Saint Petersburg, Russia

Russian History, Arts and Life

when 1 July 2019 - 27 July 2019
language English
duration 4 weeks
credits 10 EC
fee USD 1500

Four EUSP professors will deliver courses tailored for a better understanding of Russia through lectures specifically focusing on St. Petersburg. However, the topics explored in each course will provide keys to comprehend Russia’s history, cultural diversity, and relations of state and society. The highlights of each course will be study trips to museums, historic sites, and theatres. Excursions will also include riding the St. Petersburg metro (subway) to see its impressive architecture under the ground, tasting what Petersburgians prefer to eat at various ‘ethnic cuisines’, and watching ballet – to which Russia also owes its fame.

We scheduled the school for the best months to enjoy St. Petersburg, one of the world’s top travel destinations, in the ‘White Nights’ period when the sun sets only for a brief period of twilight, while the city never sleeps. It is also the best time to watch the spectacular opening of main St. Petersburg bridges at night and to fancy its rivers and canals.

Weeks 1-2

The Window to Europe: History in St. Petersburg (by prof. Sergei Podbolotov)
The major theme of the course is the idea of St. Petersburg in Russian History. It covers the period from the foundation of St. Petersburg by Peter the Great until the collapse of Communism at the end of the twentieth century. The course aims at discussing the historical development of the capital of the Russian Empire, the role of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) in the revolution and the fate of the city that was renamed into Leningrad under the Communist dictatorship. Lectures in the classroom will be supplemented by educational trips to Tsarskoe Selo in the vicinity of St. Petersburg and to the medieval town of Novgorod the Great.

Temples, Markets, Diasporas: Diversity in St. Petersburg (by prof. Gevorg Avetikyan)
This course will introduce the diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures of those who live in St. Petersburg. As the capital of the Russian Empire, then Soviet Union’s and modern Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg has always been a major economic and cultural center, which attracted millions of migrants from Russia’s various corners and from abroad. Many of them founded their own communities based on regional, ethnic, and religious kinship or other types of affinity. This bottom-up consolidation into groups with shared identities was often accompanied by imperial and state policies aimed at what could be called ‘diversity management’. We will study a few cases through lectures on the history and modern state of various diasporas in St. Petersburg. We will also visit their places of worship and economic activity in quest for a different look at the structure and life of the city.

Weeks 3-4

Empire. State. Building: Architecture of St. Petersburg (by prof. Vadim Bass)
This course treats architecture of St. Petersburg as a field where various forces interact: forces like those of the state and society, of professional and other social groups, and of Russian and non-Russian culture. The architecture here is considered as a means of cultural exchange, as well as a sphere for the representation for power, culture, and political systems. Social and cultural issues will be explored by studying architectural monuments and analyzing their visual elements, style, and form. The course is divided into three sections covering the following periods of Russian architecture: medieval and Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet. In-class lectures are accompanied with architectural excursions through the city center as well as the early Soviet period residential area.

St. Petersburg: Imagining a City, Building a City (by prof. Olga Bychkova)
Exploring St. Petersburg with scholars of Science and Technology Studies (STS) is a journey to experience. In our class, we will combine observations of historic events, the technological infrastructure of the city, and literary images of this infrastructure to give a sense of what it meant to live in St. Petersburg in the past and today. Learning activities will be devoted to two topics we use to build an imaginary city. First, we will explore the story of water in St. Petersburg. We will follow a route from Pushkin’s Bronze Horseman to Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment to observe the shaping sociotechnical forms of the life of the city. We will then discover culture and practices of food consumption by visiting prerevolutionary and Soviet-era places where locals preferred to eat and to drink. Students will visit thematic museums – such as the Museum of Water, Museum of Bread, and the Museum of Metro (subway). We will also make an interactive trip around the city with a special task to collect images of water or food infrastructures.

Course leader

Prof. Gevorg Avetikyan

Target group

Bachelor and master degree students, researchers, journalists, and everyone interested in Russian Studies to learn more about history, culture and the modern lifestyle in Russia at our four-week summer school.

Course aim

All our courses will be taught in English. They are designed to be interactive, insightful and informative. Learning activities and study trips will ensure new skills, knowledge, unforgettable experience, and four weeks of fun for all school participants.

Fee info

USD 1500: 4-week school (academic courses & cultural activities)
USD 0: Russian Visa support, assistance in booking your accommodation, white nights and fun