Russian Studies

Last updated: September 10, 2014 at 3:14 p.m.

Objectives

The Russian Studies program at Brandeis offers students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the language, 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 special 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. A four-semester sequence of foundational Russian language courses (RUS 10a, 20b, 30a, and 40b) allows students to reach the intermediate level of proficiency according to the ACTFL language scale. All our language courses have a built-in culture component which is designed to familiarize students with both high culture and the norms of everyday social interactions.The initial sequence is followed by advanced content-based language courses (100 level), which focus on increasing proficiency through engagement with literature, film, and contemporary Russian life and culture.

Electives can be chosen from among rich offerings in Russian and comparative literature, film and culture, as well as history, politics, and Judaic studies. Literature courses focus on the classics 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. However, bilingual students and advanced students of Russian are encouraged to do as much of the literature course readings as possible in Russian.

The program also accommodates language needs of heritage speakers of Russian, i.e., students who grew up in Russian-speaking families or bilingual households. Bilingual students interested in Russian language study are encouraged to consult with the Language Program Director to determine the appropriate course of study. Special courses and tutorials are available for such students to allow them to major or minor in Russian Studies.

Students who grew up speaking Russian at home, but never formally studied and/or cannot read and write in Cyrillic, will have special opportunities to develop their language at Brandeis. Students are encouraged to contact Professor Dubinina as early as possible to discuss their language needs and goals, and the options available to them.

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 program director.

Learning Goals

Russian Studies is dedicated to understanding the language, culture and history of Russia and the former Soviet Union. The Russian language is spoken by almost 300 million people worldwide, is the most widely spoken native language of Europe, and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russia and the former Soviet Union have a fascinating, complex history. They have moreover made major contributions to world culture in literature, visual art, music, dance, theater, opera, film, philosophy, psychology, literary theory, and other areas. In The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books(Norton, 2007), four of the top ten books were written by Russians.

The Russian Studies major begins with the Russian language, which serves as the gateway to the study of Russian literature, culture and history. 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. Diverse course offerings across many disciplines allows students to choose their own path through a wide variety of cultural, literary, social and political aspects of Russia and other post-Soviet states. 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. Uniquely, it offers specialized instruction for heritage speakers of Russian. Students are encouraged to include study abroad in Russia as part of their major.

The Russian world is both like and unlike our own. To study it is to understand how deceptive both similarities and differences between cultures can be. “To know another language is to live another life,” wrote the great Czech statesman, Thomas Masaryk. And to live another life is see one’s own life more clearly.

Knowledge
Students completing the major in Russian Studies should:

  • possess a substantial core of knowledge about the Russian language and 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-low level as defined by the ACTFL guidelines;
  • comprehend contemporary Russian, written and spoken, to a degree permitting basic understanding of texts and ideas relevant to disciplines beyond language study;
  • analyze complex texts through critical close reading and respond to them in literate 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, international business, journalism, education, and human rights.

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 (on leave spring 2015)
German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature

Robin Feuer Miller
German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature

David Powelstock
German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature

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

B. Advanced Language and Literature Study: two of the following courses: RUS 105a, 106b, 150b, 153a. 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, 150b, 153a, and RECS/THA 166a),  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.

Courses of Instruction

(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. A systematic presentation of the basic grammar and vocabulary of the language within the context of Russian culture, with focus on all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Usually offered every year.
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 presentation of the basic grammar and vocabulary of the language within the context of Russian culture, and practice of the four language skills. Special attention to reading and writing skills, as well as guided conversation. Usually offered every year.
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 Russian language speakers who have had little or no formal training in their native language and who want to develop their reading and writing skills. A systematic introduction of the rules of orthography, morphology and syntax with emphasis on correct spelling of word endings. All grammar 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). Refining of grammatical knowledge and expansion of vocabulary within the context of Russian culture. Focus on communicative competence in Russian and special attention to reading and writing skills. Usually offered every fall.
Ms. Dubinina

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.
Further refining of grammar and vocabulary within the context of Russian culture. Focus on comminicative competence in Russian and special attention to reading and writing skills. Usually offered every spring semester.
Ms. Dubinina

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

FA/RECS 118b Drawing upon Literature
[ ca hum ]
Prerequisite: A studio art course taught at Brandeis. Studio fee: $75 per semester.
An interdisciplinary team-taught course bringing together the practice of studio art and the study of literature. Students use Russian fiction and poetry (and some critical theory) as source material for the creation of visual images: drawings in various media, watercolors, prints, and photographs. Usually offered every third year.
Ms. Lichtman and Ms. Miller

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. Also includes 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 The Short Story in Russia
[ 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 147b Tolstoy: Freedom, Chance, and Necessity
[ 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 149b Russian Modernism in: Culture and Arts
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
An interdisciplinary immersion in the period, emphasizing the connections between historical and artistic trends and employing prominent theories of culture. Focuses on major figures, works, and events in film, literature, the performing and visual arts, and political, philosophical, and religious thought. Usually offered every fourth 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/THA 166a Chekhov's Stories on Stage
[ ca hum ]
Examines Chekhov's stories and plays as models of their genres. Students will explore these forms and ways of adapting a story or group of stories into drama. Each student will create a dramatic adaptation. Some of these will be staged for class presentation. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Miller and Ms. Morrison

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 vocabulary and refine their grammar and communicative 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 writing, oral comprehension, speaking and understanding of Russian/Soviet culture. Class discussions focus on the discussions of Russian society as it is portrayed in Russian/Soviet film; writing assignments emphasize these discussions and complex syntax and grammar rules. Background readings about the films related to relevant aspects of Russian society and language are also be assigned. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 115b Topics in Russian Culture and Society
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: Advanced Russian language skills.
Introduces students to issues central to Russian folklore. Through an analysis of chronicles, icons, epic tales, and folktales, discussions will explore the roots of Russian cultural values and superstitions. Students will examine structures and archetypes in folktakes and magic tales. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 150b Advanced Russian Language through Literature (in Russian)
[ 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 my be repeated for credit with instructor's permission.
A seminar for intermediate to advanced students of Russian, 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. Topics vary from year to year but may include 20th-century prose, folklore, contemporary prose, or studying and performing a play. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Dubinina

RUS 153a Russian Poetry and Prose in Russian: Undergraduate Seminar
[ 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 focusing on the advanced study of Russian literataure in the original Russian and development of Russian oral and written language skills needed to analyze and discuss poetry. Includes a selection of the very best Russian poetry and prose of the nineteenth century. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

RUS 160b Russian/Soviet Jews: Dual Identities in Text, Image and Music
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: Advanced Russian language skills.
Introduces students 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 year.
Ms. Dubinina

Russian and European Cultural Studies Courses

FA/RECS 118b Drawing upon Literature
[ ca hum ]
Prerequisite: A studio art course taught at Brandeis. Studio fee: $75 per semester.
An interdisciplinary team-taught course bringing together the practice of studio art and the study of literature. Students use Russian fiction and poetry (and some critical theory) as source material for the creation of visual images: drawings in various media, watercolors, prints, and photographs. Usually offered every third year.
Ms. Lichtman and Ms. Miller

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. Also includes 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 The Short Story in Russia
[ 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 147b Tolstoy: Freedom, Chance, and Necessity
[ 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 149b Russian Modernism in: Culture and Arts
[ hum ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English. Students may choose to do readings either in English translation or in Russian.
An interdisciplinary immersion in the period, emphasizing the connections between historical and artistic trends and employing prominent theories of culture. Focuses on major figures, works, and events in film, literature, the performing and visual arts, and political, philosophical, and religious thought. Usually offered every fourth 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/THA 166a Chekhov's Stories on Stage
[ ca hum ]
Examines Chekhov's stories and plays as models of their genres. Students will explore these forms and ways of adapting a story or group of stories into drama. Each student will create a dramatic adaptation. Some of these will be staged for class presentation. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Miller and Ms. Morrison

Core Courses in Russian Studies

COML 100a Comparing Literatures and Cultures: Theory and Practice
[ 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

ECS 100a European Cultural Studies Proseminar: Modernism
[ hum wi ]
Explores the interrelationship of literature, music, painting, philosophy, and other arts in the era of high modernism. Works by Artaud, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Mann, Mahler, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Kandinsky, Schiele, Beckett, Brecht, Adorno, Sartre, Heidegger, and others. Usually offered every fall semester.
Mr. Dowden

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 109b The Art of Living: Imagination and the Just Life
[ hum wi ]
Formerly offered as FYS 68b.
Can one live well without living justly? Live justly without living well? What does justice ask of us? From Plato to Zhuangzi to Nabokov's Lolita, we examine the subjective preconditions for living justly; knowledge, imagination, love, empathy, freedom and responsibility. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Powelstock

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

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 149b Russian Women in Politics, Society and Culture
[ hum ss wi ]
Examines how the status, identity, and aspirations of women from medieval Russia to the post-Soviet era. It relies primarily on documents produced by women themselves (memoirs, autobiographies, diaries and novels), complemented by laws, archival files, and films. Usually offered every third year.
Mr. Freeze

HIST 150a Russia in World War II
[ ss ]
Examines the Soviet role in defeating Nazism in World War II, but the main focus is on the war's impact on domestic politics, society, economy, culture, and national identity. Usually offered every 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 177a The Politics of Soviet Cinema, 1921-1953
[ ss ]
Examines the role of politics in Soviet film-making, from the early 1920's to Stalin's death in 1953. It includes the screening of twenty major films, class discussions, and lectures on major themes and issues in Soviet cinema history. Usually offered every second 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

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.
Mr. Sheppard

NEJS 142a Modern History of East European Jewry
[ hum ]
A comprehensive survey of the history (economic, sociopolitical, and religious) of the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe from the middle of the eighteenth century until World War II, with emphasis placed on the Jews of Poland and Russia. Usually offered every fourth 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