Prof. Gerald Mikkelson Spring 2012 Wednesdays 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. 1009 Wescoe

Office hours: 1:15- 2:30 p.m. Thursdays, and by appointment 4032 Wescoe


An interdisciplinary, team-taught course designed to enable students to acquire knowledge of the geography, resources, history, and literature of Siberia from its beginnings to the present. Siberia is treated as a unique cultural entity formed by the mixture of European (particularly Russian) and indigenous Asian elements.


Principal instructor: Gerald Mikkelson University of Kansas, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

Guest lecturers:

Lil Alessa (University of Alaska)
Cynthia Annett (University of Alaska)
Doug Causey (University of Alaska)
Eduard Dvornikov (Gorno-Altaisk)
Helen Hundley (Wichita State)
Oksana Klimova (Gorno-Altaisk)
Albina Kravchenko (Gorno-Altaisk)
Tatyana Nikonova (Gorno-Altaisk)
Mariya Ostanina (Gorno-Altaisk)
Veronica Padula (University of Alaska)
Natalia Yurkova (Gorno-Altaisk)


Roll call will be taken. Regular attendance is required. Ten percent of your overall grade will be evaluated as A+ for perfect attendance. Each unexcused absence beyond the first will result in a reduction of your final grade. Please inform Professor Mikkelson well in advance of any impending unavoidable absence. Active participation in class discussions counts for another 10% of your final grade.


Attendance 10% Mid-term (written) exam, Маrch 4 30% Final (oral) exam, May 9 20%

Class discussion 10% Term paper (due April 25) 30% Total = 100%


Term papers are due in two hard copies on Wednesday, April 25. They should be 15-20 pages long (double-spaced, typewritten) and demonstrate your own original research and writing. If you have at least two years of Russian you must use some Russian-languages sources. Please submit your topic to Professor Mikkelson for approval by March 28 at the latest.


National Geographic Map of Russia and former Soviet Union.
W. Bruce Lincoln, The Conquest of a Continent: Siberia and the Russians.
James Forsyth, A History of the Peoples of Siberia: Russia’s North Asian Colony.
Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, The Siberian Curse.
Valentin Rasputin, Siberia on Fire.
Varlam Shalamov, selections from the Kolyma Tales.
The Way of Kinship: An Anthology of Native Siberian Literature.
Aleksandr Vampilov, Last Summer in Chulimsk (handout).
Vasily Shukshin, selected Stories from a Siberian Village (handout).
Dmitri Mamin-Sibiryak, “Wintering Station on Chill River” (handout).
Vladimir Korolenko, “Makar’s Dream: A Christmas Story” (handout).
Sergei Zalygin, a selected short story (handout).
Victor Astafiev, “Fish Soup on the Boganida” (handout).
Anton Chekhov, excerpts from The Island of Sakhalin (handout).
Fyodor Dostoevsky, excerpts from Notes from the House of the Dead (handout).


1. January 18 Introduction: “What is Siberia?”

2. January 25 Russia’s Conquest of Siberia.

3. February 1 Western Siberia and Fennoscandia. Western Siberia. Ob’ and Irtysh River Basins, Lake Teletskoe.

4. February 8 Eastern Siberia, Canadian and Alaskan Interior. The Yenisei River Basin. Lake Baikal.

5. February 15 Russian Far East. The Amur River Basin. Rivers Indigirka, Kolyma. Sakhalin Island and Kamchatka Peninsula w/the Kurile Islands.

6. February 22 Major Cities of Siberia: Tobolsk, Tyumen, Khanty-Mansiisk, Omsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Novokuznetsk, Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Kiakhta, Magadan, Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk, Petropavlovsk on Kamchatka, Novosakhalinsk, Vladivostok.

7. February 29 Siberia as a Place of Imprisonment and Exile. Siberian Russian Literature, I: Dostoevsky, Mamin-Sibiryak, Chekhov, Korolenko, Shalamov; films of the Siberian GULAG.

8. March 7 Written mid-term examination [map exercise (15%), film critique (5%), short answer identifications (30%), essays (50%)].

9. March 14 Siberian Indigenous Literature. Siberian Russian Literature, II: Zalygin, Astafiev, Shukshin.

Spring break March 18-25T

10. March 28 Films: Dersu Uzala, The Barber of Siberia.

11. April 4 Geography and History of the Altay Republic. Indigenous Peoples of the Altay Republic.

12. April 11 Russian Old Believers and Russian Orthodox Missionaries in the Colonization of the Altay Mountain Region. Economic Development of the Altay Republic: Advantages and Dangers.

13. April 18 Siberian Russian Literature, III: Rasputin, Vampilov. Is Siberia a Blessing or a Curse for Russia? Explain.

14. April 25 Film: Siberiada. Term papers due in two hard copies.

15. May 2 Individual oral reports (on term papers). Summary and Conclusions. To Whom Will Siberia Belong in 50 Years? Explain

May 9 Final individual oral examinations. 7:30-10:00 p.m. 1009 Wescoe

Dr. Cynthia Annett,
Jan 18, 2012, 5:43 PM