This course explores the history of Russia from the emergence of Kievan Rus in the ninth century until the collapse of Imperial Russia in 1917. Along the way, it traces major developments in Russian society, politics, and culture, as well as Russia’s changing relationship with its neighbors in Europe and Asia. Using primary sources, we will encounter the ideas, dreams, and everyday experiences of a variety of historical actors, including nobles, peasants, workers, women, and subjects of empire. Our goal is to interrogate the questions Russians have asked themselves throughout their history: Is Russia fundamentally a Western or Eastern country? What form of government suits it best? What is the proper role of women, minorities, and the laboring masses in politics and society? Is there a unique “Russian soul,” and if so, how can it be expressed? As we dig deep into these questions, our primary mode of learning will be student-led discussion. This course will build students’ skills in close reading, creative thinking, analytical writing, and vibrant debate.