N.B. Course descriptions and required texts are subject to change.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
RUSS 6502 - Adv Conversation Practicum ▲
Advanced Conversation Practicum
Students in this class will focus on expanding their lexicon and their syntactical repertoire in scholarly and journalistic speech and on preparing scholarly presentations in their area of interest. Main themes will be political, economic, cultural, and social life in Russia, as students approach interesting and sometimes controversial topics concerning contemporary Russian society and culture. Students will read assigned articles from scholarly and media sources; watch videos on Russian politics, society, and culture; discuss these materials; and write compositions. Grades will be determined according to participation in class discussions, weekly compositions, an oral presentation, and a final oral examination.Linguistics Language & Stylistics
Summer 2010, Summer 2013, Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6506 - Advanced Grammar
This course will focus on the study of advanced Russian grammar. Daily homework assignments and in-class exercises. Written tests and quizzes.Linguistics Language & Stylistics
RUSS 6507 - Advanced Syntax
This course will focus on the use of various syntactical constructions and their meanings; it will also illuminate different functional styles. Students will gain a higher level of proficiency by developing their skills in structuring sentences, word order, and the use of punctuation marks and connective words. They will learn a variety of word combinations, the way word connections function, how word combinations are used in a sentence, and how certain structures are used in discourse. The course will help students to develop their skills in the formation of complex sentences. Students will be given 3 written exams; they will prepare oral and written assignments, 3 essays and presentations based on the texts.
Required text: Ivanova, I.S., Karamysheva, L.M., Kupriianova, T.F., Miroshnikova, M.G. Sintaksis. Prakticheskoe posobie po russkomu iazyku kak inostrannomu. St. Petersburg: Zlatoust.Linguistics Language & Stylistics
RUSS 6509 - Russian Synonyms
This course will focus on expanding students’ active vocabulary through the intensive study of Russian synonyms. Special attention will be paid to recent developments in the Russian language and to describing nuances of meaning between seemingly similar words. Daily homework assignments and frequent quizzes.Language & Stylistics
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 2010, Summer 2011, Summer 2014 Language Schools
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
RUSS 6520 - Conversational Russian
This course will provide conversastional practice, focusing on expandning specialized vocabulary and developing fluency. Many discussion topics will be taken from current events.Language & Stylistics
RUSS 6606 - Word Formation
The rich word-formation possibilities of the Russian language allow for formation according to certain models. As a result of word-formation processes, there are many “clusters”—often dozens of words—that are created from one common root. Prefixes and suffixes add nuances of meaning and emotional coloring. Knowledge of word formation will help with comprehension of Russian texts, where authors frequently use neologisms that do not appear in dictionaries. This course will focus on the many ways in which Russian can create new words. Students’ grades will be based on in-class work, homework assignments, two tests, and a final written paper.Linguistics Language & Stylistics
RUSS 6610 - Russia Between East & West
Russia Between East and West: a Choice of Priorities
Russia's historical and cultural development has been largely dominated by the «Eastern» and the «Western» vectors. Even in the Middle Ages Alexander Nevsky had to make a hard choice between the Catholic West and Mongol Hоrdes. In the 21st century the question has remained pressing for both Russian politicians and the public: what model should be chosen for Russian modernization — the Chinese (Eastern) or European (Western) one.
At the same time, it's extremely popular to think of Russia as a unique type of civilization having her own special design being neither the West nor the East.
This graduate course is to address key problems in Russian history and present an overview of the most important terms and concepts crucial for both developing better understanding of classical historical texts and literature and the current situation.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6612 - The Great Patriotic War
The Great Patriotic War in Soviet an Post-Soviet Culture
The Great Patriotic War is one of the most important events in the formation of present-day Russia. This course examines forms and types of memory of the war as a cultural phenomenon expressed in literature, art, music, cinema, architecture, and sculpture. Memory of the war has developed under the influence of official government policies, the spiritual transformation of society, external influences, the evolution of artistic styles, and the globalization of historical memory. This course will provide an overview of the war and examine the cultural legacy of “The Great Patriotic War.” Special attention will be given to the artistic legacy of the war, historical and artistic works about the war, the development of architecture and memorials dedicated to the war and its memory, and contemporary forms of memory about the war and its place in Russian culture. Students will participate in “round tables” about each theme and will present projects on related topics.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6615 - Poets and Politics ▲
Poets Against the Authorities: from G. Derzhavin to J. Brodsky
Poetry has always played a unique role in Russian history. Due to the absence of possibilities for legal political life and political action, poets sometimes took the place of politicians. Accordingly, state authorities always desired to convert Russian poets into their allies, or persecuted them as political enemies (i.e., exiled them, expelled them from the country, imprisoned them, and even sent them to their deaths). In 19th-century authoritarian Russia and the 20th-century totalitarian Soviet Union, we often find situations that could not be imaginable in ‘normal’ democratic societies: the leaders of the state (such as Alexander I, Nicholas I, and Joseph Stalin) carefully read the poetic works of the major Russian poets and carried special resolutions about them; some sessions of the State Council of Imperial Russia or the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party were completely devoted to recent poetic works and their possible impact on the inner conditions of society and on foreign affairs. In our course, we will examine the reasons for this unique attention paid by the state to poets and poetry. The political views of different Russian poets, as well as their influence on Russian society, will be a subject of our special examination. We will explore works and ideas of such poets as Gavriil Derzhavin, Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Fedor Tyutchev, Nikolai Nekrasov, Alexander Blok, Osip Mandelshtam, Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, and Joseph Brodsky. We will examine some cases in which poetry became a major issue of political life: Pushkin’s ‘southern exile’ and the case of his poem “André Chénier,” the Central Committee’s Resolution on the journals Zvezda and Leningrad (particularly against Anna Akhmatova), Pasternak’s Nobel Prize scandal, or the trials around Joseph Brodsky (who was charged with “parasitism”).Literature
Summer 2010, Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6621 - Nikolai Gogol
In his brilliant essay The Apotheosis of a Mask Vladimir Nabokov called Gogol’s work “a grotesque and grim nightmare making black holes in the dim pattern of life.” Reading Gogol’s masterpieces, from his earlier Romantic tales to fantastic Petersburg’s short stories, from his eminent comedy An Inspector General to his mysterious novel/poem Dead Souls, students will learn to distinguish the writer’s life and artistic strategies. We will explore Gogol’s work within the broad literary and cultural contexts of his time. Students will write weekly one-page response papers and a final paper.
Secondary literature (articles for discussion)
Б. Эйхенбаум. Как сделана «Шинель» Гоголя
О. Проскурин. Посмертное братство: Как Гоголь стал Пушкиным, а Пушкин — Гоголем
RUSS 6622 - Russia & US:Perestroika -Reset
Russia and the USA: from «perestroika» to «reset»
The «image» and the attitude to the USA in Russian political life and public sphere are of utmost importance. A lot of Russia's political processes can be understood only in the context of their proper understanding. Intriguingly, there are two co-existing images of the USA in Russian mass culture - «demonized» and «romanticized».
The course aimed at graduate students is focused on the analysis of Russia's and America's misperception and stereotype formation process in mass culture as well as political manipulations in this field since the Cold War years and up to the present moment.
Great emphasis is going to be placed on the recent years and the latest developments closely connected with the ideas of «reset» in Russian-American relations accompanied by a thorough analysis of contradictions which have arisen in the context of this policy's implementation.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6623 - Prose of Russ Modernist Poets
Prose Works of the Russian Modernist Poets of the 20th Century
Some major Russian modern poets were at the same time outstanding masters of the Russian prose. Their novels, short stories or memoirs were concerned with the psychological biography of an intellectual (poet, artist, etc.) in the period of crisis and despair (such as wars, revolutions, social catastrophes, the changes of the entire social order). In our course we will focus on the following works: The Noise of Time (Shum vrememi, 1925) by Osip Mandelshtam (the internationally acclaimed critic D. S. Mirsky placed this work ‘on the first place among the most important books of recent times’); Cynics (Tsiniki, 1928), the novel by poet-imaginist Anatoly Mariengof (the Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky treated this novel as ‘one of the most innovative books in Russian Literature), The Goat Song (Kozlinaia pesn’, 1928) by Konstantin Vaginov, a member of OBERIU, the last Soviet avant-garde literary group, ‘The Story’ (Povest’, 1929) and ‘Safe Conduct’ (Okhrannaia gramota, 1931) by Boris Pasternak – the prose works, which in many respects anticipated his famous Doktor Zhivago. We will read the prose of these authors against the background of their innovative poetry.
Students will read about 25-30 pages for each class session. They will compose short papers (4) as well as a final paper.
RUSS 6624 - History of House of Romanov
The History of the House of Romanov
This year marks the four-hundredth anniversary of the coming to power of the Romanovs. The course will offer an in-depth analysis of the role the Romanov family from 1613 to 1917. Students will be challenged to see the world through the eyes of the Romanovs, including how they saw their historic mission; how they brought up their children to be ready for ruling; how they created a special circle around the royal family; and how they interacted with the world around them. The Romanov family’s strict rules of conduct and personal myths, legends, and superstitions will be examined. Foreign relations will also be examined in the context of the international positioning of the ruling house: political alliances, dynastic marriages, and their participation in various international projects. Russian internal attitudes toward the Romanovs and the image of the Romanovs in Russian literature, theatre, visual arts, and movies will also be examined.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6627 - Nabokov's Russian Works
The course centers around the first part of Nabokov’s work, the so-called “Russian Nabokov” (1920-1930). Students will read and analyze the early novels, such as Mashen’ka, Luzhin’s Defense, and Invitation to a Beheading, as well as a selection of the best of Nabokov’s short stories. We will examine Nabokov’s encrypted texts against the background of European literature, film, and art, as well as in the context of Russian and Soviet culture. Students will discuss the writer’s artistic and philosophical games, and his deceptive and intricate prose technique. Students will write weekly short papers and a final paper.Literature
RUSS 6633 - The Religions of Russia ▲
This course covers the range of religions found in Russia. Students will become acquainted with the cultural and historical development of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in Russia. Special attention will be paid to the traditional religions of non-Russians and to the practices of Russia’s religious minorities. The course will examine church/state relations in Russia until 1988 and the historical and political aspects of religion in the past that have influenced contemporary religion in Russia. Each class will include readings such as fragments of historical documents and scholarly articles.Civ Cul & Soc
Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6634 - Contemporary Russ Literature ▲
Contemporary Russian Literature: Texts, Myths, Symbols
This course is designed to acquaint students with the way Russian literature has developed during the past decade. The emphasis will be on comprehension of the texts, myths, and symbols created by representatives of different trends in modern Russian literature, from recent examples of traditional psychological prose up to alternative or postmodern authors. We will also discuss modern social and political issues, as well as the most recent cultural events in Russia. Authors will include Tatyana Tolstaya, Victor Pelevin, Liudmila Petrushevskaia, Vladimir Sorokin, and Boris Akunin.Literature
Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6636 - Civil Rights &Dissident Movmnt
The Civil Rights and Dissident Movement in Russia
This course considers civil rights and dissident movements from the Thaw period to the present. Special attention will be given to analysis of the difficulties and contraditions of the creation of a civil society in Russia.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6650 - 9-21C Russia:Srch for Identity
Russia from the 9th through 21st Centuries: In Search of Identity
This course surveys Russian cultural and social history from the middle ages to the present, while exploring Russia’s distinctive cultural identity and its representation in literature and art. Russia’s cultural self-reflection is shown as a dialectical process embracing evolutionary and revolutionary stages, periods of continuity and rupture. The chief objective of the course is to understand Russia’s changing cultural self-perspective against the changing socio-historical context. As the course proceeds from one historical period to another, we will witness and try to explain why some facets of Russian cultural identity remain intact (immune to the changing historical and social conditions), while others are rendered obsolete. Among issues discussed are: Russia’s missionary ambition, its positioning itself vis-à-vis other countries and cultures, the tension between patriotic and dissident tendencies, and the changing cultural codes and rituals. The course materials draw on chronicles and folk tales, homilies, epistolary texts, philosophical treatises, literary works, memoires, literary criticism and journalism, trade treaties, manifestos, historical readings, paintings, cultural-analytical readings, films, opera and ballet.
RUSS 6651 - The Caucasus in Russ Culture
The Caucasus in Russian Culture
For over two hundred years, the Caucasus has occupied a unique place in the political and cultural life of the Russian empire, Soviet Union, and Russian Federation. Wars, ethnic cleansing, and mass deportations have occurred here. This course aims to demonstrate the complexity of the “Caucasus question” and examine its many echoes in Russian culture from Romanticism through Postmodernism. The course’s core readings include works by the greatest authors of the past two centuries (Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Mandelshtam, Pasternak) and also works by lesser-known but important writers (Marlinskii, Polonskii, Makanin). The course will also examine several films on the Caucasus theme, from Nikoloz Shengelaya’s Eliso (1928) through Aleksei Uchitel’s Captive (2008).Civ Cul & Soc Literature
RUSS 6652 - Russian Formalism
Russian Formalism: Theory, Literature, Cinema
The Russian Formalism is definitely one of the most renowned intellectual trends of the 20th century Russia. A famous British scholar Terry Eagleton claimed that the theory of literature started in 1917 when a young Russian formalist Viktor Shklovsly published his pioneering essay Art as Device. Students will read and discuss the most acclaimed works (critical essays, academic articles, and short fiction) by Viktor Shklovsky, Boris Eikhenbaum, Yury Tynianov, and Lidia Ginzburg to explore connections between Russian formalism and Russian Modernism (in arts, literature, and cinema.) The lectures and discussions will be widely supplemented by clips from movies made by formalist authors. Students will write weekly one-page response papers and a final paper.
Искусство как прием.
Письмо о России и в Россию.
Zoo, или Письма не о любви.
Рецензия на эту книгу (с. 380).
Об историческом романе и о Юрии Тынянове (глава о «Подпоручике Киже»).
Как сделана «Шинель» Гоголя.
Из книги «Мой временник» (По мостам и проспектам: Из автобиографии ).
О Викторе Шкловском.
Об основах кино.
Либретто фильма «Шинель».
Подпоручик Киже (повесть)
Из записных книжек (записи 1920-х годов).
Шинель (Сценарий Ю. Тынянова)
3-я Мещанская (Сценарий Виктора Шкловского и А. Роома)
Поручик Киже (Сценарий Ю. Тынянова. Музыка С. Прокофьева)
RUSS 6654 - Hist Civilizations in Eurasia
The History of Civilizations in Eurasia
A consideration of Russia's place in and relationship with Central Asia and the Caucasus. The course will include an analysis of the historical development of non-Russian peoples in these areas and their encournters with the Russian empire.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6660 - Pushkin:Prose, Poetry, Drama
This course offers a fundamentally new reading of the central works of the Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837) and reexamines his literary evolution. The course will examine Pushkin’s works in the context of European literature, culture, and political events. We will consider Pushkin as a Russian and a European writer and political thinker. Much attention will be given to comparative analyses of Pushkin’s works and their European (and sometimes American) intellectual sources. Course readings will include Pushkin’s “canon” and also his lesser-known works such as diaries, critical articles, and travelogues.Literature
RUSS 6661 - Russian Folk Culture
Russian Folk Culture: Its Sources, Traditions, and Art
Russian folk culture is important for understanding the country and its people and explains much about today’s Russia. This course will examine the roots of Russian folk culture, types of traditional homes, the Russian folk calendar and life cycle, family and wedding traditions, folk art, and folklore and its “cultural heroes.” Students will not only learn about folk culture, but will learn to make representative items, such as dolls and combs, prepare long-popular Russian dishes, perform ritual songs, and play games that were played in Russian villages. Assignments will include a final project and presentation.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6664 - Religion in Post-Soviet Russia ▲
Religion in Post-Soviet Russia: From the Religious Renaissance to Anticlericalism
This course will outline the periods of the post-Soviet transformation of religion in Russia, examine the factors that influenced the formation of the contemporary religion situation, and discuss the contemporary cultural and political developments affecting religion in Russia. Special attention will be paid to the relations among the church, government, and society, the development of the so-called “four traditional religions of Russia” and contemporary religious minorities, and the role of the Russian Orthodox Church not only as Russia’s most influential religious organization but also as a serious political force with a clearly defined social agenda. The course will also examine the formation of religious identity, religion and contemporary Russian mass culture, religion and education, religion and interethnic relations, religious tolerance and intolerance, and religious fundamentalism and anticlericalism. Each class will include readings from Russian media and scholarly articles.Civ Cul & Soc
Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6665 - Russian Reform & Reformers
Analysis of the most significant reforms in Russian history helps to penetrate into the logic of modern Russian modernization. The starting point of the course is Peter the Great and his reforms, which resulted in the creation of a new type of state, new mode of life, new world outlook and relations with other countries. Peter’s reforms brought Russia to a different quality of existence and history but at the same time highlighted the limitations of such modernization.
The history of the 18th century is marked by a set of reforms undertaken by Catherine the Second. A special place in the course is reserved for analyses of the reforms aimed at the abolition of serfdom – starting with the first timid attempts to “modernize” it up to the decision for complete abolition. Given the importance of the “peasant issue” in Russia, Stolipin’s reforms, which proved to be way ahead of their time, are of great interest and importance. The Soviet epoch is to be explored through analysis of Stalin’s modernization, Khrushchev’s reforms and various attempts to make the Soviet economy more efficient in the 1960’s. The closing theme of the course is the analysis of the modern attempts to modernize Russia. Together with reforms themselves the course is focused on the most prominent Russian reformers as well as the feedback on their policy coming from the grass-roots level.
RUSS 6666 - Russia in Post-Soviet Space ▲
The course, designed for graduate students interested in modern politics, undertakes a comprehensive study of the problems of Russia's foreign policy toward the countries that became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The last twenty years have been one of the most complex and dynamic periods for Russia and her neighbors. The issues of independence, identity, interstate relations have been characterized by acute struggle, both within national political elites and among the states. Defining priorities has not been an easy process either in Russia or in the neighboring countries. This process was complicated by the clashing interests of external powerful “actors” (such as the USA, the EU, and China) over the post-Soviet space. Some rising powers (such as Turkey, Iran, and others) have recently become more active and claimed a special role in this Eurasian geopolitical region. This period is full of contradictions and conflicts and gives plenty of insight into historical, geopolitical, political, and cultural aspects of the region, and allows us to test major modern political theories and their applicability to the analysis of many interesting problems.Civ Cul & Soc
Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6667 - The Russian Fairy Tale
The Russian Fairy Tale: Fools, Villains, Magic Helpers and Their Use in Soviet Culture)
This seminar introduces students to the structural classification of Russian fairy tales and then focuses on the techniques Russian writers and filmmakers of different ideological persuasions and different periods of Soviet history use to harness the fairy tale's narratives, stylistics, and protagonists for the purpose of promoting or undermining Soviet values and mentalities.Civ Cul & Soc Literature
RUSS 6669 - Soviet Music- Russian Show Bus
From the Soviet Music Industry to Russian Show-Business
The existence of popular music in the USSR presents a peculiar case that begins with the all-mighty Union of composers, the state recording monopoly 'Melodiia', ideological guidance from the communist party and komsomol, and strict control in the media. Over the transitional period of perestroika and glasnost this was transformed into a version of western-style media, presenting some rather unique showbusiness elements, but in a heavily mutated form, containing some rather unique elements - both in musical styles and management. Social, economic and culturological aspects of the Russian pop industry will be illustrated by portraits of typical well-known performers, their songs and videos. Issues covered in the course will include piracy, censorship and musical media policy. Students will write frequent short essays on related topics of their preference.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6673 - Russian-Ukrainian Relations ▲
History of Russian-Ukrainian Relations
In spite of the fact that Russian-Ukrainian relations have lately become one of the key issues in contemporary international politics, this course will be devoted to the history of relations between Russia and Ukraine. This topic has a lot to offer and there are many aspects that still remain unclear and provoke a lot of discussions not only in society, but also among professional historians.
The early Middle Ages were characterized by joint development of Kiev and Novgorod lands, united by power, self-identification and common outlook. The following period was marked by the development of Ukrainian groups under the strong influence of Russia, Poland, and Austria, which shaped cultural peculiarities and social preferences of Ukrainians. The 17th century was a new stage in Eastern Ukrainian development as an integral part of the Moscow State and then the Russian Empire, while southwestern Ukrainian lands kept developing under the influence of other countries.
The 20th century turned out to be the most dramatic for both peoples. Two world wars, civil war, challenges of modernization — all these contributed to a growing number of contradictions when addressing problems of identity.
The course, aimed at graduate students, deals with the ethnic and cultural aspects of Russian and Ukrainian development as well as the formation of their social and political priorities and symbols. Understanding these phenomena will allow a better analysis and comprehension of the contemporary tension between Russia and Ukraine, which does not always reflect the mutual attitudes and values of both peoples.Civ Cul & Soc
Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6674 - Pushkin in Russian Culture
Pushkin in Russian Culture
This course attempts to answer the question of how Aleksandr Pushkin became, in Apollon Grigorev's formulation, "our everything." Why, over the last two hundred years, have groups of every possible aesthetic and political position claimed Pushkin as their own, and how have they interpreted his image and his works? Students will read some of Pushkin's key works but focus mainly on what various cultural figures have said about him over the last two centuries.Literature
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
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.
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
RUSS 6679 - Russian Lit on the Screen
Russian Literature on the Screen
The course will investigate the relationship between two arts: literature and film. Literary works have always attracted filmmakers. The recent popularity of TV miniseries based on classical works of Russian literature has heated debates on the issues of fidelity and the supposed inferiority of film to literature. We will discuss the limits of artistic freedom in adapting literary original to the screen, cinematic means of the transformation of text into visual narrative, and different approaches to film adaptation analysis. We will examine attempts of Russian filmmakers throughout the history of the Russian/Soviet cinema to adapt various literary genres to the screen: poems, short stories, novels and drama. The course will incorporate readings of the original works of literature and detailed analysis of the cinematic adaptation. In addition to class meetings, weekly screenings will be required.
RUSS 6680 - Russia & CIS Countries '91-'10
Russia and the CIS Countries, 1991-2010
The Commonwealth of Independent States, a group of newly independent states brought into being by the collapse of the Soviet Union, has an extremely significant influence not only on domestic but also on foreign policy of Russia. At the same time, Russia is their major neighbor holding the key to their own development and success. Today CIS countries are getting deeper and deeper plunged into the competition among major global actors: Russia, the USA, the EU, Turkey and China are all seeking for their own ways to secure influence in these states. This competition for influence is a drastic change of the framework of the whole system of world politics as well as the concept of global and regional leadership. The system is characterized by rising tension and contradictions among the major blocks and alliances. The course looks at not only various political and economic issues, but also major cultural aspects and patterns of communication.
RUSS 6684 - The Russian Anecdote ▲
The Russian Anecdote: Understanding Russian Jokes and Humor
This course will focus on helping students toward a better understanding of Russian culture through the tool of Russian canned jokes (‘anekdoty’). We will discuss the conceptualization of the world in Russian jokelore (what is taken for granted in Russian jokes and what one needs to know to understand them) and give an account of the rules of telling jokes in Russian as well as the formal means of introducing a joke text into discourse. We will pay special attention to the main characters of Russian jokes, recognizable by the description of their appearance, behavior, clothes and other accessories, and their “linguistic masks,” which correlate with their “behavior masks.” In addition, we will analyze ways of using jokes in the media (in particular, indirect allusions to jokes). The course grade will be based on student homework, participation in class discussion, and a final exam.Language & Stylistics
Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6690 - Culture Shock:21C Russ Culture
Culture Shock: RUssian Culture of the 21st Century
An in-depth examination of Russian popular culture, literature, and cinema of the 21st century.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6692 - Reading & New Media in the 21C
Text, Context, Intertext: Readings and New Media in the 21st Century
The goal of this course is to develop students’ skills in reading and interpreting contemporary texts in the post-Soviet era. Students will learn how to comprehend the background of the text, to grasp the meaning of the context, and to distinguish intertexts. Students will work with different kinds of new media texts including online news, social media excerpts, tweets, forums, YouTube videos, etc. They will read articles and essays of Shenderovich, Novodvorskaya, and Rubinshtein, and short stories of Tolstaya, Pelevin, and Prilepin. In class, students will get practice in examining and interpreting readings and participate in the discussion of texts, whether assigned or found by the students themselves. They will prepare written assignments and produce various texts, ranging from essays to short fan fiction stories.Literature
RUSS 6693 - 21C Russia & Int'l Orgs
Russia & International Organizations in the 21st Century
The course focuses on the analysis of one of Russia’s most complex foreign policy issues – Russia's search for its place in the system of contemporary international relations. Russia’s loss of “Great Power” status after the collapse of the Soviet Union brought about a serious crisis in Russia's foreign affairs practices, and international relations in the 21st century are shaped by a different set of challenges. Reactions to outside organizations are colored by nostalgia about the past and a struggle within Russia's political elite about the country’s place in world politics. This course will include a thorough exploration of major documents, analytical papers, and various expert opinions, as well as an in-depth study of public opinion and political rhetoric.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6705 - Rock Music in Russia & USSR
Rock Music in Russia and the USSR
This course will trace the emergence and development of rock and roll music - initially an exotic American influence which later grew into bona fide Russian genre - in the Soviet Union and, subsequently, the Russian Federation. As in the west, the musical developments in rock went hand in hand with ever-changing youth cults, social trends and cultural shocks: from the 'styliagi' of the 50s to Beatlemania and the Russian hippy movement of the 60s and 70s, to protest-driven 'Russian rock' of the 80s and the current contradictory situation. Lectures will be accompanied by audio and video recordings, as well as selected feature films. Course assignments will include essays on Soviet and Russian rock acts and oral reports.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6710 - Intertextuality Post-Sov Cult
Intertextuality in Post-Soviet Russian Culture
This course aims to improves students' cultural literacy by examining key phrases, texts, films, current events, names, jokes and other concepts of the last twenty years that are frequently referenced by Russians.Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS 6763 - Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" ▲
Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and the Family Novel
The course is designed as a close reading of the most acclaimed of Tolstoy’s works—his novel Anna Karenina. The novel was written and published in separate chapters during 1875-1877, and readers remained in suspense, as they did not know what would happen next with the heroes. Students will be repeating the experience of Tolstoy’s first readers during their six weeks of study. Tolstoy’s work is an encyclopedia of the Russian culture of the second half of the 19th century, making our course completely interdisciplinary: we will discuss social, historical, philosophical, religious, cultural, and legal issues, relevant for Tolstoy as well as for his heroes. Such topics as family, marriage, women’s emancipation, and children’s education will be the themes of our class discussion. Students must be prepared to read about 30 pages for each class session, to actively participate in class discussion, and to write weekly short papers. Students will compose their final paper and present it during the mini-conference at the end of the course.Literature
Summer 2010, Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6766 - Dostoevsky's Crime &Punishment
Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment
A seminar devoted to Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment. Students will learn about the novel's background and creation, engage in a close reading of the text, place the novel in the context of Dostoevsky's other works and related topics in 19th-century Russian and West European thought, and explore echoes of Dostoevsky's ideas and later works.Literature
RUSS 6884 - Master and Margarita
M. Bulgakov's Master and Margarita
This course will be designed as a close reading of the famous “demonic” novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. We will discuss the unique structure and philosophy of the novel, as well as its political background and the novel’s artistic genealogy (literary, musical, religious, and philosophical sources).Class lectures will be supplemented by frequent slide, video, and musical presentations.
Students have to write weekly short papers, and a final paper.Literature
RUSS 6888 - Independent Study ▲
This course consists of a thesis written in Russian, for which an advisor will be assigned, and is a requirement for MA candidates. The course can only be taken for the completion of the master’s thesis and may be taken only once.
Summer 2010, Summer 2011, Summer 2012, Summer 2013, Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS 6903 - Research Paper
This research paper is a requirement for DML candidates during their summer of application.
Summer 2010, Summer 2011, Summer 2012, Summer 2013