Russian Studies Courses

General Course Listings

Sub CRSE Title
LIT 372 Nabokov & Global Literature (=RUS 373)
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor Utkin

Vladimir Nabokov--brilliant writer, outrageous literary gamesman, and cosmopolitan exile--is a towering figure of twentieth-century literature. His most famous novel, Lolita, propelled him to international stardom and changed the transnational literary landscape. Child of a turbulent century, Nabokov wrote exquisite and at times disturbing prose in Russian and English, balancing between imaginary worlds and harsh realities. This seminar offers a sustained exploration of Nabokov's major Russian and American writings as well as film adaptations of his Despair (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) and Lolita (Stanley Kubrick). In the second half of the seminar we turn to novels Nabokov haunts: Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence, and W.G. Sebald's The Emigrants. We will consider memory, exile, trauma, nostalgia, and identity as we read Nabokov, who saw existence as a "series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece." All readings and discussion in English.

 

Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.  

Satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement.

RUS 101 Elementary Russian I
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Ewington

For beginners. No previous knowledge of Russian required or expected. This course develops students' basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing Russian. We begin with the Cyrillic alphabet and fundamental sounds and structures of Russian. As the semester progresses, students learn to communicate about culture, geography, and daily life. Thanks to a "flipped classroom" model (with the professor's grammar lectures online), RUS 101 devotes class time to engaging interactive activities. The course requires work with audio, video, and computer exercises as well as participation in twice weekly AT sessions with a native speaker assistant.

RUS 102 Elementary Russian II
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 101 or placement. (Spring)

 

 

Instructor
Ewington

This semester students complete the introduction to the Russian case system, while continuing to develop basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing about everyday Russian culture, including hobbies, shopping, restaurants, university life, holidays, and vacations. Thanks to a "flipped classroom" model (with the professor's grammar lectures online), RUS 102 devotes class time to engaging interactive activities. The course requires work with audio, video, and computer exercises as well as participation in twice weekly AT sessions with a native speaker assistant.

 

 

RUS 201 Intermediate Russian I
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 102 or placement. (Fall)

Instructor
Utkin

Continuing work in development of basic skills of Russian, with an emphasis on engaging authentic materials.

Satisfies the foreign language requirement.

RUS 202 Intermediate Russian II
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 201 or placement. (Spring)

Instructor
Utkin

Continued instruction at the intermediate level for those who wish to continue toward advanced levels of Russian. 

RUS 260 Duels, Death, & Desire: The 19th-Century Russian Novel (in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Ewington

This course explores the great 19th-century Russian literary tradition, including works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. We will consider the "ritualized violence" of dueling, rapidly shifting attitudes toward sexuality and love, questions of social justice around serfdom, Russia's complicated relationship with the West, religion vs. scientific progress, and the Russian writer's role as prophet of truth in a land of autocracy. No knowledge of Russian required or expected.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.

RUS 266 Vampires
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

In this class we will examine the figure of the vampire, as well as the use of vampirism as a metaphor in folklore, literature, journalistic texts, theater and film. Some vampires, as we will come to learn, do not even drink blood. Many don't fear the sun. So what do these varied monsters have in common? Their "otherness" and their focalization of cultural desires and anxieties. By studying vampirism through a historical perspective, we will learn that vampires - although they may not have reflections - reflect our anxieties about alterity, particularly in regard to such charged subjects as gender, sexuality, race, religion and nationality.

Satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement.
 

RUS 270 Nobel Laureates: The Politics of Literature - The 20th-Century Russian Novel (in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Utkin

In this course we will examine key cultural and socio-historical moments in the development of twentieth-century Russian literature by focusing on the prose and poetry of authors awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature - Ivan Bunin, Boris Pasternak, Mikhail Sholokhov, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Joseph Brodsky. Additionally, we will read Lev Tolstoy, who vehemently rejected being nominated for the prize, as well as Vladimir Nabokov and Anna Akhmatova, who arguably merited the award but never received it. 

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.

 

RUS 280 Russia & the West (in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Ewington

Have we truly entered a new Cold War with Russia? How and why have relations with the West deteriorated so quickly in recent years? And who counts as the "West" anyway? How far and deep do the political and cultural fissures run and what can they tell us about Russian society and our own? In this course we'll get to the bottom of things by exploring everything from Peter the Great's unprecedented westernization of Russia to Cold War propaganda, the Space Race, the famous Slavophiles & Westernizer debates, waves of emigration and exile that began with the Bolshevik Revolution, depictions of Russians in Hollywood, and recent efforts to define a post-Soviet identity in Putin's Russia. No knowledge of Russian language or culture required or expected.

All readings and discussion in English.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Liberal Studies requirement.

RUS 290 Russian Theater (in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

This course introduces the rich heritage of Russian theater from the nineteenth century to the present day. We begin with Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, and Chekhov and continue with early twentieth-century theatrical experiments, Soviet plays, and post-Perestroika works. No knowledge of Russian required or expected.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.
 

RUS 292 Gender and Sexuality in Russian Culture
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

This course examines the construction and representation of gender and sexuality in Russia by analyzing literature, theater, and film. The course is open to all students, who have an interest in gender and sexuality studies and would like to expand their knowledge to the Russian context. No background in Russian and/or gender criticism is necessary.

Satisfies major and minor requirements in Russian Studies and Gender Studies.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies Literary Studies, Creative Writing and Rhetoric distribution requirement.
 

RUS 293 Topics in Russian Culture (in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

Selected topics in Russian culture. Covers various aspects of culture and society, such as history, politics, economics, literature, film, art and architecture, music, and mass media. Sample topics include "Moscow-Berlin Modernism," and "St. Petersburg: Russia's Window on the West."

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement.

 

RUS 294 Russia & Ukraine - War & Peace (Topics in Russian Literature in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Spring)

Instructor
Ewington

In 2008 Putin quipped to the U.S. president, "you must understand, George, Ukraine is not even a country." That denial of sovereignty later took an ominous turn, with the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing violence in Eastern Ukraine. Most Westerners are perplexed by all this. Aren't they one Slavic people? In fact, their common cultural and political heritage notwithstanding, many Ukrainians bristle at the linguistic, political, and cultural dominance of their Russian "brothers and sisters," while many Russians view Ukrainians as part of their own "nation." But what is meant by "nation?" Looking beyond political structures, status as a great nation was traditionally affirmed by the production of a national literary epic. In this course we will develop a nuanced appreciation for the current conflict through careful attention to each nation's canonical war epic: Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol, a Ukrainian who wrote in Russian and is claimed by both nations as their own - and Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace - perhaps the most famous novel of all time, which is set in the years leading up to and during the Napoleonic invasion of Russia in 1812 and the patriotic fervor that ensued. Along the way, we will discuss a few shorter "Ukrainian tales" by Gogol, as well as Tolstoy's early military tales, "The Sevastopol Sketches," which were inspired by his experiences in the Crimean War

 

All readings and discussion in English.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.

 

RUS 295 Independent Study
Prerequisites & Notes

Permission of the instructor.

Instructor
Staff

A topic chosen by the student and researched under the direction of the faculty member, who reviews and approves the topic and determines the means of evaluation of the student's work.

295 (Fall)/296 (Spring)

RUS 297 Russian Women Writers (in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Ewington

This course offers an introduction to Russian women writers from the age of Enlightenment to the present day. Texts include memoirs, novels, poems, and plays, as well as readings on Russian Gender Studies. No knowledge of Russian required or expected.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.
 

RUS 301 Advanced Intermediate Russian
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 202 or placement. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

Further development of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

RUS 319 Contemporary Russia
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 202 or equivalent. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

Discussions and written assignments based on excerpts from current newspapers, magazines, and films, focusing on recent Russian history, literature, and daily life.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.

RUS 320 Masterpieces of Russian Literature
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 202 or equivalent. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

Advanced reading and discussion of canonical works by Russian writers, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Mayakovsky, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Akhmatova, and Tolstaya. This course is conducted in Russian.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.
 

RUS 370 Twentieth-Century Russian Literature
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 202 or equivalent. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff
 

This class is conducted entirely in Russian. It combines the study of Russian literature with the development of vocabulary and grammar skills for advanced speaking and writing. We will read, discuss, and analyze short works by masters of 20th century Russian literature in the original. In the course of our readings, we will also learn about major events in 20th-century Russian history that form the important context for these works.

RUS 372 Nabokov & Global Literature (in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Utkin

Vladimir Nabokov--brilliant writer, outrageous literary gamesman, and cosmopolitan exile--is a towering figure of twentieth-century literature. His most famous novel, Lolita, propelled him to international stardom and changed the transnational literary landscape. Child of a turbulent century, Nabokov wrote exquisite and at times disturbing prose in Russian and English, balancing between imaginary worlds and harsh realities. This seminar offers a sustained exploration of Nabokov's major Russian and American writings as well as film adaptations of his Despair (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) and Lolita (Stanley Kubrick). In the second half of the seminar we turn to novels Nabokov haunts: Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, and W.G. Sebald's The Emigrants. We will consider memory, exile, trauma, nostalgia, and identity as we read Nabokov, who saw existence as a "series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece." 

All readings and discussion in English.

Cross-listed with LIT 372.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.

Satisfies an interdisciplinary minor requirement in Global Literary Theory

Satisfies a minor requirement in Russian Studies

Satisfies major requirements for CIS majors in Russian Studies, Russian Language & Literature, and Global Literary Theory

RUS 373 Nabokov & Global Literature (= LIT 372)
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Utkin

Vladimir Nabokov--brilliant writer, outrageous literary gamesman, and cosmopolitan exile--is a towering figure of twentieth-century literature. His most famous novel, Lolita, propelled him to international stardom and changed the transnational literary landscape. Child of a turbulent century, Nabokov wrote exquisite and at times disturbing prose in Russian and English, balancing between imaginary worlds and harsh realities. This seminar offers a sustained exploration of Nabokov's major Russian and American writings as well as film adaptations of his Despair (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) and Lolita (Stanley Kubrick). In the second half of the seminar we turn to novels Nabokov haunts: Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence, and W.G. Sebald's The Emigrants. We will consider memory, exile, trauma, nostalgia, and identity as we read Nabokov, who saw existence as a "series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece." All readings and discussion in English.

Satisfies a major requirement in CIS Russian Studies

Satisfies a major requirement in CIS Russian Language and Literature

Satisfies a major requirement in CIS Global Literary Theory

Satisfies a minor requirement in Russian Studies

Satisfies an interdisciplinary minor requirement in Global Literary Theory

Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing & Rhetoric distribution requirement

Satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement

RUS 394 Special Topics
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 202 or equivalent. (Not offered 2016-17.)

Instructor
Staff

This course combines the study of Russian history and culture with the development and reinforcement of vocabulary and grammar skills for advanced speaking and writing. Selected historical topics will be used to deepen students' understanding of Russian language and culture. The class is conducted entirely in Russian.

RUS 395 Independent Study for Advanced Students
Prerequisites & Notes

(Permission of the instructor.)

Instructor
Staff

Advanced study under the direction of the faculty member, who reviews and approves the topic and determines the means of evaluation of the student's work.

395 (Fall)/396 (Spring)

RUS 401 Seminar in Special Topics
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 202 or equivalent. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

Study of a specific author, genre, theme, or aspect of culture. Readings, compositions, oral reports, and discussions in Russian.

Satisfies Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric requirement.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.

RUS 410 Dostoevsky (Special Topics in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Ewington

This course offers an in-depth engagement with a range of Fyodor Dostoevsky's works, including his first novella Poor Folk, The Double, major novels such as Crime and Punishment and Brothers Karamazov, his pseudo-autobiographical prison memoir Notes from the Dead House, as well as a selection of his shorter experiments from Diary of a Writer.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.
 

RUS 420 Tolstoy (in English)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Ewington

This course offers an opportunity to study in depth the great Russian novelist and thinker, Leo Tolstoy. We will read a variety of texts from his early stories, to his great novels (War and Peace and Anna Karenina), to his later philosophical tracts and "tales for the people." Throughout the semester, students will also have opportunities to engage Tolstoy through the lens of selected essays of critical theory.

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.