Courses of Study
[RU120] Reel Russia 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 Communist past in the 1990s to the revival and reintegration of Soviet-era policies, practices, and values in the 21st century? Students will combine intellectual inquiry into changing representations of social structures, ethnic relations, and gender roles in Russia with the development of visual literacy, 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 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. Miller
[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 and St. Petersburg during Spring Break 2022. 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. Instructor
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. Orte
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. Instructor
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. Levina
[RU222] 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.
RU231s A 20th Century Childhood: Growing up in Russia and the USSR Since the Romantic Age, childhood has been recognized as a world apart, associated with a type of freedom, play, and natural innocence that we leave behind when we become adults, for better or worse. Russian and Soviet writers took up this multifaceted theme in various ways: to depict a more authentic relation to life, to reflect on painful loss and the passage of time, to provide an estranged perspective on the world, and to represent education and coming of age. Furthermore, the world of childhood, with its nonsensical nursery rhymes, fantasies and fairytales, gave writers living under an authoritarian regime ways to express themselves creatively and thwart the one-size-fits-all "realism" prescribed by the Soviet state. In this class, we will trace the genesis, development and diverse treatments of childhood from the foundational text by Tolstoy to the end of the USSR. Four credit hours. L. Orte
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. Instructor
RU237f Sinners and Saints: Women in Russian Literature and Culture (in English) This course focuses on the experiences—both lived and imagined—of Russian women from the nineteenth century. We will examine the portrayal of women in Russian print and visual culture and focus on how gender is depicted in a variety of contexts, including "high" and "low" literature; folklore and fiction; advertisements and film; political tracts and memoirs. Our discussion will take into account questions of gender and the role of the family in day-to-day life and society at large; we will analyze how women's roles evolved in a country that went through radical and abrupt changes. Four credit hours. L. Miller
[RU242] Celluloid Ethnicities: How the USSR was (De)Constructed Russia's impassioned relations with post-Communist states, be it at war (Ukraine) or in peaceful alliances (the Eurasian Economic Union), have originated in Communist constructions of ethnicity. From Lenin's deliberate cultivation of distinct ethnic identities, through Stalin's hierarchy of depoliticized "symbolic ethnicities," to non-Russians' interrogation of their inferior status, Soviet filmmakers played a key role in popularizing what it meant to be Russian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Georgian or Kazakh in the USSR. Students will map (post-)Soviet visual representations of ethnicity and race; study in depth one of the USSR's fifteen former republics; and cook a "Friendship-of-the-Peoples" meal contributing their adopted nation's dish. Four credit hours. A, I.
RU325f Advanced Russian I We will work to expand our ability to discuss complex topics, such as ecology, politics, and culture, while reviewing essential grammar and continuing to practice oral and written expression. As a semester-long project, students will create their own imaginary countries and give regular reports on their geography, folklore, education and political systems. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 128 or equivalent. Four credit hours. L. Orte
RU326s Conversation and Composition Reading and analysis of literary and historical texts. Topics change each year. Spring 2022: Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Russian Literature and Culture. Grammar review and continued practice in oral and written expression. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 325. Four credit hours. L. Orte
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. Levina
[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 work to expand our ability to discuss complex topics, such as ecology, politics, and culture, while reviewing essential grammar and continuing to practice oral and written expression. As a semester-long project, students will create their own imaginary countries and give regular reports on their geography, folklore, education and political systems. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 325 or 326. Four credit hours. L. Orte
[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.
[RU427] Personal Identity in 20th-Century Russian Literature Reading and analysis of literary and historical texts focusing on the quest for moral values and personal identity in Russia's turbulent twentieth-century history: from Late Tsarism, through the Bolshevik Revolution and Stalinism, and to the post-Soviet era. Authors include Chekhov, Babel, Zoshchenko, Shalamov, and Petrushevskaia. Grammar review and continued practice in oral and written expression. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 325 or 326. Four credit hours. L.
RU428s Seminar in Russian Culture and Literature This capstone course takes an interdisciplinary approach to masterpieces of Russian culture in a variety of disciplines and genres. Topics vary and may include questions of gender, sexuality, race, class, the natural world, Russia and the West, history, and others. Emphasis on close reading and analysis of authentic texts in their cultural context. Conducted entirely in Russian and may include an array of works or focus on one larger literary work. Prerequisite: Russian 425 or 427. Four credit hours. L. Orte
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