RUST1/RUST3 Environmental History and Cultural Ecology of Russia (VENS20) 5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period II Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Basic studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Russian Studies
Faculty of Communication Sciences

Learning outcomes

- The student knows the main outlines of environmental history of Russia from imperial times until the present day.
- The student understands the formation of complexities and multiple perspectives concerning environmental issues in the Soviet Union.
- The student gains a general understanding of the role of ecological issues in Russian culture.
- The student is able to reflect on environmental issues in contemporary Russia in relation to its history.
- The student gains more detailed knowledge on one specific topic or case study in either a historical or a cultural environmental issue on Russia.

General description

There will be seven lectures. The first is an introductory lecture to the course and the field of Environmental Humanities. After the introduction, there will be two series of three lectures each: the first three will concentrate on environmental history of Russia in the 19th–20th centuries. These lectures take a historical, geographical and ecological perspective on environmental issues in the country during the late imperial and Soviet periods. The other series of three lectures is devoted to cultural issues: the role of ecology in Russian culture in the 19th–20th centuries with a specific emphasis on water. The last lecture peeks at contemporary Russia and environmental issues in the 21st century Russia, especially from a cultural point of view. The students will be given reading tasks before the lectures, and the lectures will include class discussions on these topics.

After each of the two three-lecture series, there will be a seminar, where each student gives a presentation on a topic that relates to the previous lecture series. These presentations delve deeper in a particular environmental topic or a case study. Every student gives only one presentation, on either history or culture. If the student wants credits for RST3, s/he will choose a presentation on a historical topic, if RST1, then a cultural one. The teacher will offer sample topics, but the students can also suggest their own.

Teaching methods

Teaching methods include lectures with class discussions and students’ presentations in seminars. There will be an introductory lecture and three lectures on both environmental history and cultural ecology. Students will be required to write a critically reflective learning diary of the lectures.

Students can choose either a historical or a cultural topic for their presentations. Depending on the number of participants and students’ preferences, the presentations are given in groups of 1–3 people. After the seminar presentation, the students will do a written work on the same topic. They can choose whether to write an essay to the teacher, a public Wikipedia article, or some other form of written work.

Schedule week by week:

  1. Lecture, 31.1.: Introduction to the course and Environmental Humanities
  2. Lecture, 7.2.: Environmental history of pre-Soviet Russia
  3. Lecture, 14.2.: Ecocide and environmental destruction in the Soviet Union
  4. Lecture, 21.2.: Environmentalism and protection of nature in the Soviet Union
  5. Seminar, 7.3.: students’ presentations on historical topics
  6. Lecture, 14.3.: Russian cultural ecology
  7. Lecture, 21.3.: Water and Russian culture
  8. Lecture, 28.3.: Culture and environment in post-socialist Russia
  9. Seminar, 11.4: students’ presentations on cultural topics

Enrolment for University Studies

Enrolment time has expired


Mika Perkiömäki, Teacher responsible


31-Jan-2019 – 11-Apr-2019
Thu 31-Jan-2019 - 21-Feb-2019 weekly at 12-14, Pinni B4117
Thu 14-Mar-2019 - 28-Mar-2019 weekly at 12-14, Pinni B4117
Thu 7-Mar-2019 at 12-14, Pinni B4117
Thu 11-Apr-2019 at 12-14, Pinni B4117


Numeric 1-5.

Further information