The Making of Modern Ukraine: A Free Online Course from Yale Professor Timothy Snyder

This fall, his­to­ri­an Tim­o­thy Sny­der is teach­ing a course at Yale Uni­ver­si­ty called The Mak­ing of Mod­ern Ukraine. And he’s gen­er­ous­ly mak­ing the lec­tures avail­able on YouTube–so that you can fol­low along too. All of the cur­rent­ly-avail­able lec­tures appear above (or on this playlist), and we will keep adding new ones as they come online. A syl­labus for the course can be found here. Key ques­tions cov­ered by the course include:

What brought about the Ukrain­ian nation?  Ukraine must have exist­ed as a soci­ety and poli­ty on 23 Feb­ru­ary 2022, else Ukraini­ans would not have col­lec­tive­ly resist­ed Russ­ian inva­sion the next day.  Why has the exis­tence of Ukraine occa­sioned such con­tro­ver­sy?  In what ways are Pol­ish, Russ­ian, and Jew­ish self-under­stand­ing depen­dent upon expe­ri­ences in Ukraine?  Just how and when did a mod­ern Ukrain­ian nation emerge?  Just how for that mat­ter does any mod­ern nation emerge?  And why some nations and not oth­ers?  What is the bal­ance between struc­ture and agency in his­to­ry?  Can nations be cho­sen, and does it mat­ter?  Can the choic­es of indi­vid­u­als influ­ence the rise of much larg­er social orga­ni­za­tions?  If so, how?  Ukraine was the coun­try most touched by Sovi­et and Nazi ter­ror: what can we learn about those sys­tems, then, from Ukraine?  Is the post-colo­nial, mul­ti­lin­gual Ukrain­ian nation a holdover from the past, or does it hold some promise for the future?

The Mak­ing of Mod­ern Ukraine will be added to our col­lec­tion of Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es, a sub­set of our meta col­lec­tion: 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

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Relat­ed Con­tent

20 Lessons from the 20th Cen­tu­ry About How to Defend Democ­ra­cy from Author­i­tar­i­an­ism, Accord­ing to Yale His­to­ri­an Tim­o­thy Sny­der

A Beau­ti­ful­ly Illus­trat­ed Edi­tion of On Tyran­ny: Twen­ty Lessons from the Twen­ti­eth Cen­tu­ry, the Best­selling Book by His­to­ri­an Tim­o­thy Sny­der

Sav­ing Ukrain­ian Cul­tur­al Her­itage Online: 1,000+ Librar­i­ans Dig­i­tal­ly Pre­serve Arti­facts of Ukrain­ian Civ­i­liza­tion Before Rus­sia Can Destroy Them

Putin’s War on Ukraine Explained in 8 Min­utes

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Comments (16)
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  • Adrian says:

    I saw the first two lec­tures and was a lot of con­text with lit­tle con­tent.

  • Sandra says:

    The Syl­labus sets forth the required read­ing that pro­vides the con­tent. The prof is pro­vid­ing the con­text that you can’t get just by read­ing.

  • Peter Kussell says:

    Where can we get the required read­ing you men­tion. I did­n’t see any links or guide on how to get to it, except for being a Yale stu­dent in the course.

  • Stanley Bernold says:

    The required read­ing is in the Course Syl­labus. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that syl­labus is only avail­able to Yalies. Luck­i­ly for you, I am an ancient Yalie (Ph.D. 63) and can email you a text copy if you promise not to tell any­one where/how you got it.

  • Denise says:

    Not true. The syl­labus is avail­able to all. (Why would Prof. Sny­der make the lec­tures avail­able but not the syl­labus? Think about it … )

    Link to the syl­labus here:

  • Julie Steinhilber says:

    Sny­der pret­ty much says up front you’ll be lost if you don’t do the required read­ing. There’s like nine books on the read­ing list. Would any­one attempt to lis­ten to some 27 lec­tures with­out the required read­ing?

  • Kyle S says:

    Since we’re lib­er­at­ed from the required read­ing, is any­body keep­ing a list of lit­er­a­ture he men­tions in lec­tures? So far I’ve got:

    Heart of Dark­ness
    Can­tur­bury Tales
    Ovid’s Meta­mor­phis­es
    Ice­landic Sagas

    I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch.

  • Kyle S says:

    I mean, I’ve got a job and a fam­i­ly and not a whole ton of time to take class­es. But I also want to get a seri­ous his­to­ri­an’s expla­na­tion of how that part of the world became what it is today. So, in the time it takes me to clean up the kitchen in the evening, if I can lis­ten to a lec­ture… I mean, I’m not try­ing to pass the final. So, no. Not doing the read­ing. And so far, I’m get­ting what I want to get, and enjoy­ing the lec­tures. I also don’t plan on writ­ing any term papers.

  • Stanley Bernold says:

    I under­stand your time con­straints. But you are miss­ing out on some fas­ci­nat­ing read­ing. You might want to build a list that you can read in future, at your leisure. I rec­om­mend “Black Sea” and “The Red Prince” in par­tic­u­lar. One of the joys of attend­ing Yale is to get the pro­fes­sors’ read­ing rec­om­men­da­tions. Tim­o­thy Sny­der’s “required” and rec­om­mend­ed lists are worth­while, and his own books are ter­rif­ic.

  • Kyle S says:

    Thanks! I’d def­i­nite­ly love to do some of it some day. I’ve read Black Earth, and I’ve found his work real­ly engag­ing. Right now I’m able to occa­sion­al­ly Wikipedia some of the names that he men­tions just to get a bio. When I have time to learn a lot, I’ll learn a lot. For nos, I’ll learn a lit­tle.

  • Richard McBee says:

    He’d do a lot bet­ter to state his three part sto­ry of nations and get onto the Ukran­ian idea of their sto­ry ver­sus the Russ­ian sto­ry of Ukraine, ver­sus the His­tor­i­cal 19th cen­tu­ry of Ukraine ver­sus the pre­his­tor­i­cal sto­ry of Ukraine to give an over­all look at the hypoc­ra­cy of the polit­i­cal sto­ries of the lead­ers who are try­ing to jus­ti­fy their pro­grams, wars, .… A lot of fluff in the lec­ture.

  • Richard McBee says:

    If you don’t want to cov­er all of his­to­ry, just go back to the Sto­ries of Stal­in and Hitler dur­ing the peri­od of 1930 — 1945 and look at their jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for the Ukraine and their jus­ti­fi­ca­tion­ws of why it was OK to kill off some 30+ mil­lion peo­ple by star­va­tion and mass mur­ders for their own polit­i­cal rea­sons in the Ukraine. Pret­ty obvi­ous that wew can tell the stroy we want and if enough peo­ple believe it, Bin­go! you can do what­ev­er you dan­ged well want with the coun­try and the peo­ple.

  • Seda Binbasgil says:

    Are there tran­scrip­tions of Snyder’s lectures…like the rest of the yale online cours­es?

  • Ashley Upshall says:

    These are a won­der­ful series of lec­tures. Thank you for mak­ing them avail­able.

  • Tom Keefe says:

    Fas­ci­nat­ing detail, even with­out the read­ing.
    As an old Yalie (’71) I’m curi­ous where the class­room is that we’re watch­ing Tim Sny­der deliv­er these lec­tures in?
    In addi­tion to being a remark­able intel­lec­tu­al expe­ri­ence for all of us lis­ten­ing, it’s a great adver­tise­ment for the high-qual­i­ty teach­ing that occurs at a great Uni­ver­si­ty. This is a rare look at what a great edu­ca­tion looks like. Thanks for mak­ing it avail­able to all.

  • David Streckuss says:

    I did a binge and par­took of all the lec­tures in a cou­ple days. The course ought to be required view­ing by all Amer­i­cans before any­one feels they need to opine on the subject/current cir­cum­stance in Ukraine. Thank you.

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