Russian Department


Courses of Study

[RU113]    The Literature and Art of St. Petersburg In St. Petersburg, Russia. Students read Pushkin, Dostoevsky, and other major St. Petersburg writers, and learn about the city's art, architecture, and history in classroom lectures and museums. Theater and concert performances are included. Residence is with a Russian family. Conducted in English; no knowledge of Russian required. Nongraded. Required meetings on campus in the fall. Early registration required. Contingent on adequate enrollment. Cost is $3,300 plus $300 visa application fee. An optional weekend trip to Moscow costs $350. Three credit hours.
[RU120]    Russia in Film and Myth (in English) A writing-intensive examination of the mechanisms and dynamics of subverting, dismantling, and recycling Soviet mythical structures as a part of new national myth-building that accompanies the dramatic social, economic, ideological, and demographic changes in post-Communist Russia. Students will combine intellectual inquiry into changing representations of social structures, ethnic relations, and gender roles in Russia with the development of the analytical skills and vocabulary necessary to think and write critically about film. Four credit hours. A, W1.
[RU125]    Elementary Russian I Introductory course enables students to acquire a high degree of competence in elementary Russian through communicative learning and interaction. Acquisition of functions, grammar and vocabulary through substantial engagement in creative communication and role playing, reinforced by listening, readings, writing, and speaking assignments outside of the classroom. Cultural practices of Russians are studied through language. Four credit hours.
RU125Jj    Elementary Russian I Intensive introductory course equivalent to RU125f. Upon successful completion of the course, students may proceed to Elementary Russian II, RU126s. Enables students to acquire a high degree of competence through communicative learning and interaction. Acquisition of grammar and vocabulary through substantial engagement in repetition, memorization, role playing, and creative communication, reinforced by listening, readings, writing, and speaking assignments outside of the classroom. Cultural practices of Russians are studied through language. Three credit hours. Parker
RU126s    Elementary Russian II Continuation of first-year introductory course enables students to acquire a high degree of competence in elementary Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 125. Four credit hours. Parker
RU127f    Intermediate Russian I The second-year language sequence in Russian builds on the communicative abilities mastered in elementary Russian by active classroom engagement in conversation and vocabulary building. Study of Russian culture through brief biographies of writers, watching film and Internet clips, and reading short fiction and poetry. The final stages of Russian grammar are introduced, practiced, and tested. Essay assignments increase writing skills, and oral tests allow students to develop fluency in speaking. Prerequisite: Russian 126. Four credit hours. Monastireva-Ansdell
RU128s    Intermediate Russian II The second semester of second-year Russian aims to solidify knowledge of foundational grammar—cases, verbal conjugation and aspect, negation, participles, and gerunds—through classroom review and textbook assignments outside of class. Conversation in class focuses on vocabulary building based on readings of short fiction and cultural texts and watching films and film clips. Essay assignments increase writing skills, and oral tests allow students to develop fluence in speaking. Prerequisite: Russian 127. Four credit hours. Monastireva-Ansdell
RU135fs    Conversation Group An informal, weekly, small-group meeting appropriate for second-year students concurrently enrolled in Russian 126, 127, or 128. Topics for discussion include autobiography, education, leisure-time activities, travel, stores, and films. Conducted entirely in Russian. May be repeated for credit. Nongraded. One credit hour. Eliseeva
RU222s    Revolutionary Performances: Theater and the Energy of the Unspoken (in English) Explores revolutionary developments in Eastern European performance, focusing on the theoretical and practical contributions of directors, actors, and playwrights to now-canonical practices and theories of performance art. The course approaches Eastern European theater as a revolutionary series of dynamic breakthroughs, whose avant-garde theatrical craft existed in a protracted tension between the catalytic possibilities of an embodied medium and the exhausted Soviet body politic. Taking advantage of the Lab format and the instructor's own professional actor training in Russia, we will pair viewings, primary documents and production histories with hands-on exercises. In English. Energy/Exhaustion Humanities Lab Four credit hours. A. Parker
[RU231]    Spectacle of Modernity: Russian Fiction before Cinema (in English) Russian literature is a viewing machine, shaping how readers perceive the modern world. We read Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and the Symbolists, alongside critical discussions of visual culture and modernity. Focused on the Europeanized imperial capital St. Petersburg, our readings from the 1700s to 1917 explore how Russian writers reacted to the new technologies of the railroad, photography, and the cinematograph. Students learn to close read literary texts, analyze historical contexts, and critique visual materials. Includes hands-on projects at the Museum and guest lectures. All readings in English; no knowledge of Russian required. First-years and non-majors encouraged. Four credit hours. L.
[RU232]    All That is Solid Melts into Air: Modern Russian Literature War, revolution, exile, terror. Creativity, fantasy, imagination, freedom. Despite enormous suffering, both in the Soviet Union and in Europe, Russian writers contrived to invent stories that parodied, questioned, undermined, and demythologized the violent workings of history and the state. We read some of the richest fiction of late-Tsarist, Soviet, and émigré literature, which continued the artistic traditions of the 19th century. Includes masterpieces by writers such as Bely, Zamyatin, Olesha, Bulgakov, Nabokov, and Solzhenitsyn. All readings in English. Four credit hours. L.
[RU237]    Devils and Inquisitors: Narrative and Self in the Russian Empire Privileged and pampered, deprived and oppressed, insulted and injured. Only one is a real Dostoevsky novel; but 19th-century Russian authors really did agonize and revel in equal measure. They took advantage of the hand they had been dealt; renounced their wealth; reviled their fate; or contemplated suicide. Some did all four. From the Caucasus to the Steppe, from enchanted forests to somber bogs, educated Russians sought the self in encounters with the Other. We read the most pungent explorations of the individual: Lermontov, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov. Warning: Contains duels, seduction, murder, betrayal, madness, and some drinking. Readings in English. Four credit hours. L.
RU242f    Russian Cinema From Lenin to Putin (in English) Following Lenin's famous dictum, "Cinema is our most important art," early Soviet directors revolutionized the art of filmmaking using dynamic visual practices to convey complex ideological messages about the first socialist society in the world. From revolutionary montage cinema and Stalinist propaganda musicals, to masterpieces of the Soviet New Wave and Putin-era patriotic blockbusters, filmmakers have actively participated in the transformation of society through revolutionary, totalitarian and national mythmaking. We will explore the reasons for the staying appeal of Stalinist mythology and examine how post-Stalinist and post-Communist artists subvert, dismantle, and/or recycle Soviet mythical structures as part of new national myth building. Four credit hours. A, I. Monastireva-Ansdell
RU325f    Conversation and Composition: Culture and Politics How do politics inform cultural production in contemporary Russia? How do some filmmakers use their artistic medium to bring visibility to the issues that "have no place to be seen" in society? We will combine our investigation of culture and politics with grammar review and continued practice in oral and written expression. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 128 or equivalent. Four credit hours. L. Monastireva-Ansdell
RU326s    Conversation and Composition Reading and analysis of literary and historical texts. Topics change each year. Spring 2020: Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. Grammar review and continued practice in oral and written expression. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 325. Four credit hours. Monastireva-Ansdell
RU335fs    Conversation Group An informal, weekly, small-group meeting for intermediate/advanced conversation practice in Russian. Topics accommodate student interests. Conducted in Russian. May be repeated for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Russian 127 or equivalent. One credit hour. Eliseeva
[RU346]    Russian Poetry Weekly meetings focus on poems by one of the major 20th-century Russian poets, including Blok, Esenin, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, Mandelshtam, and Brodsky. Readings in Russian; discussion in English. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Russian 127. One or two credit hours.
RU425f    Russian Literary and Artistic Texts: An Exploration Close reading of short literary genres (lyric poem, narrative poem, short story, drama) and visual/performance art (painting, music, theater). Discussion of artistic "texts" as cultural and historical products. Focus on ACTFL Advanced oral and written expression of artistic appreciation and interpretation. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 325/326 or consent of instructor Four credit hours. L. Parker
[RU426]    The 19th-Century Russian Novel A seminar that analyzes one major 19th-century Russian novel, such as Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Conducted entirely in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 425 or 427. Four credit hours. L.
RU428s    The 20th-Century Russian Novel A seminar that analyzes one major 20th-century Russian novel. In spring 2020: Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, an imaginative novel that rewrites the Stalinist epoch through satire, black magic, and the Christ-Pilate narrative. Students present seminar papers in Russian at the Colby Bates Bowdoin Russian Research Symposium. Conducted entirely in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 425 or 427. Four credit hours. L. Monastireva-Ansdell
RU491f, 492s    Independent Study Individual projects in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One to four credit hours. Faculty