Middlebury Language Schools. 100 years of Language.

Marina Rojavin



I was born in Ukraine. A journalist by college education, I worked as an editor in the USSR. I received my Ph.D. in Russian Linguistics at the O. Potebnia Institute for Linguistics, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine. My dissertation focused on The Gender Category in Modern Russian. I taught Russian language and literature at Temple University and at Swarthmore College.


Some of my professional interests are: semantic gender category in modern Russian and Ukrainian and the Russian grammatical gender as a source of metaphorical thinking; origin, development, and transformation of the Russian literary and historical anecdote; Russian philosophers and intellectuals in Imperial Russia.


I love grammar and try to convince my students that grammar is an appealing thing, sharing funny stories about punctuation marks and parts of sentences with them. I like tongue-twisters, proverbs, and sayings– we practice them in class with students who usually pronounce tongue-twisters better than I do. I like hard rock and classical music. When work overwhelms me, I go to the kitchen and cook. I enjoy food in restaurants as well.

I enjoy trips: hiking or traveling by car through Alaska or the Apennine Mountains or the Alps.


This link will take you to the syllabus for my "Russian Intelligentsia in Soviet Cinema" class.


This link will take you to the syllabus for my "Advanced Russian Composition" class.


My Home Page



VOYAGES a students’ literary journal where I’m an editor





Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

RUSS 6515 - Adv Composition & Stylistics      

Advanced Russian Writing and Stylistics

The course is designed to develop students’ understanding of the peculiarities of various functional styles in the modern Russian language. Students are taught to stylistically evaluate language variants and to distinguish stylistic features of various texts through analysis; they also acquire skills to produce written texts of different styles and genres. The course focuses on different types of texts—e.g., the personal diary, the essay, non-fiction forms, the short story, literary criticism, etc. Readings include diaries of contemporaries; short stories by Pelevin, Tolstaya, and Prilepin; and essays by Genis and Epshtein. During class meetings, students participate in improvisation and write their texts on a range of topics. They prepare written assignments and produce written works in different genre styles. Language & Stylistics

Summer 2011, Summer 2014 Language Schools

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RUSS 6517 - Advanced Russian Composition      

In this course, we focus on different types of texts, e.g. personal diary, essay, non-fiction forms, fictional short stories, literary critics, etc. We explore the relationships between fact and writing, work on various texts, and read different kinds of texts, etc. We read diaries of Dostoyevsky and Gogol, essays of Shklovsky and Merezhkovsky, short stories by Babel, Chekhov, and Tolstaya, scholarly articles by Gumilev, Soloviov, and Rozanov.

Every week is devoted to certain literary genres. During class meetings students participate in improvisation and write their texts on a randomly chosen topic. They prepare written assignments and produce written works in different genres.

Once a week students are invited to practice their skills in a certain genre by participating in a literary salon and in a forum where they discuss and criticize fictional, scholarly and their own writings. Language & Stylistics

Summer 2011, Summer 2012

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RUSS 6675 - History of Russian Cinema      

The course will examine the history of Russian cinema from the silent era to the 21st century. The study of cinema in prerevolutionary Russia, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet epoch will include topics such as technological and cultural developments and exploration of significant directors and genres of these periods. Students will watch films that belong to popular culture, as well as films outside the mainstream. Special emphasis will be given to comedy, the genre that survived during the Stalin and Brezhnev eras. Films of world-renowned directors Eisenstein, Aleksandrov, Tarkovsky, Aleksei German, and others will be screened. The course incorporates readings of literary works—e.g., Zoshchenko, Chekhov, Yuri German—that reflect the content of the films, as well as detailed analyses of the cinematic works. The course includes two films screenings weekly, four essays, a journal, and a final paper. Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2013

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RUSS 6676 - Intelligentsia in Russ Cinema      

Russian Intelligentsia in Soviet Cinema

This course is designed as a study of the concept of the Russian Intelligentsia in Soviet cinema. Films will be examined in the cultural context from a historical, ideological, and an aesthetic perspective to present the main images regarding this subject in the Soviet cinema. The films will show the ways and the transformations of the Russian intelligentsia from the Decembrists, nihilists, and Chekhov’s nobles in the 19th century to the Soviet intelligentsia after the Revolution up to the Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras. Students will investigate the role of cinema as a mechanism of the construction of the national collective consciousness.

By the end of the course, students will be able to use methods of textual and contextual film analysis. The course incorporates readings of the literary works and detailed analyses of the cinematic works—students will read excerpts from literary works by Turgenev, Goncharov, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Aksenov and critical essays by Gasparov, Firsov, and others. The course includes two film screenings weekly, five essays and a final paper.

Summer 2012

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RUSS 6678 - Russian Auteur Cinema      

Russian filmmaking includes a strong line of auteur cinema (avtorskoe kino). Directors of auteur films establish their technique and personal style as their main priority, and they develop their own cinematic language. This course examines films that were outside of the mainstream and explores advancements in film technology and techniques in the context of the continuous evolution of cinema and the cinematic industry. Films of the prominent directors Khutsiev, Muratova, Shepitko, Tarkovsky, German, Sakurov, and others, will be shown. This course includes readings of literary works and criticism, as well as detailed analyses and discussion of the cinematic works with two film screenings weekly. Students have to prepare written and oral assignments including four essays, a journal, and a final paper and project. Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2014 Language Schools

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RUSS 6692 - Reading & New Media in the 21C      

Text, Context, Intertext: Readings and New Media in the 21st Century Literature

Summer 2013, Summer 2015 Language Schools

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RUSS 6707 - Women thru History Russ Cinema      

Women through the History of Russian Cinema Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2015 Language Schools

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Davis School of Russian

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.2006
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
Russian School
Middlebury College
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury, VT 05753

Oliver Carling, Coordinator