The details
Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
10 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Stalinism is usually considered to be the period from 1928 to 1953 when Stalin ruled the Soviet de facto as a dictator. It is the time of the rule of mass terror, of the Gulag, of the Great Famine, but also that of industrialisation that enabled the Soviet Union to defeat NS-Germany in the Second World War.

Whether Stalinism was still part of the Russian Revolution is debated until today, but it is undisputed that the period saw the perfection of the social revolution – the emergence of purely socialist functional elites. Contrary to the common periodisation the module will mainly cover the years from Lenin’s death in 1924 until the beginning of the Second World War, but it will discuss Stalin’s long shadow that falls into our present days.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • That students understanding what Stalinism was and how Stalinism has been interpreted in the historiography.

  • That students practise the work with primary sources.

  • That students practise the work with secondary sources.

  • That students learn to write essays on a scholarly level.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be expected to:

  1. Form an informed opinion on the history of the processes of Stalinism.

  2. Have an awareness of the historiographical approaches to the topic and their application.

  3. Interpret primary sources within their context.

  4. Communicated argument effectively through written work.

Module information

Indicative syllabus

  • Lenin’s testament & Stalin’s rise to power

  • The Soviet Union in international politics

  • NEP – Soviet domestic life in the 1920s

  • Collectivisation & ‘Great Famine’

  • The new NKVD & and rule by terror

  • The Gulag

  • The ‘Great Terror’

  • Culture in Stalin’s Russia

  • The end of the Russian Revolution

  • Stalin’s long shadow

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Ten 1-hour lectures
  • Ten 1-hour seminars

The seminars will discuss the content of the lecture and assigned secondary and primary sources.



Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Primary Source Analysis (1000 words)    36% 
Coursework   Essay (2000 words)    64% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Felix Schnell, email:
History UG Administrators:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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