HS1MTS-From Marx to Stalin: Communism, 1848-1953

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Matthew Worley

Email: m.worley@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module is optional for SINGLE HONOURS STUDENTS ONLY.

The aim of the course is to get a basic understanding of Karl Marx’s ideas and political relevance. In particular, it aims to trace Marx’s influence through the first half of the twentieth century in relation to establishment and development of the Soviet Union.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
• identify the sources of the topic in question
• trace its historical development
• be aware of differing historiographical interpretations of the pattern and causes of this development
• understand how ideas and events are shaped by their historical contexts
• organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed essays
• demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions and mastery of library skills.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims:
• to encourage students to think independently
• to help students develop good oral and written communication skills
• to develop the effectiveness of students in group situations
• to develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources.

Outline content:
This course looks at how communism evolved from Marx and Engels’ seminal Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) to the Stalinist terrors of the Soviet Union. It begins with an overview of the manifesto, allowing us to gain an understanding of Marx and Engels’ ideas on historical development and the contradictions of capital. Thereafter, we examine the contested nature of Marx’s ideas over the late nineteenth century via the so-called ‘revisionism debate’, before then looking at the advent and development of Bolshevism through 1917 into the age of Stalin. By so doing, students will consider the continued relevance (or not) of Marx’s ideas, and assess just how far Marx can be held responsible for the excesses of Stalinism.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching is by eight two-hour seminars over one term. Students are reminded to email their tutors for help and advice whenever needed and to note office hours.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 16
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study 74
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Written exam 50%:
one 1-hour unseen paper requiring 1 answer

Written assignment, including essay 50%:
1 essay of c. 2000 words, to be submitted once via Blackboard on Turnitin by latest 12 noon on the Monday of 11th week of each term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor 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:
    1 hour

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

    Last updated: 22 September 2016

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