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Moscow: History, Culture, Politics

This seminar explores the history, culture, and politics of Moscow, a metropolis of 12 million that is at once the capital of the Russian Federation and a state of its own, distinct from the rest of the country and the world.

Moscow: History, Culture, Politics
The Fish Benoist Family Global Seminar

June 10 – July 19, 2019
State Institute for Art Studies (SIAS), Moscow

Simon Morrison, professor of music and Slavic languages and literatures and director of the Fund for Canadian Studies

This seminar explores the history, culture, and politics of Moscow, a metropolis of 12 million that is at once the capital of the Russian Federation and a state of its own, distinct from the rest of the country and the world. Moscow is Russia, even as it stands apart. Its distance from St. Petersburg and Europe has always proved a benefit rather than a hindrance in the construction of Russianness. The ancient center includes Baroque churches, cottages, and mansions from the imperial era, mixed in with the monuments of seven decades of Soviet rule. Yet the city has never been isolated from world events: it bore the brunt of Napoleon and repelled the Nazis. Its inhabitants suffered the bubonic plague as well as the horrors of the Stalinist purges. Now it is controlled by oligarchs under the
thumb of Vladimir Putin and a political class seemingly intent on restoring Moscow — and thus Russia — to international predominance.

The seminar begins with the construction of the Kremlin, the citadel at the heart of Moscow along a bend in the river, and then proceeds chronologically from the 17th century to the present, exploring the city’s contribution to religious and philosophical thought,  literature, and music while tracing the physical and political history of the capital. Students will make excursions to museums and theaters, the estates of the novelist Leo Tolstoy and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the imposing Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, Stalin’s wartime bunker, the Kremlin, and, for contrast, visit the palaces of the former imperial capital of St. Petersburg.

This seminar fulfills the historical analysis (HA) general education requirement.

Course Fee: $7,350

Includes all housing, required course excursions, related academic expenses, visas, estimated personal meals and estimated airfare ($1,300). World Travel, the University travel agency, will book all participants’ flights. Details on the required booking process will be provided by seminar administrators.

All participants should budget an additional $1,000 for personal expenses and be prepared to cover costs of required and routine immunizations (estimated $50) as recommended by University Health Services. The immunization costs are covered in full for students enrolled in the University’s Student Health Plan. For students covered by families’ health insurance or other insurance plans, the associated costs will vary. International phone plans are highly recommended for all students.

Financial Aid

Students accepted into a Global Seminar and receive term financial aid automatically receive funding toward the course fee and personal meals based on the level of term aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Students who accept a place in a Global Seminar and then, before the seminar begins, withdraw or cannot participate because they are no longer enrolled at Princeton will lose the nonrefundable deposit and any unrecoverable costs. There are no refunds after the start of the program.

 This seminar is generously supported by the Fish Benoist Family Global Seminar Fund. PIIRS Global Seminars are also made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.

Questions? Contact Yolanda Sullivan, Manager, Global Initiatives.