Soviet Culture and Society
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Nõukogude kultuur ja ühiskond
Course title in English
Soviet Culture and Society
ECTS credits
approximate amount of contact lessons
Teaching semester
Assessment form
lecturer of 2020/2021  Autumn semester
Uku Lember (inglise keel) tavaline kursus
lecturer of 2020/2021  Spring semester
lecturer not assigned
Course aims
• to understand distinctive features of the main periods of Soviet history;
• to analyse different views and interpretations of the Soviet history;
• to give more detailed knowledge of the Late Soviet period (1956-85) and discuss the controversies of Soviet modernity;
• to discuss the position of Soviet Estonia among the Republics of the USSR and its relationships with the centre;
• to introduce Soviet society and culture through a closer study of films of the era;
• to develop students’ academic writing and discussion skills.
Brief description of the course
The course introduces students with the main periods of Soviet history and will give more attention to the developments that took place in the Late Soviet period, after 1953. The first half of the course takes a chronological approach and the second half deals with the key problems and themes of studying Soviet past with the focus on the period 1953-85. Following topics will be touched upon: nationalities policy and peripheries; economic development and progress; ideology, party and control; private life, free time and consumer society. The course also deals with the specificities of Soviet Estonian history in the regional and all-union context. The students learn to know Soviet society and culture primarily through watching and critical analysis of numerous films. The course is structured around weekly topical seminars for which students prepare at home beforehand.
Learning outcomes in the course
• takes part in seminar discussions, answering questions, raising new ones and formulating one’s own point of view;
• writes a course essay that reflects the ability to use given literature, films and source materials in order to locate a topical discussion in relevant scholarly debates;
• knows basic historical facts, is able to explain the main political events and socio-cultural developments, and to characterize the periods in the general history of the USSR (1917-91);
• is able to engage in deeper analysis of the themes and topics of the Late Soviet period (1953-85) that are covered in the seminars;
• is able to interpret main scholarly currents and debates about the history of the USSR.
Uku Lember