Russian Studies

Last updated: August 17, 2016 at 4:22 p.m.

Objectives

The Russian Studies program at Brandeis offers students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the language, literature, culture, and history of Russia and the former Soviet Union. The Russian language serves as the gateway to the study of Russian literature and history. A diverse selection of courses offered both within and beyond the department allows students to focus their studies on a variety of cultural, literary, social and political aspects of Russia and other post-Soviet states. The program regularly sponsors co-curricular events for Russian students, including film series, lectures, and Russian tea hours featuring Russian language conversation for students of all levels. Students are encouraged to study in Russia for a summer, semester or year. Links to approved study programs in Russia can be found on the Brandeis Study Abroad Web site.

Undergraduate Major and Minor
Language study constitutes the core of the program. All our language courses are designed to familiarize students with both high culture and the norms of everyday social interactions. A four-semester sequence of foundational Russian language courses (RUS 10a, 20b, 30a, and 40b) allows students to reach the Intermediate-Mid level of proficiency according to the ACTFL language scale. This language sequence is followed by content-based language courses (100 level) focusing on increasing proficiency across all four modalities (speaking, listening, reading and writing) through engagement with literature, film and contemporary Russian culture. Students who complete the language requirement for the major and minor by taking language courses at Brandeis are expected to be at the Intermediate-Mid or Intermediate-High levels of proficiency. Students who study abroad for at least one semester in addition to learning Russian at Brandeis are expected to reach the Advanced-Low to Advanced-Mid levels. Students are encouraged to include study abroad in Russia as part of their major.

The program also accommodates the language needs of heritage speakers of Russian, i.e., students who grew up in Russian-speaking families or bilingual households. These students have a unique opportunity to take a sequence of language courses to develop their language skills. The sequence starts with a specialized course for heritage students who have never formally studied the language and/or who cannot read and write in Cyrillic. Beyond this initial course, heritage speakers of Russian can take upper-level content-based language courses which aim to develop their bilingual competencies through engagement with Russian literature, film and culture as well as hone their critical thinking skills in Russian through close reading/watch and textual analysis.

Bilingual students interested in Russian language study and/or the Russian major and minor are encouraged to consult with the Russian Language Program Director early on in their academic career in order to determine the appropriate course of study.

Electives can be chosen from among rich offerings in Russian and comparative literature, film and culture, as well as history, politics, and courses on Russian Jewish history. Literature courses focus on the major authors and works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most literature electives are taught in English in order to make them accessible to a broad range of students. Students of Russian are encouraged to do as much of the literature course readings as possible in Russian.

Learning Goals

Russian Studies is dedicated to understanding the language, literature, culture and history of Russia and the former Soviet Union. The Russian language is spoken by almost 300 million people worldwide. Russia and the former Soviet Union have a complex history which made major contributions to world culture in literature, visual art, music, dance, theater, opera, film, philosophy, psychology, literary theory, and other areas.

Beyond the language knowledge it offers, the major takes students on an intellectual journey into Russian literature, culture and history through courses taught in both English and Russian. The major is based on a strong interdisciplinary approach which encourages students to become sophisticated analysts of Russian cultural traditions expressed through language, literature, film, theater, history and politics.

Knowledge
Students completing the major in Russian Studies should:

  • possess a substantial core of knowledge about the Russian language and literature as well as have a general understanding of modern Russian and Soviet history and culture;
  • be familiar with the major Russian creative writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries;
  • understand the dynamic relations between various kinds of cultural texts and their historical contexts;
  • understand the resources and methods of at least one of the disciplines included in Russian Studies;
  • use their understanding of literary, linguistic and historical analysis to raise and explore new questions about Russia and the Russophone world;
  • appreciate the diversity and complexity of human thought and experience, as expressed in the similarities and differences between Russian- and English-speaking cultures.

Core Skills
The Russian Studies major emphasizes Brandeis University's core skills in critical thinking and communication. Students completing a degree in Russian Studies will acquire the ability and skills to:

  • write and converse in Russian at least at the Intermediate-High level as defined by the ACTFL;
  • demonstrate independence in comprehending Russian texts produced in written or oral modalities on a variety of non-technical subjects that are relevant to disciplines beyond language study;
  • analyze complex texts through critical close reading and respond to them in sophisticated and coherent English;
  • apply basic critical methodologies to the study of Russian literature, history, and culture;
  • engage in research in the field using primary and secondary sources;
  • generate original ideas and insights using knowledge of the Russian language and critical skills acquired through the study of Russian history and culture.

Social Justice
The Russian Studies curriculum prepares graduates to participate as informed citizens in a global society by exposing them to a different cultural tradition, the history of another complex civilization that combines both western and non-western aspects, and the diversity of language through which human experience is expressed and conveyed. The various components of the major strive to foster understanding of and respect for cultural traditions of Russia and other Newly Independent States. Language study and the practice of literary analysis foster self-reflection and inquiry, and prepare graduates to be life-long learners.

Upon Graduating: A Brandeis student with a Russian Studies major will be prepared to:

  • pursue graduate study and a scholarly career in Russian, Russian literature, Second Language Acquisition, or any discipline focusing Russia and the Russophone world; or
  • use the knowledge and perspectives gained from the sustained study of Russian language, history and literature to pursue professional training and a range of careers in any field dealing with Russia and the CIS including government, law, politics, anthropology, area studies, international business, journalism, international relations, education, and human rights.

A major in Russian may obtain the Massachusetts teaching certificate at the high school level by additionally completing requirements of the education program. Interested students should meet with the Education program director.

How to Become a Major or a Minor

Students considering a Russian major or minor should complete the language requirement as soon as possible. Students who wish to discuss issues of language placement should speak to the director of the Russian language program. All other questions about the major or the minor should be directed to the undergraduate advising head.

Faculty

Irina Dubinina, Director of the Russian Language Program
Russian as a second language. Russian as a heritage language.

Robin Feuer Miller
Russian and comparative literature.

David Powelstock, Undergraduate Advising Head
Russian and comparative literature.

Curt Woolhiser
Russian language.

Affiliated Faculty
ChaeRan Freeze (Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)
Gregory Freeze (History)

Requirements for the Minor

A. Advanced Language and Literature Study: one of the following courses: RUS 105a, 106b, 150b, 153a.

B. Russian Studies Electives: Four Russian Studies electives chosen from the list below.  At least one of these courses must be a RECS course and at least one must be a non-RECS, non-RUS course. Students have the option of counting a second Advanced Language and Literature Study course (RUS 105a, 106b, 115b, 150b, and 153a), taken beyond the Advanced Language and Literature Study requirement under (A), toward the total of four Russian Studies Electives, but minors must still take at least one RECS elective and at least one non-RECS, non-RUS elective. Although most RECS courses are taught in English, minors are encouraged to do as much of the required reading in Russian as possible. Additional courses with appropriate content may be counted as electives by student petition to the UAH. To be assured of receiving credit for such courses, the student must consult with the UAH before taking the course.

C. No course with a final grade below C- can count toward fulfilling the minor requirements in Russian Studies.

D. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the minor requirements.

Requirements for the Major

A. Proseminar: RECS 100a (Russian Soul: Masterworks of Modern Russian Culture) or COML 100a (Comparing Literatures: Theory and Practice) to be completed no later than the junior year.

B. Advanced Language and Literature Study: two of the following courses: RUS 105a, 106b, 115b, 150b, 153a, 160b. At least one of the two must be a literature course conducted in Russian (RUS 150b or RUS 153a).

C. Russian Studies Electives: Five Russian Studies Electives chosen from the list below. At least two of these courses must be RECS courses and at least one must be a non-RECS, non-RUS course. Students have the option of counting a third Advanced Language and Literature Study course (RUS 105a, 106b, 115b, 150b, 153a, and 160b),  taken beyond the  Advanced Language and Literature Study requirement under (B), toward the total of five Russian Studies Electives, but majors must still take at least two RECS electives and at least one non-RECS, non-RUS elective. Although most RECS courses are taught in English, majors are encouraged to do as much of the required reading in Russian as possible. Additional non-RECS courses with appropriate content may be counted as electives by student petition to the UAH. To be assured of receiving credit for such courses, the student must consult with the UAH before taking the course.

D. Majors wishing to graduate with departmental honors must enroll in and complete RUS 99a and RUS 99b (Senior Thesis), a two-semester sequence. Before enrolling, students should consult with the UAH and must arrange to be advised by a faculty member in the department who has agreed to direct the thesis. Honors are awarded on the basis of cumulative excellence in all courses taken in the major and the grade on the honors thesis, as determined by the department faculty. The second semester of the senior thesis, RUS 99b, may be counted toward the five required Russian Studies Electives.

E. No course with a final grade below C- can count toward fulfilling the major requirements in Russian Studies.

F. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the major requirements.

(1-99) Primarily for Undergraduate Students

RUS 10a Beginning Russian I
Four class hours and one recitation hour per week.
For students who have had no previous study of Russian. The four-skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) introduction to the Russian language with the focus on developing oral proficiency early on. A systematic presentation of the basic grammar and vocabulary of the language within the context of Russian culture. Usually offered every fall.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 20b Beginning Russian II
Prerequisite: RUS 10a with a grade of C- or higher or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Four class hours and one recitation hour per week.
For students with some previous study of Russian. Continuing development of proficiency across all four skills with the goal of reaching the Intermediate-Low level (ACTFL scale). Student-centered classes emphasize conversation and structural accuracy. Students will complete the learning of the grammatical architecture of the language and expand their vocabulary. Usually offered every spring.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 29b Russian Language for Russian Speakers
May not be taken for credit by students who took RUS 110a or 50b in prior years.
Designed to meet the needs of heritage speakers of Russian who have had little or no formal training in their home language and who want to develop their reading and writing skills. An introduction of the rules of Russian orthography, morphology and syntax with emphasis on developing bilingual competencies and a systematic understanding of the structure of the Russian language. Russian linguistic system is presented in context: readings range from short works of prose fiction to articles from the contemporary Russian press. Usually offered every spring.
Staff

RUS 30a Intermediate Russian I
[ fl ]
Prerequisite: RUS 20b with a grade of C- or higher or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Four class hours and one recitation hour per week.
For students with some previous study of Russian (RUS 10a and RUS 20b or outside study). Focus on solidifying linguistic performance by creating with the language to produce unrehearsed, meaningful exchanges of information. Refining of structural knowledge and dramatic expansion of vocabulary within the context of Russian culture. Authentic texts and films are used to create context for reviewing and expanding grammar, syntax and vocabulary knowledge. Usually offered every fall.
Mr. Woolhiser

RUS 40b Intermediate Russian II
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: RUS 30a with a grade of C- or higher or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Four class hours and one recitation hour per week.
Focuses on expanding the range of contexts for language use and pushing for a greater ease and structural accuracy of language production. Further refining of grammar and vocabulary within the context of Russian culture. Authentic texts and films are used for creating context for reviewing and expanding grammar, syntax and vocabulary knowledge. Usually offered every spring semester.
Mr. Woolhiser

RUS 92a Internship
Usually offered every year.
Mr. Powelstock

RUS 98a Independent Study
May be taken only with the permission of the adviser to majors and the chair of the department. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor.
Reading and reports under faculty supervision. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

RUS 98b Independent Study
May be taken only with the permission of the adviser to majors and the chair of the department. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor.
Reading and reports under faculty supervision. Usually offered every year.
Staff

RUS 99a Senior Research
Students should consult the area head of their major.
Usually offered every year.
Staff

RUS 99b Senior Thesis
Students should consult the area head of their major.
Usually offered every year.
Staff

(100-199) For Both Undergraduate and Graduate Students

RECS 100a Russian Soul: Masterworks of Modern Russian Culture
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian. Satisfies the Proseminar requirement for the Russian Studies major.
Examines masterpieces of modern Russian culture in literature, film, philosophy, art, music, theater, opera and ballet. How has Russian culture treated such common human themes as life, death, love, language, identity, and community? What makes Russian cultural tradition unique? Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 130a The Russian Novel
[ hum wi ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
A comprehensive survey of the major writers and themes of the nineteenth century including Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and others. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 131a The Twentieth-Century Russian Novel
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
An introduction to the major novels of the modernist, Soviet, and post-Soviet eras, including the emigration, such as those by Sologub, Bely, Olesha, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Erofeev, and Pelevin. May also include some short stories. Usually offered every fourth year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 134b Chekhov
[ hum wi ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Offers a detailed investigation of the evolution of Chekhov's art, emphasizing the thematic and structural aspects of Chekhov's works. Attention paid to methods of characterization, use of detail, narrative technique, and the roles into which he casts his audience. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 135a Russian Short Fictions: The Art of Narrative
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Focuses on the great tradition of the short story as practiced by Russian and Russian Jewish writers and the connection and divisions among them. This genre invites extreme stylistic and narrative experimentation ranging from the comic to the tragic, as well as being a vehicle for striking expressions of complex social, philosophical, and religious themes. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 146a Creative Genius: The Case of Dostoevsky
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Close readings of selected short works as well as three exciting, yet disturbing novels which have had an indelible influence generally on the novel as a genre and on succeeding generations of writers, readers, and thinkers: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 147b Tolstoy and the Contrariness of Desire
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Studies the major short stories and novels of Leo Tolstoy against the backdrop of nineteenth-century history and with reference to twentieth-century critical theory. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 148a Russian Drama: Text and Performance
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Examines the rich tradition of Russian drama and theater. Readings include masterpieces of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including those by Chekhov, Pushkin, Gogol, Ostrovsky, Mayakovsky, Erdman, and others. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 150a Russian and Soviet Cinema
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Readings in English.
Examines the Russian/Soviet cinematic tradition from the silent era to today, with special attention to cultural context and visual elements. Film masterpieces directed by Bauer, Eisenstein, Vertov, Parajanov, Tarkovsky, Mikhalkov, and others. Weekly screenings. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 154a The Art of Vladimir Nabokov
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Readings in English.
A concentrated study of Vladimir Nabokov, the most noted Russian author living in emigration and one of the most influential novelists of the twentieth century. Focuses on the major Russian- and English-language novels. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 161b Slavic Folklore and Myth: Epic Heroes, Lucky Fools, Iron-Toothed Witches and the Undead
[ hum ]
Explores the magical and mysterious world of Russian and Slavic folklore, including folk mythology and demonology, seasonal rituals and folk magic, proverbs and riddles, folk tales and oral epic poetry. Coursework will consist of readings, discussions, papers, and projects. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Woolhiser

RECS/THA 140a Russian Theater: Stanislavsky to Present
[ ca hum wi ]
Throughout its history, Russian theatre has tried to communicate truthfully in a mostly repressive society. This course introduces students to the achievements of theatre artists from Stanislavsky through Post-Modernism. We will examine the work of groundbreaking directors like Meyerhold, Vakhtangov, and Lyubimov. We will read and analyze representative works of major modern and contemporary playwrights. The course load consists of readings, discussions, papers and in-class projects. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Troyanovsky

RUS 105a Russia Today: Advanced Language Skills through Contemporary Culture
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: RUS 29b, RUS 40b or RUS 50b with a grade of C- or higher, or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Taught in Russian.
For advanced and heritage students of Russian language who wish to expand their communicative skills in Russian and develop public speaking skills. Explores aspects of contemporary Russian society and culture. Focus on linguistic and cultural analysis of various types of texts: from contemporary prose to the Russian press (including the Internet), selected films, and pop culture artifacts. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 106b Advanced Russian Language through Film
[ fl hum oc ]
Prerequisite: RUS 29b, RUS 40b or RUS 50b with a grade of C- or higher, or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Taught in Russian.
For advanced and heritage students of Russian who wish to enhance their proficiency and accuracy in speaking, listening and writing, and learn about Russian/Soviet culture. Course activities focus on discussions of Russian and Soviet societies as portrayed in Russian/Soviet films; oral presentation assignments help students develop their public speaking skills. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 150b Advanced Russian Language through 20th Century Literature
[ fl hum oc ]
Prerequisite (heritage speakers): RUS 29b, or RUS 50b with a grade of C- or higher, or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Prerequisite (non-heritage speakers): RUS 40b or the equivalent. Taught in Russian. Course may be repeated for credit with instructor's permission.
A seminar for continuing students of Russian who wish to enhance their proficiency and accuracy in speaking, reading and writing. Focusing on the close study of Russian literature in the original Russian and the development of Russian oral and written language skills needed for the close reading and discussion of literature. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 153a Advanced Russian Language through 19th Century Literature
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: RUS 29b, RUS 40b or RUS 50b with a grade of C- or higher, or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Taught in Russian.
An undergraduate seminar for heritage and advanced students of Russian. Focus on the study of 19th-century Russian literature in the original and development of Russian oral and written skills needed for the close reading and discussion of literature. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 160b Russian/Soviet Jews: Dual Identities in Text, Image and Music
[ fl hum oc ]
Prerequisite: Advanced Russian language skills.
An undergraduate seminar introduces heritage and advanced students of Russian to a number of Russian Jewish artists and writers who created in the Russian language and who made significant contributions to 20th-century Soviet and Russian literature, cinema, theater, and music. Through analyses and discussions of texts, images and music created by Russian-speaking Jews, students will explore the role Russian Jews played in shaping the Soviet and modern Russian culture. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Dubinina

Russian and European Cultural Studies Courses

Courses Taught in English.

RECS 100a Russian Soul: Masterworks of Modern Russian Culture
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian. Satisfies the Proseminar requirement for the Russian Studies major.
Examines masterpieces of modern Russian culture in literature, film, philosophy, art, music, theater, opera and ballet. How has Russian culture treated such common human themes as life, death, love, language, identity, and community? What makes Russian cultural tradition unique? Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 130a The Russian Novel
[ hum wi ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
A comprehensive survey of the major writers and themes of the nineteenth century including Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and others. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 131a The Twentieth-Century Russian Novel
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
An introduction to the major novels of the modernist, Soviet, and post-Soviet eras, including the emigration, such as those by Sologub, Bely, Olesha, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Erofeev, and Pelevin. May also include some short stories. Usually offered every fourth year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 134b Chekhov
[ hum wi ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Offers a detailed investigation of the evolution of Chekhov's art, emphasizing the thematic and structural aspects of Chekhov's works. Attention paid to methods of characterization, use of detail, narrative technique, and the roles into which he casts his audience. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 135a Russian Short Fictions: The Art of Narrative
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Focuses on the great tradition of the short story as practiced by Russian and Russian Jewish writers and the connection and divisions among them. This genre invites extreme stylistic and narrative experimentation ranging from the comic to the tragic, as well as being a vehicle for striking expressions of complex social, philosophical, and religious themes. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 146a Creative Genius: The Case of Dostoevsky
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Close readings of selected short works as well as three exciting, yet disturbing novels which have had an indelible influence generally on the novel as a genre and on succeeding generations of writers, readers, and thinkers: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 147b Tolstoy and the Contrariness of Desire
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Studies the major short stories and novels of Leo Tolstoy against the backdrop of nineteenth-century history and with reference to twentieth-century critical theory. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

RECS 148a Russian Drama: Text and Performance
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
Examines the rich tradition of Russian drama and theater. Readings include masterpieces of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including those by Chekhov, Pushkin, Gogol, Ostrovsky, Mayakovsky, Erdman, and others. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 150a Russian and Soviet Cinema
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Readings in English.
Examines the Russian/Soviet cinematic tradition from the silent era to today, with special attention to cultural context and visual elements. Film masterpieces directed by Bauer, Eisenstein, Vertov, Parajanov, Tarkovsky, Mikhalkov, and others. Weekly screenings. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 154a The Art of Vladimir Nabokov
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Readings in English.
A concentrated study of Vladimir Nabokov, the most noted Russian author living in emigration and one of the most influential novelists of the twentieth century. Focuses on the major Russian- and English-language novels. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RECS 161b Slavic Folklore and Myth: Epic Heroes, Lucky Fools, Iron-Toothed Witches and the Undead
[ hum ]
Explores the magical and mysterious world of Russian and Slavic folklore, including folk mythology and demonology, seasonal rituals and folk magic, proverbs and riddles, folk tales and oral epic poetry. Coursework will consist of readings, discussions, papers, and projects. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Woolhiser

RECS/THA 140a Russian Theater: Stanislavsky to Present
[ ca hum wi ]
Throughout its history, Russian theatre has tried to communicate truthfully in a mostly repressive society. This course introduces students to the achievements of theatre artists from Stanislavsky through Post-Modernism. We will examine the work of groundbreaking directors like Meyerhold, Vakhtangov, and Lyubimov. We will read and analyze representative works of major modern and contemporary playwrights. The course load consists of readings, discussions, papers and in-class projects. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Troyanovsky

Core Courses in Russian Studies

COML 100a Introduction to Global Literature
[ hum wi ]
Core course for COML major and minor.
What is common and what is different in literatures of different cultures and times? How do literary ideas move from one culture to another? In this course students read theoretical texts, as well as literary works from around the world. Usually offered every year.
Staff

RECS 100a Russian Soul: Masterworks of Modern Russian Culture
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian. Satisfies the Proseminar requirement for the Russian Studies major.
Examines masterpieces of modern Russian culture in literature, film, philosophy, art, music, theater, opera and ballet. How has Russian culture treated such common human themes as life, death, love, language, identity, and community? What makes Russian cultural tradition unique? Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

Electives in Russian Studies

COML 171a Literary Translation in Theory and in Practice
[ hum ]
Prerequisite: Excellent reading knowledge of any language other than English. Students will be asked to demonstrate proficiency before receiving consent to enroll in the course.
Approaching literary translation from several angles at once, this course combines readings in the history and theory of translation with a practical translation workshop. Students will experience first-hand the challenges of literary translation and, with the help of the theoretical readings, reflect on what the process teaches us about linguistic, literary, and cultural difference. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock or Staff

COML 185a Dickens and Dostoevsky
[ hum ]
Considers such issues as narrative, literary realism, and the manipulation of the grotesque and the sublime in representative works of Dickens and Dostoevsky. Because Dostoevsky was an avid reader of Dickens, class addresses questions of influence, particularly with regard to their shared thematic interests. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miller

HIST 147a Imperial Russia: From Westernization to Globalization
[ ss wi ]
Examines the processes and problems of modernization--state development, economic growth, social change, cultural achievements, and emergence of revolutionary and terrorist movements. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Freeze

HIST 147b Twentieth-Century Russia
[ ss wi ]
Russian history from the 1905 revolution to the present day, with particular emphasis on the Revolution of 1917, Stalinism, culture, and the decline and fall of the USSR. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Freeze

HIST 154a Stalin Revolution: Foundations of Modern Russia
[ ss wi ]
Examines the systemic transformation engineered by Stalin, the aim being accelerated modernization. The course examines the strategy, politics, and the results of the "Stalin Revolution," focusing mainly on newly available archival documents. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Freeze

HIST 181b Red Flags/Black Flags: Marxism vs. Anarchism, 1845-1968
[ ss ]
From Marx's first major book in 1845 to the French upheavals of 1968, the history of left-wing politics and ideas. The struggles between Marxist orthodoxy and anarchist-inspired, left Marxist alternatives. Usually offered every third year.
Mr. Hulliung

HUM/UWS 1a Tragedy: Love and Death in the Creative Imagination
[ hum uws ]
Enrollment limited to Humanities Fellows.
How do you turn catastrophe into art - and why? This first-year seminar in the humanities addresses such elemental questions, especially those centering on love and death. How does literature catch hold of catastrophic experiences and make them intelligible or even beautiful? Should misery even be beautiful? By exploring the tragic tradition in literature across many eras, cultures, genres, and languages, this course looks for basic patterns. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Burt and Mr. Dowden

NEJS 137b A History of the Jews in Warsaw, Lodz, Vilna, and Odessa
[ hum ss ]
Examines the history of the four largest Jewish communities in the Russian Empire from the earliest settlement through the Holocaust to the present, comparing internal organization, different political and cultural allegiances, and relations with the majority population. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Freeze

NEJS 141a Russian Jews in the Twentieth Century
[ hum ]
Examines Russian Jewish history from 1917 to the present. Focuses on the tsarist legacy, Russian Revolution, the creation of a new socialist society, development of Yiddish culture, the "Great Turn" under Stalin, Holocaust, post war Judaism, anti-Semitism, emigration, and current events. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Freeze

POL 129a East European Politics
[ ss ]
Politics and society in the post-Communist states of Eastern Europe, drawing general lessons about the relationships among social modernization, nationalism, and democratic transition. Usually offered every fourth year.
Mr. Burg