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Russian Studies Courses

General Course Listings

Sub CRSE Title
GSS 292 Queer Russia (=RUS 292)
LIT 372 Nabokov & Global Literature (=RUS 373)
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
Ezerova

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
Ezerova

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
Ezerova

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

RUS 260 Special Topics: 19th Century Cannon
Prerequisites & Notes

No knowledge of Russian required or expected.
Course is repeatable for credit given different topic/title.

Instructor
Ewington

Fall 2018 Topic: Tolstoy & Dostoevsky

Nothing says "great literature" and "important novels," quite like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. The two Russian novelists continue to capture the Western imagination with works that tackle the big eternal questions. In this class we'll see that, as much as they have been assimilated into the Western canon, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were emphatically and unabashedly Russian writers, first and foremost. They were deeply concerned with the political, philosophical, religious, social, and aesthetic questions of their own time and place - a tumultuous and rapidly industrializing Russia that was racing toward the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. In this class we will also consider how Tolstoy and Dostoevsky came to represent radically different ideas about narrative and the novel as a genre. Readings will include one major novel by each writer, as well as selected short works. Dostoevsky: Notes from the Underground, and The Brothers Karamazov. Tolstoy: Family Happiness, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan IlyichThe Kreutzer Sonata, and Hadji Murat.
 

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric requirement.
Counts as an elective in the English major and minor.
Satisfies a requirement in the Global Literary Theory interdisciplinary minor.

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

Course is repeatable for credit given different topic/title.

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 requirement.

 

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

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 284 Cinema after Communism
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Ezerova

On December 26, 1991, the USSR ceased to exist. However, one day was hardly enough to make the former Soviet citizens forget nearly a century of communism. Now, over twenty-five years after the collapse of Soviet Union, this cultural memory continues to inform the cinematic tradition in Russia and the former Eastern Bloc. The course offers close, contextualized, analysis of major films from this region made between the early 1990s and the present. We will examine the films in terms of their formal structures and their reception, in relation to the collapse of communism, its cultural and historical legacies, and in light of recent political changes in Russia and Eastern Europe more broadly. The course focuses on Russian, German, Polish, Romanian, and Ukrainian cinema and investigates the works of such filmmakers as Aleksei Balabanov, Kira Muratova, Aleksandr Sokurov, Valeria Gai Germanika, Sergei Loznitsa, Andreas Dresen, Pawel Pawlikowski, and Cristian Mungiu.  Taught in English, films with English subtitles.

Satisfies a requirement in Film and Media Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.

Satisfies the Visual and Permforming Arts requirement

Satisfies the Cultural Diversity 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 requirement.
 

RUS 292 Queer Russia (=GSS 292)
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Utkin

Russia is accustomed to playing the role of the "evil empire." The current ongoing war in Ukraine has resurrected the Cold War-era narratives about Russia as a dark, aggressive, and ruthless military power. The notorious legislation of recent years-whose functions range from barring Americans from adopting Russian orphans to criminalizing the so-called "gay propaganda"-have further solidified Russia's reputation as a country with little regard for human rights. Yet generations of Russian poets, artists, and writers have transformed the country's systematic oppression and violence into spectacular forms of protest and self-expression. This course focuses on gender and sexuality in exploring an alternative cultural history of Russia, which highlights its queer legacy from the nineteenth century to the present. We will examine poetry, fiction, art, memoirs, plays, films, performances, and discursive texts that showcase uniquely Russian conceptions of marriage, gender relations, gender expression, and sexual identity. Attention will be paid to the ways in which Russian and Western narratives of queerness align and diverge. In English. No knowledge of Russian is required or expected.

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

RUS 293 Putin's Russia
Prerequisites & Notes

No knowledge of Russian required or expected.

Instructor
Ezerova

In recent years the specter of authoritarian populism has begun to reappear in the West after long having been presumed vanquished for good. The turn toward authoritarianism is old news in Russia, where Vladimir Putin has loomed large over every aspect of culture and society for more than a decade, accused of being at the head of a regime based on tight controls on the media and on freedom of speech. But the arts, also controlled to a significant degree, have nevertheless - and in part due to the mediated nature of their forms of expression - provided one of the few outlets for commenting on government policy. In this seminar, we will focus on the questions of identity including class, gender, and religion as represented in contemporary Russian culture. We will cover a broad range of topics such as nationalism, LGBTQ rights, and Soviet nostalgia as well as discuss recent legislation, including the "gay propaganda" law (2013) and the decriminalization of domestic violence in Russia (2017). The course works with materials across genre and media, including fiction, cinema, performing arts, and graphic journalism. The primary sources are paired with critical readings, including the works of political activists such as Masha Gessen and Viktoria Lomasko as well as the theoretical writings of Judith Butler, Susan Sontag, and Michel Foucault. 
(Taught in English.)

Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
Satisfies the Liberal Studies requirement.
Satisfies a requirement in the Gender & Sexuality Studies major and minor.

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 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 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 The Russian Internet
Prerequisites & Notes

RUS 202 or equivalent.

Instructor
Utkin

The course will be focused on online blogs, computer games, and social networks in Russia and the post-Soviet space as a unique cultural phenomenon with its own history, conventions, and impact on society. We will begin by considering the Soviet Union's own project to create a nation-wide Internet-like computer network during the Cold War and then explore Russian-speaking online mediascape as an alternative platform for community formation and political expression. The students will learn about the ways in which Russians approach questions of public and private space, censorship, and intellectual property. We will also consider the question of Russian internet "troll farms" and their international impact. 

Most readings and discussion in Russian. 

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 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 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 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 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 requirement.