HS3S84-In Search of Revolution: The International Communist Movement, 1917-43, B

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: HS3S34 In Search of Revolution: The International Communist Movement, 1917-43, A
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Mr Daniel Renshaw

Email: d.g.renshaw@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Specials aim to provide 'hands-on' experience of the historian's task through close examination and evaluation of primary sources and the light they shed on issues and problems. This particular module gives students an understanding of the communism movement from Lenin to the dissolution of the Communist International in 1943.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

achieve a detailed command of the themes, events and eras studied
locate and assemble information on the subject by independent research
organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing
deploy primary materials to shed light on the issues and problems being studied

Additional outcomes:
This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in group situations. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.

Outline content:
The Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917 cast a long shadow over the twentieth century. Not only did the formation of the Soviet Union make tangible the 'spectre haunting Europe' that Marx and Engels had identified sixty-nine years earlier, but the example of the Russian revolutionaries served as a model for disenchanted workers throughout the world. Communism promised a way of life that transcended the inequality and misery apparently offered by capitalism, it pledged a voice to the disenfranchised, freedom to the colonised; and a vision of a better world. As we know, things did not turn out quite the way that Marx and Engels envisioned. Nevertheless, the Soviet attempt to build socialism informed and influenced world history for (at least) the next seventy-four years.

This module seeks to explore the 'succession' and 'failures' of the communist movement from Lenin's classic 'What is to be Done?' through to the dissolution of the Communist International (the world communist party established by the Bolsheviks in1919) in 1943. The historic split between revolutionary communism and social democracy will be examined followed by an assessment of the Soviet experiment, an examination of the Communist International (including a detailed look at certain national communist parties), and, finally, an appraisal of the communist struggle against fascism and war. The intention will be to understand the objectives and perspectives of the international communist movement and to assess the achievements of the Soviet Union.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The teaching for this module and for HS3S34 together involves weekly two-hour discussion seminars. Students will gain 'hands-on' experience of the historian's task through the detailed evaluations of key texts, and the light they shed on the issues and problems being investigated. Students are expected to carry out self-directed revision in the Summer term. Staff will be available for consultation as necessary.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 11 11
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study 88 89
Total hours by term 99.00 101.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessment is by a long essay to be submitted on the first day of the summer term. Papers should not exceed 3,500 words excluding footnotes and bibliography. Papers which exceed the word limit by more than 5% will incur a penalty of five marks. Candidates will be rewarded for making appropriate use of the prescribed texts. Papers must be submitted electronically via Blackboard and a hard copy handed in to the History office in week 2, by 12 noon on Friday at the latest.

Formative assessment methods:
In addition to the final long essay, between two and four pieces of formative written work, for instance essays, seminar presentations, book reviews, posters, will normally be required for this Special Subject over the two terms.

Students will be required to prepare for seminars through reading from both the primary sources and the secondary literature.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Students who fail Part Three are permitted one further attempt at a resit in each module they have failed. Students who fail Part Three will no longer be eligible for an Honours Degree, but, assuming the necessary threshold after the resit (normally an overall average of 35% or above) is achieved, students will obtain a Pass Degree. Where students are permitted to resit this module, coursework must be resubmitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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