Russian and Slavic Studies (2020 - 2022)
Elementary and Intermediate Language Courses
All courses from RUSSN-UA 1 through RUSSN-UA 4 meet three times a week. All lower-division Russian language courses are closed to native speakers except Russian Grammar and Composition I and II (RUSSN-UA 5, 6).
Elementary Russian I
RUSSN-UA 1 Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Intended to give beginners a speaking and reading knowledge of the Russian language. Introduces the essentials of Russian grammar and the reading of graded texts, with special emphasis on the acquisition of an idiomatic conversational vocabulary.
Elementary Russian II
RUSSN-UA 2 Prerequisite: Elementary Russian I (RUSSN-UA 1) or equivalent. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Continuation of beginner-level work.
Intermediate Russian I
RUSSN-UA 3 Prerequisite: Elementary Russian II (RUSSN-UA 2) or equivalent. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Grammar review, vocabulary building, and drills in spoken Russian.
Intermediate Russian II
RUSSN-UA 4 Prerequisite: Intermediate Russian I (RUSSN-UA 3) or equivalent. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Vocabulary building, idiomatic expressions, and drills in spoken Russian. Completion of this course satisfies the CAS foreign language requirement.
Russian Grammar and Composition I
RUSSN-UA 5 Prerequisite: basic competence in spoken Russian. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Designed for students who speak some Russian at home but have virtually no reading and writing skills. Does not satisfy the College Core Curriculum language requirement.
Russian Grammar and Composition II
RUSSN-UA 6 Prerequisite: Russian Grammar and Composition I (RUSSN-UA 5) or basic competence in reading and writing Russian. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Completion of this course satisfies the CAS foreign language requirement.
Elementary Czech I and II
RUSSN-UA 201, 202 Offered in the fall and spring respectively. 4 points per term.
Introduction to the basic skills: speaking and reading. Essentials of Czech grammar, reading of graded texts, and conversation on everyday subjects. Vocabulary building. Essentials of writing.
Advanced Language Courses (Russian)
The department’s topical courses in Advanced Russian (RUSSN-UA 107-109) are all repeatable for credit. The following topics are offered on a rotating basis (consult the current schedule of classes):
- Russian film (viewing and discussion of Russian and Soviet films)
- Russian press (reading and discussion of newspaper and magazine articles)
- Readings in Russian literature (reading and discussion of short stories by Russian and Soviet writers)
- Soviet and Russian theatre (reading, viewing, and analysis of Russian dramatic works, with background readings on Russian theatre)
- Social issues in Russian culture (reading and discussion of articles on important social and cultural topics)
Advanced Russian I
RUSSN-UA 107 Prerequisite: Intermediate Russian II (RUSSN-UA 4), Russian Grammar and Composition II (RUSSN-UA 6), or equivalent. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Advanced Russian II
RUSSN-UA 108 Prerequisite: Intermediate Russian II (RUSSN-UA 4), Russian Grammar and Composition II (RUSSN-UA 6), or equivalent. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Advanced Russian III
RUSSN-UA 109 Prerequisite: Advanced Russian I or Advanced Russian II (RUSSN-UA 4), Russian Grammar and Composition II (RUSSN-UA 6), or equivalent. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Literature and Civilization Courses
All courses are conducted in English unless otherwise noted.
Introduction to Russian Literature I
RUSSN-UA 811 Offered regularly. 4 points.
A survey of Russian literature of the 19th century. All works are read in translation.
Introduction to Russian Literature II
RUSSN-UA 812 Offered regularly. 4 points.
A survey of Russian literature of the 20th through the 21st century. All works are read in translation.
RUSSN-UA 828 Offered periodically. 4 points.
A critical examination of the writer’s short stories, plays, and unfinished novel Dead Souls.
Contemporary Central and East European Literature
RUSSN-UA 832 Offered periodically. Borenstein. 4 points.
Novels and short stories from Poland, the former Czechoslovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Albania, and Hungary, primarily from the last 50 years. Authors read (in translation) include Kafka, Kundera, Hrabal, Kosiński, Schulz, Gombrowicz, Kristof, Kadare, Kiš, Pavić, and Ugrešić.
Utopia, Apocalypse, and the Millennium
RUSSN-UA 833 Offered periodically. Borenstein. 4 points.
The development of utopianism in literature, philosophy, and political theory, and attempts to put utopian theory into action. The positing of perfect worlds and their relationship to our less-than-perfect reality, anti-utopianism, and the recent resurgence of utopianism and apocalypticism. Readings from Plato, More, Bellamy, Dostoevsky, Marx, Zamyatin, Orwell, Huxley, LeGuin, and Revelation.
RUSSN-UA 837 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Major techniques in his short stories, his influence on the development of the Russian and European novella, and close analysis of his drama (Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard, and Uncle Vanya) and its impact on Russian playwrights and theatre in the 20th century.
RUSSN-UA 839 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Dostoevsky’s major philosophical and religious concerns as reflected in his works. Notes from the Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, and major short stories. Examines his concepts of freedom, history, and Christianity.
Theory of the Avant-Garde, East and West, 1890–1930
RUSSN-UA 841 Identical to COLIT-UA 841, ENGL-UA 730. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Topics include cubism, Italian futurism, Russian cubo-futurism, imagism and vorticism, Dadaism, constructivism, and surrealism. Stresses aesthetic, historical, and political interconnections between the Russian avant-garde and the West. Readings are in English, but comparative literature majors are encouraged to read works in the original language.
Russian Literature in the Original I
RUSSN-UA 847 Prerequisite: at least one semester of Advanced Russian or near-native fluency in Russian. Offered every year. 4 points.
Prose and poetry. Class discussions and papers are also in Russian.
Russian Literature in the Original II
RUSSN-UA 848 Prerequisite: at least one semester of Advanced Russian or near-native fluency in Russian. Offered every year. 4 points.
Prose and poetry. Class discussions and papers are also in Russian.
Introduction to Soviet Cinema
RUSSN-UA 850 Offered every year. Iampolski. 4 points.
Examines landmarks of cinematic art and considers the cultural specificity of Russian cinema, questions of cinema and politics, and cinema and the market. Topics include cinema and revolution, cinema as propaganda, the cinema of the Russian avant-garde and constructivism, cinema and totalitarianism, and socialist realism in film.
Soviet and Post-Soviet Literature
RUSSN-UA 852 Offered periodically. Borenstein. 4 points.
An introduction to Russian 20th-century fiction, concentrating on the two periods of greatest cultural ferment: 1920s modernism and late/post-Soviet postmodernism. How literature reflected the failed attempt to put radical Bolshevik theory into everyday practice.
Legacies of Serfdom and Slavery in Russian and American Literature
RUSSN-UA 854 Offered periodically. Lounsbery. 4 points.
How American slaves and Russian serfs wrote and were written about in the two countries’ literary traditions. Considers the attempts of subjugated people to represent themselves to the dominant culture and the difficulties that members of the dominant culture confronted in writing about people whose experiences were largely inaccessible to them.
Twentieth Century Russia: Terror, Survival, and Beautiful Dreams
RUSSN-UA 859 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Encompasses the last years of the tsars and the Russian Revolution and utilizes film, literature, visual art, and music. Topics: Lenin and communism; Stalinism; the Second World War; the end of Communism and the transition to capitalism. Considers how a fundamentally humanistic ideology produced one of the most murderous and oppressive regimes of the century and how an international movement became increasingly chauvinistic and nationalistic.
Theories of Symbolic Exchange
RUSSN-UA 860 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Marcel Mauss developed a concept of an alternative, non-market type of economy, based on a nonmonetary exchange of such symbolic values as social recognition, sovereignty, and political participation. Today, this concept has acquired a new relevance in relation to the economy of the Internet. Examines various theories of the symbolic that expand the original Maussian model and encompass multiple aspects of culture.
Russia and the West
RUSSN-UA 861 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Explores the question of the West in Russian history and culture since the 17th century. Studies the intellectual products of Russian interactions with the West—constitutional projects, scientific and economic thought, the Westernizer-Slavophile controversy, and revolutions. Emphasizes the role of reading and translation in the making of cultural models. Concludes with Russian emigration to Europe and the United States.
Tolstoy’s War and Peace
RUSSN-UA 862 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines how the text works and the techniques it uses. Also considers the book’s historical context; the sources Tolstoy drew on; its place in his oeuvre and thought; its place in the Russian tradition and in “world” literature; and the various uses (including political and ideological) that have been made of it since its initial publication.
The Unquiet Dead: Imagining the Afterlife in Film and Fiction
RUSSN-UA 870 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Literary and cinematic treatments of vampires, ghosts, zombies, and posthumous narrators. Considers the political and ideological deployment of afterlife narratives, investigating questions of cultural and sexual purity, collective guilt, and socioeconomic anxiety. Engages both the folklore and fiction of the Slavic world and contemporary American reinterpretations.
Nineteenth Century Realism: The Case of Russia
RUSSN-UA 871 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines competing literary representations of urban and rural spaces in Russian realism as a platform for exploring the era’s major cultural and ideological debates. Writers developed widely divergent ideas of Russia and Russianness, from peasant misery and urban squalor to hopeful views of civilized and forward-thinking cities. Readings from Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy, and works of music and visual art.
Internship and Independent Study Courses
Open only to students majoring in the department.
RUSSN-UA 980 1 to 6 points per term.
Native speakers of Russian may work with Russian language students and assist language instructors. A maximum of 4 points of internship may be counted toward the major (not toward the minor). Consult the director of undergraduate studies for further details. Internship credit in other settings and organizations requires a description of duties and approval of the director of undergraduate studies, as well as a final paper.
RUSSN-UA 997, 998 2 to 4 points per term.
A maximum of 8 points of independent study may be counted toward the major (not toward the minor). Before registering, students must submit a one-page typed description of the proposed project to the director of undergraduate studies and the proposed faculty sponsor.