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Nation and Memory in Poland, Ukraine, and Russia

Aims and Objectives

This module is an option available to second-year students, as well as Honours Level part-time students and international exchange students.


The module has an interdisciplinary, cultural history approach, examines the relationship between memory and nation and will strengthen the teaching in the areas of Eastern European and Russian history.


In Autumn Term we will be discussing how Polish, Russian and Ukrainian intellectuals and politicians in the 19th century 'imagined' their nations and how they tried to include the peasantry in the nation. You will hear about the importance of symbols, history writing and culture for nation building. After introductory lectures on theories of nation building and the making of Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian history, we will be discussing how the 'national message' was spread. In Spring Term the module concentrates on the 20th century, especially the period of the two World Wars (1914 - 1945) and the period from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present. We will be looking into the connections between war and the nation and the experience of common suffering. At the end of the year you should have a good knowledge of Ukrainian, Polish and Russian history and current affairs, should be able to identify different types of nation building and be aware of the contingency of modern nations.

Expected learning outcomes
  • To gain familiarity with a wide range of sources (from historiography to works of art), connected with processes of nation building in Eastern Europe
  • To understand the importance of cultural factors, shared memories and shared forgetting, common suffering and cultural artefacts in nation building
  • To get an overview of Polish, Ukrainian and Russian history
  • To be able of analysing visual as well as text sources
  • To become acquainted with modern methods of presentation (PowerPoint)
  • To write essays based on an up-to-date understanding of the state of the historical debate.
Teaching and Learning:

The module will be taught through 20 one-hour lectures, 20 one-hour seminars of 16 students, and individual tutorials to discuss and provide feedback on essays. Students are asked to participate actively in discussions.

Methods of Assessment

Oral Participation: 10%

1 x 1500 word essay 10%

1 x 3000 word essay: 40%

1 x 2 h exam: 40%

General information about assessed work including deadline dates and submission information can be found in the undergraduate handbook.

Deadlines can be found on Tabula and here:

The exam will take place during summer term on a date that will be scheduled closer to the time.

Jan Matejko, Mieszko I (960? - 992), 1890