuses on an aspect of the USSR’s relations with other countries, participation in international movements, organizations, and events, or geopolitical concerns.

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