picture of professor Matthew Walker
Office
FIC 206
Tel
(802) 443-5588
Email
mpwalker@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall 2022: Monday 4:15-5:30 p.m., Tuesday 1:30-2:45 p.m. and by appointment
Additional Programs
Russian

Courses Taught

Course Description

Life is Short: Introduction to the Russian Short Story
Russian literature may be best known in the West for producing big lumbering novels, novels thicker than bricks—think War & Peace, Brothers Karamazov, or Gulag Archipelago—but from the beginning of the nineteenth century on, many of its greatest prose masterpieces emerge from a seemingly lesser, though nimbler genre—the short story. In this course we will read classic short works by Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Nabokov and others, and learn to analyze them in a sophisticated way; we will also learn about Russian culture, and, more broadly, what makes literature what it is. All readings in English.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CW, EUR, LIT

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Course Description

The “We”: Representing Collectives
“Who are we?” This may be the fundamental question underlying any community. Rather than propose a particular answer to this question, in this course we will attempt to develop a historical poetics of social formations: how are communities (“we”) maintained and represented under different political paradigms, how do communities appear, and how do they disintegrate? Readings will include foundational texts of modern Western political philosophy, with responses from beyond Europe (Russia, the Global South, and the Americas), and case studies from literature, cinema, protest, and mass media. Students taking this class for a Russian requirement meet one extra hour per week to discuss selected texts in Russian. 3 hrs. sem

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

PHL, SOC

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Course Description

Russian and East European Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

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Course Description

Beginning Russian
This course is an approach to the language using four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). It provides a firm control of the sound system and the structure of Russian. Although much emphasis is put on the spoken colloquial language, reading, writing, and a conscious understanding of the fundamentals of grammar prepare a strong foundation for work in advanced courses or for reading in specialized fields. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

Beginning Russian
This course is a continuation of RUSS 0101. (RUSS 0101 or equivalent)

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Winter 2023

Requirements

LNG, WTR

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Course Description

The Russian Mind (in English)
In this course we will study the dominant themes of Russia's past and their role in shaping the present-day Russian mind. Topics will include: Slavic mythology; Russian Orthodoxy; Russian icons; the concept of autocracy; the legacy of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great; the Golden Age of Russian Literature (Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky); Russian composers, including the "Mighty Five"; Russian theater and ballet; the origins of Russian radicalism; the Russian Revolution; the legacy of Lenin and Stalin; and Russia from Khrushchev to Putin. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

HIS, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Russian Literature's Golden Age: 1830-1880 (in English)
Duels, ghosts, utopias, murders, prostitution, and adultery- these are the raw materials Russian authors turned into some of the world's greatest literature. This course is an introduction to Russian literature of the 19th century, from the short stories of Pushkin and Gogol to the great novels of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. The centrality of literature in Russian society and the interrelations among the authors and texts will be discussed. How do the authors combine reality, fantasy, and philosophy to make these works both uniquely Russian and universal? 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Putinism and Contemporary Russian Culture
The 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union was hailed in the West as a triumph of democracy over totalitarianism; for some observers the event even signaled “the end of history.” Today however it seems history is “back,” with Russia under Putin once again assuming its former role as enemy and the “other” of the West. In this course we will seek a better understanding of this apparent reversal of vectors from within Russian culture, while situating it within larger illiberal trends in world politics, by analyzing literary works, popular cinema, political theory, journalism, social media, and other forms of cultural production. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

NOA, SOC

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Course Description

Russian Culture and Civilization II
This course is a continuation of RUSS 0311 but may be taken independently with the approval of the instructor. It offers a bilingual approach to the study of Russian culture. Works of literature, art, film, and music will be examined in their historical and political context. Particular attention will be devoted to the improvement of oral and written skills. As the course topics and emphasis change, depending on the levels of students enrolled, RUSS0312 may be taken a second time with instructor/chair approval. (RUSS 0202 or by permission) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT, LNG

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Course Description

Gogol and Romantic Melancholy (In English)
In this course we will explore the corpus of one of the canonical figures of nineteenth-century Russian literature, Nikolai Gogol, and situate him within a broader tradition of romantic melancholy in Western, and later, Russian culture (e.g. writers such as Poe, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Dostoevsky, Platonov, filmmakers such as Tarkovsky and Zviagintsev). How does one describe a world where formerly familiar pathways to transcendence have been left in ruins by modernity? Can this loss be remedied in art, or only repeated? Twice weekly discussions of materials in English, though students are encouraged to engage with the original texts. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

CW, EUR, LIT

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Course Description

The Art of Vladimir Nabokov (in English)
A study of the "perverse" aesthetics of this Russian-American writer. We will expose the hidden plots under the surface of his fiction, follow and arbitrate the ongoing contest between the author and his fictional heroes, and search for the roots of Nabokov's poetics in Western and Russian literary traditions. An attempt will be made to show the continuity between the Russian and English works of this bilingual and bicultural writer. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, LIT

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Course Description

Advanced Studies in Language and Literature
Supervised individual study for highly qualified students. (Approval required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

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Course Description

Senior Independent Study
(Approval required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

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