Courses

RUSS 101(F) SEM Elementary Russian I

An introduction to contemporary standard Russian, this course provides opportunities to acquire basic proficiency in all five language skills--listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and culture--through immersion, intensive use of authentic materials, and a strong emphasis on the spoken word in all class activities. Greater emphasis is placed on writing in the second semester. For students who already know some Russian, consultation with the department is required before registering for any Russian language course in the sequence 101 through 252. [ more ]

RUSS 102(S) SEM Elementary Russian II

An introduction to contemporary standard Russian, this course provides opportunities to acquire basic proficiency in all five language skills-listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and culture-through immersion, intensive use of authentic materials, and a strong emphasis on the spoken word in all class activities. Greater emphasis is placed on writing in this semester. For students who already know some Russian, consultation with the department is required before registering for any Russian language course in the sequence 101 through 202. [ more ]

RUSS 103(F) SEM Intermediate Russian I

This course develops all five skills--listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and culture--for students who have completed at least one year of college-level Russian. Coursework includes a systematic review of Russian grammar, as well as an examination of a variety of authentic materials from Russian and Russophone cultures, current events, and daily life. [ more ]

RUSS 104(S) SEM Intermediate Russian

This course continues to develop all five skills--listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and culture--for students who have completed at least three semesters of college-level Russian. Coursework includes the ongoing study of Russian grammar, especially of increasing complexity, as well as an examination of a variety of authentic materials from Russian and Russophone cultures, current events, and daily life. Significant attention will be devoted to vocabulary expansion. Students who complete the yearlong sequence of RUSS 103 and RUSS 104 should be well prepared to undertake study abroad in Russia and are encouraged to do so. [ more ]

RUSS 151 SEM Continuing Russian I

Last offered Fall 2020

This course develops all five skills--listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and culture--for students who have completed at least one year of college-level Russian. Coursework includes a systematic review of Russian grammar, as well as an examination of a variety of authentic materials from Russian and Soviet culture, current events, and daily life. Intermediate students will concentrate on expanding their vocabulary, while more advanced students will focus on reading and writing about unabridged texts in Russian. Students who complete the yearlong sequence of RUSS 151 and RUSS 152 should be well prepared to undertake study abroad in Russia and are encouraged to do so. Each year this course is custom-designed to meet the needs of those students who enroll, so that both intermediate and advanced students can benefit from taking RUSS 151 and/or RUSS 152 more than once, which may be done with the permission of the instructor. [ more ]

RUSS 152 SEM Continuing Russian II

Last offered Spring 2021

This course develops all five skills--listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and culture--for students who have completed at least one year of college-level Russian. Coursework includes a systematic review of Russian grammar, as well as an examination of a variety of authentic materials from Russian and Soviet culture, current events, and daily life. Intermediate students will concentrate on expanding their vocabulary, while more advanced students will focus on reading and writing about unabridged texts in Russian. Students who complete the yearlong sequence of RUSS 151 and RUSS 152 should be well prepared to undertake study abroad in Russia and are encouraged to do so. Each year this course is custom-designed to meet the needs of those students who enroll, so that both intermediate and advanced students can benefit from taking RUSS 151 and/or RUSS 152 more than once, which may be done with the permission of the instructor. [ more ]

RUSS 201(F) SEM Advanced Russian I

This course continues to develop all five skills--conversation, listening comprehension, reading, culture, and writing--for students who have completed at least two years of college-level Russian or the equivalent. Coursework includes the study of higher-level Russian grammar, as well as an examination of a variety of materials-print and other media-from Russian and Russophone cultures, current events, history, and the arts. [ more ]

RUSS 202(S) SEM Advanced Russian II

This course continues to develop all five skills--conversation, listening comprehension, reading, culture, and writing--for students who have completed at least two years of college-level Russian or the equivalent. Coursework includes the study of higher-level Russian grammar, as well as an examination of a variety of materials-print and other media-from Russian and Russophone cultures, current events, history, and the arts. [ more ]

RUSS 203 SEM Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature in Translation

Last offered Fall 2023

Description: Nineteenth Century Russian literature is well known for its exploration of extreme states of consciousness. Because of this, it also contains some of the most compelling diagnoses of the illnesses and malaise of the modern condition: alienation, loss of meaning, suffering in face of the abuse of power, and the destructiveness of hyperrationality. Covering Russian literature's first modern treatments of madness up to the Silver Age, we will take this theme as a path to explore 19 th century Russian literature as a whole. We will read works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and others in order to better understand the Russian response to modernity and cast our glance along with them into the depths of the human soul. [ more ]

RUSS 204(S) SEM To See the Past: Russian and Soviet Cinema on History

This course surveys Soviet and Russian cultural history of the 20th- and 21st-centuries through the history of the cinematic medium. We will watch and analyze key films of this period--films by Eisenstein, Vertov, Tarkovsky, Muratova, Balabanov, Zviagintsev, and Fedorchenko among others--from a double perspective. On the one hand, we will study the cultural and historical contexts of the Soviet Union and Russia; on the other hand, we will learn the formal and stylistic aspects of the cinematic medium as it developed historically (from silent, to sound, to color, to digital etc.). From this double perspective, we will try to answer a larger question that underlies this course: What kind of historical thinking can we learn through cinema as a medium? In other words, we will take cinema neither simply as a direct reflection of state ideology nor as pure aesthetic form or entertainment for the masses. Rather, we will approach the films of this period as audio-visual texts that are rich in historical content and require our informed and attentive interpretation. [ more ]

RUSS 209(F) SEM Siberia: Region Making and Imperial Imagination in Russia

Siberia is often framed as an essential part of Russia and a repository of all that is Russian. However, imaginations of Siberia also paint contradictory images of the region: as a heaven or a hell, a wasteland or a breadbasket, a place of freedom or a place of imprisonment, a Russian colony or as the Russian heartland. This course takes as its root that Siberia is not any one thing and not any one place. Rather, Siberia is an idea and set of representations that change over time. In this course, we will analyze and unpack this idea. The course asks: what is Siberia; how did Siberia become so integral to Russia and ideas of Russianness; who defines Siberia; what are the images of Siberia and for whom do they matter; and what do these imaginations of Siberia facilitate and obscure? To answer these questions, we will engage in an interdisciplinary study of Siberia incorporating ethnography, history, film, and literature. The primary goal of the course is to expose students to the various ways Siberia has been imagined, who it has been imagined and represented by, and how these imaginations and representations have lives of their own. In doing so, the course will help students view Russia through its peripheries rather than through Moscow and Saint Petersburg and will enable students to grapple with how "regions" are created. [ more ]

RUSS 210 TUT Tolstoy: The Major Novels

Last offered Spring 2012

This tutorial will focus on Lev Tolstoy's four novelistic masterpieces--War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Resurrection, and Hadji Murat--placing them in their appropriate historical, social, and philosophical context. For each week of class, students will read a significant portion of a novel by Tolstoy, as well as a selection of secondary literature taken from those works that inspired the author, reactions that arose at the time of the novel's publication, and scholarship that seeks to explain the power and enduring significance of these novels. Students will meet with the professor in pairs, with one student writing a five-page paper for each class session and the other student providing a critique of the paper. For those students without Russian language skills, all works will be read in English translation. Those students who have completed at least three years of college-level Russian may take the course in Russian. [ more ]

RUSS 213 SEM Why do Pussies Riot and What is "Homosexual" Propaganda? Gender and Sexuality in Putin's Russia

Last offered Fall 2019

Since Vladimir Putin's rise to power, the media has highlighted events in Russia that at first glance resemble oddly sexualized jokes. At the same time that the Kremlin has reinstated authoritarian policy reminiscent of the Soviet Union, the Western press has chronicled Putin's topless vacations in Siberia, protests by the feminist collectives Pussy Riot and Femen, a 2011 ban on women's lacy underwear, federal legislation from 2013 prohibiting "homosexual" propaganda, and a 2017 court decision that outlawed a meme of Putin as a "gay clown." This course examines the Putin regime's ongoing attempts to police gender expression and private sexual behavior, as well as how Russian citizens' performance of gender and sexuality has changed in the past twenty years. We will consider gender and sexuality as distinctive features of Putinism, which have contributed to a biopolitical turn in official policy and inspired resistance and protest among Russian feminists and queers.All readings will be in English, and all films with have English subtitles. [ more ]

RUSS 217(S) SEM Indigeneity Today: Comparative Indigenous Identities in the US and Russia

Indigenous movements for land, rights, and cultural preservation have spread to and originated in all corners of the world. However, the global nature of these movements at times obscures ways of being Indigenous in differing contexts. This course analyzes Indigeneity in both the United States and Russia today. Through reading and analyzing ethnography, theory, and literature, it focuses on Indigenous peoples in a comparative context. Rather than prioritizing concern with Indigenous peoples emerging from the US, it attempts to demonstrate what Indigeneity has been in both the United States and Russia and what it is and means today. It asks the following questions: what is Indigeneity and who is Indigenous; how is Indigenous identity constructed and by whom; and what convergences and divergences exist in Indigeneity between the US and Russia or for that matter in other contexts? To help answer these questions, in this course we will grapples with Indigeneity as a social category and other social formations, especially ethnicity, nationality, and race. Topics include: Indigeneity and the State, Revitalization and Resurgence, Indigenous People and Nature Protection, and Hemispheric and Global Indigeneities. [ more ]

RUSS 219 TUT Cults of Personality

Last offered Fall 2022

First uttered by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1956, the phrase "cult of personality" was formulated to discredit the hero-worship that accompanied Joseph Stalin's iron-fisted rule of the Soviet Union. Since then, the phrase has gained currency as a condemnation of a variety of seemingly all-powerful leaders in oppressive political regimes, including China's Mao Zedong, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, and the ruling Kim family in North Korea. In this course, we will examine the phenomenon of the cult of personality from a variety of perspectives, beginning with the cult surrounding Stalin and ending with that of Vladimir Putin. Our course material will encompass scholarship from multiple disciplines, including history, sociology, political science, cultural and media studies, as well as artistic expression typically labeled propaganda in literature, the visual arts, and film. Although our course will begin in the Soviet Union and end in contemporary Russia, we will explore how the cult of personality has been adapted and updated for different cultural and political purposes in fascist Germany and Spain, China, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba. All readings will be in English, and all films will have English subtitles. [ more ]

RUSS 251 SEM Continuing Russian I

Last offered Fall 2020

The same course as RUSS 151 but for students at the advanced level. See RUSS 151/152 for full course description. [ more ]

RUSS 252 SEM Continuing Russian II

Last offered Spring 2021

The same course as RUSS 152 but for students at the advanced level. See RUSS 151/152 for full course description. [ more ]

RUSS 275 SEM Russian and Soviet Cinema

Last offered Spring 2019

In this course, we will survey over a hundred years of Russian and Soviet film to explore how cinema has reflected and, at times, created the country's most important historical events and cultural myths. We will pay close attention to Russian filmmakers' varied reactions to Hollywood cinema, as well as to the lively body of cinema theory that these reactions generated. Our survey will begin in the pre-Revolutionary era and include representative films from the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism and World War II, the Thaw and Stagnation, Glasnost, and the Putin era. In addition to studying films by auteur filmmakers, such as Sergei Eisenstein, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Aleksandr Sokurov, we will watch movies made for the masses, which have helped to form Russians' understanding of their country and themselves. All readings will be in English and all films will be viewed with English subtitles [ more ]

RUSS 305(F) SEM Dostoevsky and the Meaning of Life

This course surveys the works of the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, whose oeuvre represents a life-long quest to uncover the meaning of life. Readings include Dostoevsky's major novels, Crime and Punishment, Demons, and The Brothers Karamazov, as well as several shorter works, including Notes from Underground. We will also examine Dostoevsky's journalism, so that we understand how he answers life's most troubling questions in the social and political context of his day, as well as what role artistic representation plays in these answers. All readings will be in English. [ more ]

RUSS 306 SEM Tolstoy and the Meaning of Life

Last offered Spring 2024

This course examines the works of the great Russian writer Lev Tolstoy, whose stories and novels represent a life-long quest to uncover the meaning of life. Readings include Tolstoy's two major novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, as well as several shorter works, such as The Death of Ivan Ilych and Hadji Murad. We will also examine Tolstoy's aesthetic and didactic writing so that we understand precisely how Tolstoy answers life's most troubling questions, as well as what role artistic representation plays in these answers. All readings will be in English. [ more ]

RUSS 331 TUT The Brothers Karamazov

Last offered Fall 2023

Widely hailed as one of the greatest novels ever written, Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov contains a series of enigmas, not the least of which is precisely who murdered the Karamazov father. In addition to exploring the shared guilt of all four of the brothers Karamazov in the crime of patricide, Dostoevsky poses the most probing questions of his day: Are families tied together merely by blood or by deeper spiritual bonds? Is religious faith possible in an age of reason, science, and technology? Can man's earthly laws ever carry out divine justice? Is humanity prepared to bear the burden of responsibility that comes with freedom? This tutorial will spend an entire semester exploring Dostoevsky's masterwork, and we will read a variety of secondary sources alongside The Brothers Karamazov, including history, philosophy, and literary theory. Our goal will be to understand Dostoevsky's answers to these so-called "accursed questions" through the unique artistic form of The Brothers Karamazov. [ more ]

RUSS 343 SEM Spectacles on His Nose and Autumn on his Heart: The Oeuvre of Isaac Babel

Last offered Fall 2013

Known alternately as "master of the short story" and "Russian Maupassant," Isaac Babel was not only one of the most celebrated and intriguing authors of early Soviet Russia, but also a cultural figure of profound national and international significance. For a number of reasons (political, aesthetic, professional, ethical) Babel was not prolific and this will allow us to read almost all of his creative output, something we rarely get to do in the course of a single semester. Babel's writing is extremely varied--it includes sketches, journalistic prose, short stories, plays, movie scripts, one unfinished novel--and richly intertextual. This will afford us the opportunity to read the work of some of his contemporaries and predecessors, from both Russia and abroad, with whom he fashioned brilliant literary conversations, among them Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, Sholem Aleichem, and Ivan Turgenev. All course readings will be in translation, but students are highly encouraged to read in the original (Russian, French, Yiddish) whenever possible. [ more ]

RUSS 345 SEM Bagging the Monsters : Tolstoy's Other Prose

Last offered Spring 2024

War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which Henry James famously described as "baggy monsters," are works that are immediately identified with Leo Tolstoy, a giant of nineteenth-century Russian literature. But Tolstoy wrote so much more! From short works of adult fiction, to stories for children, pedagogical essays, political tracts, aesthetic treatises, and philosophical musings. He produced variously and prodigiously throughout his life and that's not even counting his fascinating diaries and personal correspondence. Our course readings will probe this exceptional variety with the goal of understanding the scope of Tolstoy's thinking in greater depth. All readings and discussion will be in Russian. [ more ]

RUSS 346(S) SEM The Nineteenth-Century Povest'

Among the genres that made nineteenth-century Russian literature famous, perhaps the most elusive is the povest'. Neither short story nor novella, the term povest' describes a type of short fiction, which any author aspiring to literary greatness in nineteenth-century Russia felt obliged to take on. This course surveys representative povesti by Russian writers from Karamazin to Chekhov, offering a survey of nineteenth-century Russian literature through the lens of its short fiction. Along the way, we will read povesti by Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. All works will be read in the Russian original. [ more ]

RUSS 348(F) TUT Altering States: Post-Soviet Paradoxes of Identity and Difference

Critics and apologists of Soviet-style socialism alike agree that the Soviet ideology was deeply egalitarian. Putting aside for a moment the very reasonable doubts about how justified this perception actually was, it is still worth asking, how did people who lived in the world in which differences in rank, class, gender or ethnicity were not supposed to matter, make sense of their post-socialist condition, one in which new forms of difference emerged, and old ones assumed greater prominence? And how do these encounters with difference impact current events, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, or the lingering tensions between East and West Germans? This tutorial will examine new dilemmas through ethnographic studies and documentary films that aim to capture in real time the process of articulating and grappling with newly discovered divides. We will focus especially closely on Ukraine and Russia, but will also read comparative studies, as well as works on East Germany and Georgia. This course fulfills the DPE requirement by exploring comparatively the ways in which people in different countries made sense of the social, cultural and political heterogeneity of the post-socialist condition. [ more ]

RUSS 401(F) SEM Let's Remember the USSR!

This course is devoted to memories of the USSR. We will focus on memoirs that portray various epochs of Soviet history from different points of view, watch films dealing with the Soviet legacy, and respond to essays that consider the problems of history and myth. In so doing, we will discuss the significance of nostalgia, official vs. unofficial culture, the politics of memory, and the institution of monuments. Much of our course will focus on daily life in the USSR as remembered by the people who lived through it. However, we will also explore the meaning and status of such memories today in former Soviet countries through responses to daily readings, essays, and presentations. Of course, along the way, we will work on improving our spoken and written Russian. [ more ]

RUSS 493(F) HON Senior Thesis: Russian

Russian senior thesis; this is part of a full-year thesis (493-494). [ more ]

RUSS 494(S) HON Senior Thesis: Russian

Russian senior thesis; this is part of a full-year thesis (493-494). [ more ]