The History of Russia (overview of the 30-week class): Russia is the largest country in the world, covering over 17 million square kilometers and encompassing more than one-eighth of Earth’s inhabited land area. It was created as a European national entity later than any other European nation. Both Italy and Germany formed officially into constitutionally unified nations only in the 19th century, but both had had a very clear identity for a thousand or more years. Not Russia. People begin to refer to Russia by the year 1000, but the first Tsar of Russia is crowned in 1547 ( Ivan the Terrible). During our Fall quarter we study Russia “before the Russians” and learn about all the many invasions and settlements of so many different peoples (the Mongols and others). In the Winter quarter we study the Russia of the Tsars, the time of the Renaissance period up to the 19th century.
During the Spring quarter, we discuss Modern Russia—the age of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Revolution.
William H. Fredlund, the Director of the Institute, obtained his B.A. and M.A. from UCLA, where he specialized in European history and art history. He studied in Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship and completed a double Ph.D. in history and humanities at Stanford, specializing in Renaissance Italy. Dr. Fredlund has taught for UCLA, the University of Florence, Stanford, and UCSC Extension.