In October 1917, amidst the paroxysms of global war and societal collapse, the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, embarked upon history’s most ambitious undertaking: to construct a nation (and world) anew through the application of “scientific socialism.”

The “Soviet experiment” reached its remarkable and terrible apogee less than two decades later under the direction of a different Leader (вождь / vozhd‘)…

Born on 18 December 1878 in a backwater Caucasus village to an abusive, alcoholic shoemaker and peasant housemaid, at the time of his death on 5 March 1953 Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (aka “Stalin”) was the world’s most dominant figure. During the decades in between he accumulated more power more quickly and more ruthlessly than anyone before.

Stalin’s personal transformation from petty thief and revolutionary agitator to General Secretary of the Bolshevik Party, Generalissimo of the Red Army, and leader of the global Communist movement was accompanied by the transformation of a country and its people. As the “Great Helmsman” of the USSR, Stalin guided his followers toward a bright and radiant future, exiling and murdering many millions who stood in his way. As the “Great Architect” of Socialist Construction he oversaw the foundation of a new civilizational model replete with its own customs, language, practices, and worldview.

Dictator. Tyrant. Generalissimo. Father.

Arguably more so than any other individual, Josef Stalin was responsible for the contours of the twentieth century. But he did not act alone.

This course examines the efforts of the Soviet state and Soviet society to build a civilization of a new type based upon the principles of Marxist-Leninist-STALINIST ideology. During the course of the semester, students will explore major elements of emergent “Stalinist civilization” including: class identity, customs & law, culture & the arts, scientific-technological institutions and organizations, religious rituals & monuments, architecture, social organization, and daily life. Emphasis will be given to the period from 1924 through 1956.

“Stalinism: Culture & Civilization” is a cooperative learning experience directed by Dr. Scott W. Palmer, Professor and Chair of History at the University of Texas, Arlington and Dr. Alan Holiman, Professor and Chair of Political Science at William Jewell College (Liberty, MO). The course is taught “live” on both campuses  with students and instructors interacting via simultaneous video feed. In Fall 2017 class will meet TTh from 8:45-10:20 a.m.


About this Web Site: Stalinism: Culture and Civilization is is the on-line repository for browsing materials, media resources, instructional policies, the class blog, and other virtual information specifically related to the meat-world course of the same name. If you are among the lucky masses currently enrolled in “Stalinism: Culture and Civilization,” this site contains all of the course-related information you will require during the semester. Please be sure to check-in regularly during the semester as the contents of this site will be updated on a frequent basis.