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.
RU125f    Elementary Russian I Introductory course enables students to acquire a high degree of competence in elementary Russian 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. Four credit hours. Monastireva-Ansdell
[RU125J]    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. Students are invited to participate in a planned trip to Moscow during Spring Break. Three credit hours.
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. Parker
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. Five short written essays. Weekly quizzes, regular testing, and four oral exams help to develop fluency 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. Nikiforova
[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.
RU232s    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. Parker
RU237f    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. Parker
RU242f    Back to the Future: Recent Russian Cinema (in English) What role does Russia's "most important art" play in shaping the nation's present and future? How does it legitimate or subvert the official notions of usable and unusable past? What has caused the shift from the rigorous interrogation of the Soviet past in the 1990s to the revival and reintegration of Soviet-era policies, practices, and values in the 21st century? Examines a variety of genres (drama, the war film, comedy, fantasy, criminal thriller, historical epic, the musical), as well as a range of social issues and changing representations of social structures, ethnic relations, and gender roles in contemporary Russia. First-year students welcome. Four credit hours. A, I. Monastireva-Ansdell
RU325f    Advanced Russian I We will combine our investigation of literature, culture, and contemporary Russia with grammar review and continued practice in oral and written expression. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 128 or equivalent. Four credit hours. L. Parker
RU326s    Conversation and Composition Reading and analysis of literary and historical texts. Topics change each year. Spring 2019: Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago. Grammar review and continued practice in oral and written expression. Internet materials, YouTube clips, and films supplement the readings. 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. Nikiforova
[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    Advanced Russian I We will combine our investigation of literature, culture, and contemporary Russia with grammar review and continued practice in oral and written expression. Conducted in Russian. 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 2019: Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, an epic novel that treats historical events from 1905 through the 1920s and addresses topics of literary and cultural interest. 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