Autobiography of Sergei Abramovich Essay

Write a 6-7 pg. essay focused on an imagined protagonist whose social background resembles that of Kanatchikov. Write a fictional autobiography following the example of the actual autobiography of Kanatchikov. You can make your protagonist a Russian peasant or a non-Russian peasant; you can actually imagine that your protagonist is a woman; he or she can move to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Siberia or the Caucasus, or any other region in the empire; he or she can join revolutionary movement, or nationalist movement or even become a terrorist; your protagonist can participate in the Revolution of 1905-07, support the parliament or oppose it, be fascinated by the Tsar Nicolas II and his family or criticize him, and so on; he can be drafted to the army with the beginning of WWI and perish there, fight at the Eastern Front or in the Caucasus, be forcefully resettled (if your protagonist is a Jew or a German), become a Bolshevik or a supporter of the Provisional government and so on. In short, construct a story of a simple man or woman in the late 19th-early 20thcentury’s Russian empire and write it as a fictional autobiography. (Real historical examples, be thorough, and cite sources properly!)

^(Starting from Introduction: Kanatchikov’s Story of My Life as Document and Literature) – Use as a similar storline

You can write about someone who lived in the Russian empire during one of these periods (as a peasant, revolutionary, soldier, etc). You can imagine your protagonist as a man or woman; you can even trace two generations (say, a mother who would be of Durova’s age and her son or daughter); you should select for your protagonist their social class(peasant), nationality and think about his/her economic status. Your protagonist should migrate at least once: to study at a university, in search for a work, as a merchant, or just for fun or for any other reason; perhaps, he or she will be exiled to Siberia for revolutionary activity; perhaps, a wife will follow her husband to some other place, etc. Please be specific about the place of birth of your protagonist (locate it on the map) and his/her migrations.

Most importantly, your protagonist should live through the events that we discussed in class and experience many of the challenges that his coevals faced. Don’t forget to indicate exact years when the events took place.

You are free to select a genre of your story: a memoir, a diary, a police file, a historical study of someone’s life, an interview, a letter to grandchildren, etc. At the same time, you cannot simply fanaticize and speculate based on your own experience. You should “construct” your protagonist and the circumstances of his/her life very carefully, constantly referring to literature and historical sources that we used in class. You may use other sources only IN ADDITION to the ones that are already included in your syllabus and that you are supposed to know by now. Every time you write about a specific event in the life of your protagonist you should make a footnote to a specific lecture, PP presentation, a textbook chapter or a historical source. If you use additional sources, please footnote them in full, too. Your story should be historically believable, raised issues that we discussed in class and demonstrate your knowledge of the assigned literature in the course and your understanding of imperial Russia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

If you need additional information, before turning to Internet, please consult Evtukhov’s and Stites’ “A History of Russia Since 1800” (you have the full title of this textbook in the syllabus). This textbook will give you better understanding of the epoch than any random on-line publication which accuracy you cannot assess.

Remember, how we discussed in class the autobiography of Kanatchikov: try to think about the broader sociological meaning and representativeness of specific experiences in the life of your protagonist; find a way to discuss these sociologically significant aspects of your individual story in the paper.

Please edit your paper multiple times; make sure it can be historically accurate,. This is a difficult assignment that will require serios work, including preliminary research and additional reading. It would be extremely regrettable to undermine your honest efforts by negligent or simply poor writing. Please do your best to produce a historically convincing and well-researched story AND a good, readable, narrative.

For addtl readings, and powerpoints to help with paper, I can provide with as much detail as I possibly can.