Russian (RUSS)

RUSS 001 Elementary Russian I

This course develops elementary skills in reading, speaking, understanding and writing the Russian language. We will work with an exciting range of authentic written materials, the Internet, videos and recordings relating to the dynamic scene of Russia today. At the end of the course students will be comfortable with the Russian alphabet and will be able to read simplified literary, commercial, and other types of texts (signs, menus, short news articles, short stories) and participate in elementary conversations about daily life (who you are, what you do every day, where you are from, likes and dislikes).

For BA Students: Language Course

Course usually offered in fall term

Also Offered As: RUSS 501

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 002 Elementary Russian II

Continuation of RUSS001. Further work developing basic language skills using exciting authentic materials about life in present-day Russia. At the conclusion of the course, students will be prepared to negotiate most basic communication needs in Russia (getting around town, ordering a meal, buying goods and services, polite conversation about topics of interest) and to comprehend most texts and spoken material at a basic level.

For BA Students: Language Course

Taught by: Peeney/Alley

Course usually offered in spring term

Also Offered As: RUSS 502

Prerequisite: RUSS 001 or equivalent

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 003 Intermediate Russian I

This course will develop your ability to use the Russian language in the context of typical everyday situations, including university life, family, shopping, entertainment, etc. Role-playing, skits, short readings from literature and the current press, and video clips will be used to help students improve their language skills and their understanding of Russian culture. At the end of the semester you will be able to read and write short texts about your daily schedule and interests, to understand brief newspaper articles, films and short literary texts, and to express your opinions in Russian. In combination with RUSS 004, this course prepares students to satisfy the language competency requirement.

For BA Students: Language Course

Taught by: Peeney/Alley

Course usually offered in fall term

Also Offered As: RUSS 503

Prerequisites: RUSS 001 and 002 or placement exam.

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 004 Intermediate Russian II

A continuation of RUSS003. This course will further develop your ability to use the Russian language in the context of everyday situations (including relationships, travel and geography, leisure activities) and also through reading and discussion of elementary facts about Russian history, excerpts from classic literature and the contemporary press and film excerpts. At the end of the course you will be able to negotiate most daily situations, to comprehend most spoken and written Russian, to state and defend your point of view. Successful completion of the course prepares students to satisfy the language competency requirement.

For BA Students: Last Language Course

Taught by: Peeney/Alley

Course usually offered in spring term

Also Offered As: RUSS 504

Prerequisite: RUSS 003 or placement exam

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 009 Central and Eastern Europe: Cultures, Histories, Societies

The reappearance of the concept of Central and Eastern Europe is one of the most fascinating results of the collapse of the Soviet empire. The course will provide an introduction into the study of this region its cultures, histories, and societies from the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire to the enlargement of the European Union. Students are encouraged to delve deeper into particular countries, disciplines, and sub-regions, such as Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, through an individual research paper and class presentations.

Taught by: Steiner/Orenstein/Verkholantsev

Course usually offered in spring term

Also Offered As: COML 010, EEUR 010

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: This course is one of two required core courses for the Russian and East European Studies (REES) Major.

RUSS 010 Intro to Russia and Eurasia: Histories, Cultures, Societies

This course is designed as a broad introduction to the study of Russia and Eurasia that will offer students a multi-disciplinary overview of the cultures, histories and societies of this large and diverse region of the world. It is organized in units that illustrate the approaches of various disciplines to the study of the region, including history, literary studies, cinema studies, art history, and social scientific inquiry. At the conclusion of the course, students will be acquainted with these various disciplinary frameworks and the differences between them, with the modes of analysis and writing that pertain to them, and with fundamental knowledge of the region. They will be prepared for further study of the region in a variety of programs of study, including the Russian and East European Studies major, for which the course serves as a foundation.

Taught by: Platt/Staff

Course usually offered in fall term

Also Offered As: EEUR 009

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 026 BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN

This first-year seminar provides an introduction to the histories, cultures, and societies of Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and the successor states of Yugoslavia. Through a selection of articles and essays written by anthropologists and sociologists and based on their extended fieldwork in the region, students will explore both the ethnographic method and the experience of everyday life during and after the communist era. Topics will include: popular music under socialism, food and wine, environmental concerns, the status of Muslim minorities, socialist aesthetics, public memory and cultures of commemoration, privatization, advertising, women's rights, gender and sexuality, emergent nationalisms, and the rise of income inequality and homelessness. All readings and assignments in English.

Taught by: GHODSEE

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: ANTH 026, EEUR 026

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: In this course, first-year students gain knowledge about the cultures and societies of Central and Eastern Europe through the reading of ethnographic texts about the socialist (1945-1989) and post-socialist (1990 to the present) eras. The course takes multidisciplinary approach in that it combines ethnographic works from both anthropology and sociology and discusses how qualitative methodologies differ from survey research or other forms of quantitative analysis. By exposing students to the critical examination of how different types of knowledge are produced through the close study of Central and Eastern Europe, the course aims to teach them to be critical consumers of essentialized truths underpinning fix notions about concepts such as "culture" and "society." At the end of the course students should develop a deep understanding of the value of the ethnographic method and the contested terrain of knowledge production about the socialist and post-socialist past, and will be able to speak and write about these issues with competence and confidence.

RUSS 048 The Rise and Fall of the Russian Empire, 1552-1917

How and why did Russia become the center of the world's largest empire, a single state encompassing eleven time zones and over a hundred ethnic groups? To answer this question, we will explore the rise of a distinct political culture beginning in medieval Muscovy, its transformation under the impact of a prolonged encounter with European civilization, and the various attempts to re-form Russia from above and below prior to the Revolution of 1917. Main themes include the facade vs. the reality of central authority, the intersection of foreign and domestic issues, the development of a radical intelligentsia, and the tension between empire and nation.

For BA Students: History and Tradition Sector

Taught by: Nathans/Holquist

One-term course offered either term

Also Offered As: HIST 048

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 049 The Soviet Century, 1917-1991

Out of an obscure, backward empire, the Soviet Union emerged to become the great political laboratory of the twentieth century. This course will trace the roots of the world's first socialist society and its attempts to recast human relations and human nature itself. Topics include the origins of the Revolution of 1917, the role of ideology in state policy and everyday life, the Soviet Union as the center of world communism, the challenge of ethnic diversity, and the reasons for the USSR's sudden implosion in 1991. Focusing on politics, society, culture, and their interaction, we will examine the rulers (from Lenin to Gorbachev) as well as the ruled (peasants, workers, and intellectuals; Russians and non-Russians). The course will feature discussions of selected texts, including primary sources in translation.

For BA Students: History and Tradition Sector

Taught by: Nathans/Holquist

Course usually offered in spring term

Also Offered As: HIST 049

Activity: Recitation

1 Course Unit

RUSS 095 UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE: FROM THE TOWER OF BABEL TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

This is a course in European intellectual history. It explores the historical trajectory, from antiquity to the present day, of the idea that there once was, and again could be, a universal and perfect language among the human race. If recovered, it can explain the origins and meaning of human experience, and can enable universal understanding and world peace. The tantalizing question of the possibility of a universal language have been vital and thought-provoking throughout the history of humanity. The idea that the language spoken by Adam and Eve was a language which perfectly expressed the nature of all earthly objects and concepts has occupied the minds of intellectuals for almost two millennia. In defiance of the Christian biblical myth of the confusion of languages and nations at the Tower of Babel, they have over and over tried to overcome divine punishment and discover the path back to harmonious existence. By recovering or recreating a universal language, theologians hoped to be able to experience the divine; philosophers believed that it would enable apprehension of the laws of nature, while mystic cabbalists saw in it direct access to hidden knowledge. In reconstructing a proto-language, 19th-century Indo-Europeanist philologists saw the means to study the early stages of human development. Even in the 20th century, romantic idealists, such as the inventor of Esperanto Ludwik Zamenhof, strived to construct languages to enable understanding among estranged nations. For writers and poets of all times, from Cyrano de Bergerac to Velimir Khlebnikov, the idea of a universal and perfect language has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Today, this idea echoes in theories of universal and generative grammars, in approaching English as a global tongue, and in various attempts to create artificial languages, even a language for cosmic communication.

Taught by: VERKHOLANTSEV

Course usually offered in spring term

Also Offered As: COML 095, ENGL 219, HIST 056

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 105 Accelerated Elementary Russian

TWO IN ONE: This is an intensive two-credit course covering two semesters of the first-year sequence (RUSS001 and 002). The course is designed for students with no background in Russian and develops language competence in speaking, reading, writing and understanding contemporary Russian. Class work emphasizes development of communication skills and cultural awareness. Together with RUSS003 and 004 fulfills Penn Language Requirement.

For BA Students: Language Course

Course not offered every year

Activity: Lecture

2 Course Units

RUSS 111 Poetics of Screenplay: The Art of Plotting

This course studies screenwriting in a historical, theoretical and artistic perspective. We discuss the rules of drama and dialogue, character development, stage vs. screen-writing, adaptation of nondramatic works, remaking of plots, auteur vs. genre theory of cinema, storytelling in silent and sound films, the evolvement of a script in the production process, script doctoring, as well as screenwriting techniques and tools.

Taught by: Todorov

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: CIMS 111, COML 118

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: This course cannot be applied towards Russian major or minor.

RUSS 115 Before Transgender: Hermaphrodites in 19th Century Literature

This course provides a literary and cultural prehistory to contemporary discourses on transgender identity by focusing on the figure of the hermaphrodite in 19th Russia and the West. Far from a marginal subject, the hermaphrodite and intersex characters played central roles in the novels of Balzac, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and many others whose work we will read in this course. Interdisciplinary in nature, this course draws on 19th century discourses in medicine, psychology, opera, religious philosophy, and political theory to understand why characters who exist outside of the male/female gender binary feature so prominently in 19th century literature and cultural texts across a wide range of traditions (Anglophone, French, and Russian, and others.)

Taught by: Wilson

Also Offered As: GSWS 115

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 123 Russia and Eastern Europe in International Affairs

Russia and the European Union (EU) are engaged in a battle for influence in Eastern Europe. EU foreign policy towards its Eastern neighbors is based on economic integration and the carrot of membership. With the application of this powerful incentive, Central and Southeastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia have progressed rapidly towards integration with the EU (and NATO). Yet, given Russia's opposition to the further enlargement, membership is off the table for the large semi-Western powers such as Russia itself and Turkey and the smaller countries inhabiting an emerging buffer zone between Russia and the EU, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus. These in-between countries find themselves subject to intense competition for influence between Eastern and Western powers. In this context, EU countries must balance their energy dependence on Russia and need for new markets and geopolitical stability with concern for human rights, democratic governance, and self-determination. What are the trade-offs implicit in the foreign policies of Russia, EU member states, and Eastern Europe? What are the best policy approaches? What are the main opportunities and obstacles?

For BA Students: Society Sector

Taught by: Orenstein

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: EEUR 152, PSCI 267

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 125 The Adultery Novel

The object of this course is to analyze narratives of adultery from Shakespeare to the present and to develop a vocabulary for thinking critically about the literary conventions and social values that inform them. Many of the themes (of desire, transgression, suspicion, discovery) at the heart of these stories also lie at the core of many modern narratives. Is there anything special, we will ask, about the case of adultery--once called "a crime which contains within itself all others"? What might these stories teach us about the way we read in general? By supplementing classic literary accounts by Shakespeare, Pushkin, Flaubert, Chekhov, and Proust with films and with critical analyses, we will analyze the possibilities and limitations of the different genres and forms under discussion, including novels, films, short stories, and theatre. What can these forms show us (or not show us)about desire, gender, family and social obligation? Through supplementary readings and class discussions, we will apply a range of critical approaches to place these narratives of adultery in a social and literary context, including formal analyses of narrative and style, feminist criticism, Marxist and sociological analyses of the family, and psychoanalytic understandings of desire and family life.

For BA Students: Arts and Letters Sector

Taught by: Platt

One-term course offered either term

Also Offered As: CIMS 125, COML 127, GSWS 125

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: All readings and lectures in English.

RUSS 134 Communism

The rise and fall of Communism dominated the history of the short twentieth century from the Russian revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. As a system of government, Communism is more or less dead, but its utopian ideals of liberation from exploitation and want live on. Communism remains the one political-economic system that presented, for a time, an alternative to global capitalism. In this course, students will gain an introduction to socialist and Communist political thought and explore Communist political and economic regimes their successes and failures, critics and dissidents, efforts at reform, and causes of collapse. We will learn about the remnants of Communism in China, North Korea, and Cuba and efforts of contemporary theorists to imagine a future for Communism.

For BA Students: Society Sector

Taught by: Orenstein

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: EEUR 153, PSCI 144

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 135 Cold War: A Global History

The Cold War was more than simply a military confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union; it was the frame within which the entire world developed (for better or worse) for nearly five decades. This course will examine the cold War as a global phenomenon, covering not only the military and diplomatic history of the period, but also examining the social and cultural impact of the superpower confrontation. We will cover the origins of the conflict, the interplay between periods of tension and detente, the relative significance of disagreements within the opposing blocs, and the relationship between the "center" of the conflict in the North Atlantic/European area and the global "periphery".

For BA Students: Humanities and Social Science S

Taught by: Nathans

Also Offered As: EEUR 135, HIST 135

Activity: Recitation

1 Course Unit

RUSS 136 Portraits of Russian Society: Art, Fiction, Drama

This course covers 19C Russian cultural and social history. Each week-long unit is organized around a single medium-length text (novella, play, memoir) which opens up a single scene of social historybirth, death, duel, courtship, tsar, and so on. Each of these main texts is accompanied by a set of supplementary materialspaintings, historical readings, cultural-analytical readings, excerpts from other literary works, etc. The object of the course is to understand the social codes and rituals that informed nineteenth-century Russian life, and to apply this knowledge in interpreting literary texts, other cultural objects, and even historical and social documents (letters, memoranda, etc.). We will attempt to understand social history and literary interpretation as separate disciplinesyet also as disciplines that can inform one another. In short: we will read the social history through the text, and read the text against the social history.

For BA Students: Humanities and Social Science S

Taught by: Platt

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: HIST 047

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

Notes: No prior language experience required.

RUSS 145 Masterpieces of 19th Century Russian Literature

A bronze monument to an all-powerful emperor comes to life and pursues a poor everyman through the streets, driving him to his death. A studious young man kills an old woman as a philosophical experiment. A young woman at the height of aristocratic society abandons her husband and young son to devote herself to her lover. These and other tales from the classics of nineteenth-century Russian literature will touch and delight you, get under your skin, and even attempt to show you how to live. We will read these tales in order to understand how books can become events in their own right, how Russian literature gained such power and prestige, and what it can still teach us today. Works will include Pushkin's The Bronze Horseman, Turgenev's Fathers and Children, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Khvoshchinskaya's City Folk and Country Folk, Chekhov's Cherry Orchard, and others.

For BA Students: Arts and Letters Sector

Taught by: Platt

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 149 Slavery, Serfdom, and Cultures of Bondage in the U.S. and Russia

During the Cold War, the United States and Russia were locked in an ideological battle, as capitalist and communist superpowers, over the question of private property. So how did these two countries approach the most important question regarding property that ever faced human civilization: how could governments justify the treatment of its subjects, people, as property? In 1862, Russia abolished serfdom, a form of human bondage that had existed in its territories since the 11th century. Just a year later, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring America's slaves "then, thenceforward, and forever free." What forces, both domestic and international, both political and cultural, influenced this near simultaneous awakening in which huge swaths of the Russian and U.S. populations were liberated? While scholars have often sought to compare slavery and serfdom as institutions, this course does not attempt to draw connections between the two. Rather, we will focus on how the slavery/anti-slavery and serfdom/anti-serfdom debates were framed in each respective country as well as how Russia used American slavery and the U.S. used Russian serfdom to shape their own domestic debates.

Taught by: Wilson

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: AFRC 148, COML 148

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 155 Masterpieces of 20th Century Russian Literature

Major Russian writers in English translation: Tolstoy, Chekhov, Pasternak, Babel, Solzhenitsyn, and others.

For BA Students: Arts and Letters Sector

Taught by: Steiner

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 159 POPULATION AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN EASTERN EUROPE

Since the collapse of communism in 1989 in Eastern Europe (and 1991 in the Soviet Union), many of the countries in the region have experienced public health crises and demographic catastrophe. Below replacement fertility rates and massive out migration have decimated the populations of these countries even as populations age and place unsustainable strains on pension systems and medical services. The demographic collapse has also been accompanied by falling male life expectancy and the rise of alcoholism, depression, domestic violence, and suicide. The economic exigencies of the transition from communism to capitalism dismantled welfare states at the exact moment when health services were most needed, leaving charities and nongovernmental organization to try to fill in the gaps. Through a combination of readings from the fields of epidemiology, demography, and medical anthropology, this course examines the public health implications of poverty and social dislocation in post-communist states. All readings and assignments are in English.

Taught by: GHODSEE

Also Offered As: ANTH 159, EEUR 159, SOCI 159

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 160 Sex and Socialism

This seminar examines classic and current scholarship and literature on gender and sexuality in contemporary Eastern Europe, and examines the dialogue and interchange of ideas between East and West. Although the scholarly and creative works will primarily investigate the changing status of women during the last three decades, the course will also look at changing constructions of masculinity and LGBT movements and communities in the former communist bloc. Topics will include: the woman question before 1989; gender and emerging nationalisms; visual representations in television and film; social movements; work; romance and intimacy; spirituality; and investigations into the constructed concepts of "freedom" and "human rights."

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: EEUR 160, GSWS 160

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 161 Communism & Woman Qstion

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: EEUR 161

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 164 Russian and East European Film from the October Revolution to World War II

The purpose of this course is to present the Russian and East European contribution to world cinema in terms of film theory, experimentation with the cinematic language, and social and political reflex. We discuss major themes and issues such as the invention of montage, the means of revolutionary visual propaganda and the cinematic component to the communist cultural revolutions, party ideology, and practices of social-engineering, cinematic response to the emergence of the totalitarian state in Soviet Russia before World War II.

Taught by: Todorov

Also Offered As: CIMS 164, EEUR 164

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 165 Russian and East European Film after World War II

The purpose of this course is to present the Russian and East European contribution to world cinema in terms of film theory, experimentation with the cinematic language, and social and political reflex. We discuss major themes and issues such as means of visual propaganda and the cinematic component to the communist cultural revolutions, party ideology and practices of social-engineering, cinematic response to the emergence of the totalitarian state in Russia and its subsequent installation in Eastern Europe after World War II.

Taught by: Todorov

Also Offered As: CIMS 165, EEUR 165

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 171 The Socialist City

This course will explore the ideology and politics of the socialist city in the Soviet Union, East Europe, and the Second World. We will focus on how design professionals, politicians, and residents realized utopian socialist values in the face of national design traditions, local politics, and limited resources. Beginning with the Soviet case, the course will consider how planners and architects addressed modernization, multi-family housing, and neighborhood units in new city plans. We will consider capitals, like Moscow, as well as less well-known regional centers that had strong local identities, such as Tashkent, Belgrade, and Prague. We will examine the state's use of public spaces for commemorations and preservationists' reinterpretation of existing historic sites. In addition, we will consider how everyday residents experienced the socialist city, such as multi-family housing, shopping centers, and subway systems. We will address how citizens circumvented official state channels to obtain state housing and illegally build homes for themselves, sometimes in a folk style. The course will center on Soviet and East European cities, but also address socialist cities in Cuba and Africa whose design was influenced by transnational exchanges. Most broadly, this course explores the question, what was the socialist city? How did its planners, architects, and politicians understand it, and what did they intend to construct? And, what resulted? In the past fifteen years, North American scholars have begun to take seriously the study of the socialist city, and this course draws on the emerging scholarship on this exciting, cross-disciplinary topic. How do scholars understand the socialist city today? We will examine the shared legacies that socialist cities across East Europe shared with their Western European counterparts, as well as the particularities of design that have sparked North American scholars' debates on what distinguished the socialist city from ones that emerged in a capitalist context. In our discussions, we will seek to understand how socialist design professionals understood their work and the emerging cities at the time, as well as how North American scholars view the socialist city today. Disciplinarily, the focus of the call will fall at the intersection of architectural history and politics.

Taught by: Aplenc

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: EEUR 171, URBS 171

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 187 Portraits of Soviet Society: Literature, Film, Drama

How can art and literature open a window on Russian lives lived over the course of the tumultuous twentieth century? This course adopts a unique approach to questions of cultural and social history. Each week-long unit is organized around a medium-length film, text or set of texts by some of the most important cultural figures of the era (novella, play, memoir, film, short stories) which opens up a single scene of social history: work, village, avant-garde, war, Gulag, and so on. Each cultural work is accompanied by a set of supplementary materials: historical readings, paintings, cultural-analytical readings, excerpts from other literary works, etc. We will read social history through culture and culture through history.

For BA Students: Humanities and Social Science S

Taught by: Platt

Course usually offered in spring term

Also Offered As: HIST 046

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

Notes: All readings and lectures in English

RUSS 189 Soviet and Post-Soviet Economy

The course will cover the development and operation of the Soviet centrally planned economy--one of the grandest social experiments of the 20th century. We will review the mechanisms of plan creation, the push for the collectivization and further development of Soviet agriculture, the role of the Soviet educational system and the performance of labor markets (including forced labor camps--GULags). We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet system and the causes of its collapse. Privatization, called by some "piratization," will be one of the central issues in our consideration of the transition from central planning to a market economy in the early 1990s. Even though our main focus will be on the Soviet economy and post-Soviet transition, we will occasionally look back in time to the tsarist era and even further back to find evidence to help explain Soviet/Russian economic development.

Taught by: Vekker

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 191 Putin's Russia: Culture, Society and History

Winston Churchill famously said that Russia "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Strikingly, today many informed Russians would agree: no one can provide definitive answers concerning what has driven Russian public life and politics over the past three years, as it ricochetted from the mass protests of 2011 and 2012, into the Pussy Riot scandal, then the Olympics, and most recently to the intense patriotism driving the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine. In this course we will examine how Russians themselves communicate about and represent Russia and what this reveals about this complex society and its development. We will consider print journalism, novels, films, televised media, and the internetpaying close attention both to particular representations and to social institutions for their production, dissemination and consumption. Topics of special concern will include: conspiracy theories, representations of Russian history, collective identity and patriotism, intellectuals and elites, gender and sexuality, consumption and wealth. Putins Russia is an introductory level course for which no prior knowledge Russian history, culture or society is required. All readings and screenings will be in English.

For BA Students: Society Sector

Taught by: Platt

Course not offered every year

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

Notes: No prior knowledge of Russian is required.

RUSS 193 War and Representation

This class will explore complications of representing war in the 20th and 21st centuries. War poses problems of perception, knowledge, and language. The notional "fog of war" describes a disturbing discrepancy between agents and actions of war; the extreme nature of the violence of warfare tests the limits of cognition, emotion, and memory; war's traditional dependence on declaration is often warped by language games--"police action," "military intervention," "nation-building," or palpably unnamed and unacknowledged state violence. Faced with the radical uncertainty that forms of war bring, modern and contemporary authors have experimented in historically, geographically, experientially and artistically particular ways, forcing us to reconsider even seemingly basic definitions of what a war story can be. Where does a war narrative happen? On the battlefield, in the internment camp, in the suburbs, in the ocean, in the ruins of cities, in the bloodstream? Who narrates war? Soldiers, refugees, gossips, economists, witnesses, bureaucrats, survivors, children, journalists, descendants and inheritors of trauma, historians, those who were never there? How does literature respond to the rise of terrorist or ideology war, the philosophical and material consequences of biological and cyber wars, the role of the nuclear state? How does the problem of war and representation disturb the difference between fiction and non-fiction? How do utilitarian practices of representation--propaganda, nationalist messaging, memorialization, xenophobic depiction--affect the approaches we use to study art? Finally, is it possible to read a narrative barely touched or merely contextualized by war and attend to the question of war's shaping influence? The class will concentrate on literary objects--short stories, and graphic novels--as well as film and television. Students of every level and major are welcome in and encouraged to join this class, regardless of literary experience.

For BA Students: Humanities and Social Science S

Taught by: Fischler

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 150, ENGL 085, HIST 149

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 196 Russian Short Story

This course studies the development of 19th and 20th-century Russian literature through one of its most distinct and highly recognized genres -- the short story. The readings include great masters of fiction such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, and others. The course presents the best works of short fiction situating them in a larger cultural-political context. The students learn about the historical formation, poetic virtue, and thematic characteristics of major narrative modes such as sentimentalism, romanticism, utopia, realism, modernism, and socialist realism. We study literary devices, styles, and trends of storytelling such as irony, absurd, satire, grotesque, anecdote, etc. Main topics include culture of the duel; the role of chance; the riddle of death; anatomy of madness; imprisonment and survival.

Taught by: Todorov

Course not offered every year

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 197 Madness and Madmen in Russian Culture

Is "insanity" today the same thing as "madness" of old? Who gets to define what it means to be "sane," and why? Are the causes of madness biological or social? In this course, we will grapple with these and similar questions while exploring Russia's fascinating history of madness as a means to maintain, critique, or subvert the status quo. We will consider the concept of madness in Russian culture beginning with its earliest folkloric roots and trace its depiction and function in the figure of the Russian "holy fool," in classical literature, and in contemporary film. Readings will include works by many Russian greats, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov and Nabokov.

For BA Students: Humanities and Social Science S

Taught by: Peeney

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 197

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 201 Dostoevsky and His Legacy

This course explores the ways Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) portrays the "inner world(s)" of his characters. Dostoevsky's psychological method will be considered against the historical, ideological, and literary contexts of middle to late nineteenth-century Russia. The course consists of three parts External World (the contexts of Dostoevsky), "Inside" Dostoevsky's World (the author's technique and ideas) and The World of Text (close reading of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov). Students will write three essays on various aspects of Dostoevsky's "spiritual realism."

Also Offered As: COML 207

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 202 Tolstoy

Few authors have ever been able to combine their moral and artistic visions as closely as Tolstoy. Over the course of the semester, we will plot how Tolstoy's ethical concerns changed over the course of his life and how this was reflected in works, which include some of the greatest prose ever written. We will begin by surveying the majestic and far-reaching world of his novels and end with some of Tolstoy's short later works that correspond with the ascent of "Tolstoyism" as virtually its own religion.

Taught by: Todorov

Also Offered As: COML 204

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Ben Franklin Seminar

RUSS 213 Saints and Devils in Russian Literature and Tradition

This course is about Russian literary imagination, which is populated with saints and devils, believers and religious rebels, holy men and sinners. In Russia, where people's frame of mind had been formed by a mix of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and earlier pagan beliefs, the quest for faith, spirituality, and the meaning of life has invariably been connected with religious matters. How can one find the right path in life? Is humility the way to salvation? Should one live for God or for the people? Does God even exist? In "Saints and Devils" we read works of great masters of Russian literature and learn about the historic trends that have filled Russia's national character with religious and mystical spirit. We start with old Russian fanciful stories and legends of crafty demons and all-forbearing saints. The master of fantastic writing, Nikolai Gogol, will teach us how to triumph over the devil. Together with Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy, we contemplate an ambivalent cultural image of woman as a victim or a sinful agent of the devil. Immersed in the world of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, we follow the characters in their search for truth, faith, and love. In The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov will tell us his fantastic and devilish story of Pontius Pilate and we will see for ourselves that "A man will receive his deserts in accordance with his beliefs."

For BA Students: Arts and Letters Sector

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 213, RELS 218

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 217 Russian Politics

This course will present an in-depth examination of political, economic and social change in post-Soviet Russia within a historical context. After a brief discussion of contemporary problems in Russia, the first half of the course will delve into the rise of communism in 1917, the evolution of the Soviet regime, and the tensions between ideology and practice over the seventy years of communist rule up until 1985. The second part of the course will begin with an examination of the Gorbachev period and the competing interpretations of how the events between 1985 and 1991 may have contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will then proceed to make sense of the continuities and changes in politics, economics and society in contemporary Russia. Important topics will include the confrontations accompanying the adoption of a new constitution, the emergence of competing ideologies and parties, the struggle over economic privatization, the question of federalism and nationalism, social and political implicatons of economic reform, and prospects for Russia's future in the Putin and post-Putin era.

Course usually offered in spring term

Also Offered As: PSCI 217

Activity: Recitation

1 Course Unit

RUSS 220 Russia and the West

This course will explore the representations of the West in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century Russian literature and philosophy. We will consider the Russian visions of various events and aspects of Western political and social life Revolutions, educational system, public executions, resorts, etc. within the context of Russian intellectual history. We will examine how images of the West reflect Russia's own cultural concerns, anticipations, and biases, as well as aesthetic preoccupations and interests of Russian writers. The discussion will include literary works by Karamzin, Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Leskov, and Tolstoy, as well as non-fictional documents, such as travelers' letters, diaries, and historiosophical treatises of Russian Freemasons, Romantic and Positivist thinkers, and Russian social philosophers of the late Nineteenth century. A basic knowledge of nineteenth-century European history is desirable. The class will consist of lectures, discussion, short writing assignments, and two in-class tests.

For BA Students: Humanities and Social Science S

Also Offered As: COML 220, HIST 220

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: From the Other Shore: Russia and the West

RUSS 222 Imagining Asia: Russia and the East

This course examines the important role of the East in Russian literature and nationalism. Focusing specifically on the Caucasus, Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey, this course will analyze how Russian writers connected the East to Russian identity, and how their approaches implicate different artistic periods (Romanticism, Realism, Socialist Realism, Post-Modernism) and different political atmospheres (Tsarist Russia, Soviet Union, Post-Soviet). Students will also ascertain how Russian literature on the East has affected and influenced literature and political movements produced in the East. In particular, students will analyze how Soviet Central Asian writers, Iranian Socialists, and contemporary Turkish writers were influenced by Russian literature and Soviet ideology. Ultimately, this course examines the impact of Russias cultural and political history in 20th century Central Asia and the Middle East. Readings will include works by: Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Platonov, Chingiz Aitmatov, Sadek Hedayat, Orhan Pamuk, and others.

Also Offered As: COML 217, NELC 222

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 234 Medieval Russia: Origins of Russian Cultural Identity

This course offers an overview of the cultural history of Rus from its origins to the eighteenth century, a period which laid the foundation for the Russian Empire. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the evolution of the main cultural paradigms of Russian Orthodoxy viewed in a broader European context. Although this course is historical in content, it is also about modern Russia. The legacy of Medieval Rus is still referenced, often allegorically, in contemporary social and cultural discourse as the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian societies attempt to reconstruct and reinterpret their histories. In this course, students learn that the study of the medieval cultural and political history explains many aspects of modern Russian society, its culture and mentality.

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 235, HIST 219, SLAV 517

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 240 Napoleonic Era and Tolstoy

In this course we will read what many consider to be the greatest book in world literature. This work, Tolstoy's War and Peace, is devoted to one of the most momentous periods in world history, the Napoleonic Era (1789-1815). We will study both the novel and the era of the Napoleonic Wars: the military campaigns of Napoleon and his opponents, the grand strategies of the age, political intrigues and diplomatic betrayals, the ideologies and human dramas, the relationship between art and history. How does literature help us to understand this era? How does history help us to understand this great novel? Because we will read War and Peace over the course of the entire semester, readings will be manageable (circa 100 pages of the epic and 50 pages of additional reading per week) and very enjoyable.

Taught by: Holquist

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 236, HIST 333

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

Notes: All readings and lectures in English.

RUSS 250 Tarkovsky's Passions

Andrei Tarkovsky is universally acknowledged to be the greatest Soviet filmmaker of the last half of the twentieth century. In Kurosawas assessment following Tarkovskys death in the late 1980s, he had no equal among film directors alive now. In Ingmar Bergmans words, Tarkovskys work was a miracle. His films are beautiful, intellectually challenging, and spiritually profound. They range from Ivans Childhood, an exploration of wartime experience through the eyes of a child; to Solaris, a philosophical essay in the form of a science-fiction thriller; to Andrei Rublev, an investigation of the power of art and spirituality. In this course, we will study Tarkovskys films and life, with attention both to his formal and artistic accomplishments, his thought and writings concerning art and film, and the cultural and political contexts of his work.

Taught by: Platt

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: CIMS 250

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 261 Russian Thinkers

This class focuses on the complex relations between philosophy, history, and art in Russia and offers discussions of works of major Russian authors (such as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Khlebnikov), religious and political thinkers (Chaadaev, Herzen, Berdiaev, Lenin, Bogdanov), avant-garde artists (Filonov, Malevich), and composers (Skriabin) who created and tested in their lives their own, sometimes very peculiar and radical, worldviews. We will consider these worldviews against a broad cultural background and will reenact them in class in the form of philosophical mini-dramas. The only prerequisite for this course is intellectual curiosity and willingness to embrace diverse, brave and often very weird ideas.

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 255

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 275 Russian History in Film

This course draws on fictional, dramatic and cinematic representations of Russian history based on Russian as well as non-Russian sources and interpretations. The analysis targets major modes of imagining, such as narrating, showing and reenacting historical events, personae and epochs justified by different, historically mutating ideological postulates and forms of national self-consciousness. Common stereotypes of picturing Russia from "foreign" perspectives draw special attention. The discussion involves the following themes and outstanding figures: the mighty autocrats Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great; the tragic ruler Boris Godunov; the brazen rebel and royal impostor Pugachev; the notorious Rasputin, his uncanny powers, sex-appeal, and court machinations; Lenin and the October Revolution; images of war; times of construction and times of collapse of the Soviet Colossus.

Taught by: Todorov

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: CIMS 275

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 299 Independent Study

One-term course offered either term

Activity: Independent Study

1 Course Unit

RUSS 311 Advanced Russian Conversation and Composition I

This course develops students' skills in speaking and writing about topics in Russian literature, contemporary society, politics, and everyday life. Topics include women, work and family; sexuality; the economic situation; environmental problems; and life values. Materials include selected short stories by 19th and 20th century Russian authors, video-clips of interviews, excerpts from films, and articles from the Russian media. Continued work on grammar and vocabulary building.

For BA Students: Advanced Language Course

Course usually offered in fall term

Also Offered As: RUSS 511

Prerequisites: RUSS 004 or placement exam.

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 312 Advanced Russian Conversation and Composition II

Primary emphasis on speaking, writing, and listening. Development of advanced conversational skills needed to carry a discussion or to deliver a complex narrative. This course will be based on a wide variety of topics from everyday life to the discussion of political and cultural events. Russian culture and history surveyed briefly. Materials include Russian TV broadcast, newspapers, Internet, selected short stories by contemporary Russian writers. Offered each spring.

For BA Students: Advanced Language Course

Course usually offered in spring term

Also Offered As: RUSS 512

Prerequisite: RUSS 311 or placement exam

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 360 Russian for Heritage Speakers I

This course is intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and seek to achieve proficiency in the language. Topics will include an intensive introduction to the Russian writing system and grammar, focusing on exciting materials and examples drawn from classic and contemporary Russian culture and social life. Students who complete this course in combination with RUSS361 satisfy the Penn Language Requirement.

Taught by: Nazyrova

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

Notes: Previous language experience required

RUSS 361 Russian for Heritage Speakers II

This course is a continuation of RUSS360. In some cases, students who did not take RUSS360 but have basic reading and writing skills may be permitted to enroll with the instructor's permission. Students who complete RUSS361 with a passing grade will satisfy the Penn Language Requirement.

For BA Students: Last Language Course

Taught by: Nazyrova

Course usually offered in spring term

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: Russian 360 or at least three and no more than six years of Russian formal schooling, or instructor's permission.

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

RUSS 399 Supervised Work

Hours and credits on an individual basis.

One-term course offered either term

Activity: Independent Study

1 Course Unit

RUSS 408 Reading Russian History

The course explores defining episodes, concepts, and figures in Russian history, from the earliest time to the present day, and their reception in today's scholarship and society. Students learn about Russian historical heritage through the reading of primary sources and analytical essays, as well as examining how this history is used in the present socio-political and ideological discourse. Work on language focuses on matters of style, sentence structure, and vocabulary building.

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Course not offered every year

Prerequisite: RUSS312 or placement exam

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 410 Russian Folk and Literary Tale

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian. It focuses on the language, style, and narrative techniques of Russian tales. Course materials include written, animated, and cinematic versions of folk fairy tales, epic songs, and literary tales by major Russian authors, such as Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, and Leo Tolstoy. The course aims to improve students' knowledge of idiomatic language and to expand their knowledge of Russian popular culture.

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: Russian 312 or placement exam.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian.

RUSS 412 Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature and Culture: Romantics and Realists

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian, and combines advanced study of the Russian language with an examination of the fundamental literary movements and figures of nineteenth-century Russian literature and culture. Course materials include prosaic and poetic texts by Pushkin, Gogol', Lermontov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, as well as films and art. Language work will be devoted to writing, syntactical and stylistic analysis, vocabulary, academic speech, and listening comprehension.

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: Russian 312 or placement exam.

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian.

RUSS 413 Twentieth-Century Russian Literature, Film and Culture: Utopia, Revolution and Dissent

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian, and introduces students to major movements and figures of twentieth-century Russian literature and culture. We will read the works of modern Russian writers, and watch and discuss feature films. The course will introduce the first Soviet films and works of the poets of the Silver Age and beginning of the Soviet era as well as the works from later periods up to the Perestroika and Glasnost periods (the late 1980s).

Taught by: Bourlatskaya

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: Russian 312 or placement exam.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian.

RUSS 416 Business and Democracy in the New Russia

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian, and is designed to familiarize students with contemporary Russian society, its historical background and its present political and economic structure, and to develop functional proficiency in speaking, writing, reading and listening. The course will focus on a variety of issues central to Russian society since the fall of the Soviet Union, including changing values, political parties and movements, the business climate and businessmen, various nationalities within Russia, women in the family and at work. Course materials will include interviews, articles, essays by leading Russian journalists and statesmen, and contemporary Russian movies.

Taught by: Bourlatskaya

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: RUSS 312 or placement exam.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian.

RUSS 419 Russian Song and Folklore

This course offers a general introduction to the history of Russian folklore, song and musical culture. Students will explore the history of song in Russia and various song genres including folk songs, gangster songs, cabaret, war songs, Soviet ideological songs, and Russian rock and pop music. We will discuss ritual functioning of songs in Russian calendar rites, examine the aesthetic properties of song lyrics and music, and analyze the educational, community-building and ideological roles of song in Russian society.

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: Russian 312 or placement exam.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian.

RUSS 420 Contemporary Russia Through Film

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian and offers intensive study of Russian film, arguably the most powerful medium for reflecting changes in modern society. This course will examine Russia's transition to democracy and market economy through the eyes of its most creative and controversial cinematographers. The course will focus on the often agonizing process of changing values and attitudes as the country moves from Soviet to Post-Soviet society. Russian films with English subtitles will be supplemented by readings from contemporary Russian media sources. The course provides an excellent visual introduction to the problems of contemporary Russia society.

Taught by: Bourlatskaya

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: Russian 312 or placement exam.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian

RUSS 421 The Life and Art of Anton Chekhov

This course continues to develop students' advanced skills in Russian. Language work will be combined with an examination of the life and creative work of one of Russia's greatest writers, Anton Chekhov. Chekhov's prose and drama will be analyzed using the political, social and literary currents of his time as the background. This course will introduce students to the literary technique, poetics, and deeply humane worldview of Chekhov. Course materials will include short stories and drama, as well as some background readings. The advanced study of Russian language will have an emphasis on improving pronunciation, significantly expanding the vocabulary, mastering complicated grammatical and syntactic structures, and learning the basic conventions of academic discourse. As part of this course, students will be asked to write short response papers and some pieces of creative writing. Students will also produce a short film and stage a scene from a play. All class discussions and primary sources will be in Russian. Some secondary readings will be in English.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian

RUSS 426 Chekhov: Stage & Screen

Whats so funny, Mr. Chekhov? This question is often asked by critics and directors who still are puzzled with Chekhovs definition of his four major plays as comedies. Traditionally, all of them are staged and directed as dramas, melodramas, or tragedies. Should we cry or should we laugh at Chekhovian characters who commit suicide, or are killed, or simply cannot move to a better place of living? Is the laughable synonymous to comedy and the comic? Should any fatal outcome be considered tragic? All these and other questions will be discussed during the course. The course is intended to provide the participants with a concept of dramatic genre that will assist them in approaching Chekhovs plays as comedies. In addition to reading Chekhovs works, Russian and western productions and film adaptations of Chekhovs works will be screened. Among them are, Vanya on 42nd Street with Andre Gregory, and Four Funny Families. Those who are interested will be welcome to perform and/or direct excerpts from Chekhovs works.

Taught by: Zubarev

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: CIMS 365

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Forms a part of the LPS Masters in Liberal Arts Program.

RUSS 430 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Film

This course studies the cinematic representation of civil wars, ethnic conflicts, nationalistic doctrines, and genocidal policies. The focus is on the violent developments that took place in Russia and on the Balkans after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and were conditioned by the new geopolitical dynamics that the fall of communism had already created. We study media broadcasts, documentaries, feature films representing the Eastern, as well as the Western perspective. The films include masterpieces such as "Time of the Gypsies", "Underground", "Prisoner of the Mountains", "Before the Rain", "Behind Enemy Lines", and others.

Taught by: Todorov

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: CIMS 430, EEUR 430

Activity: Online Course

1 Course Unit

Notes: Forms a part of the LPS Masters in Liberal Arts Program.

RUSS 432 Fate and Chance in Literature and Culture

In Fate and Chance in Literature and Culture, we will explore these two interrelated concepts in comparative perspective over a broad historical range. As a result, the students will learn how the philosophy of fate and chance has been reflected in works of different Russian authors and in different cultural and political environments. In Russian as well as western systems of belief fate and chance represent two extreme visions of the universal order, or, perhaps, two diametrically opposed cosmic forces: complete determinism, on the one hand, and complete chaos or unpredictability, on the other. These visions have been greatly reflected by various mythopoetic systems. In this course, we will investigate religious and folkloric sources from a series of Russian traditions compared to other Indo-European traditions (Greek, East-European). Readings will include The Song of Prince Igor's Campaign, The Gambler by Dostoevsky, The Queen of Spades by Pushkin, Vij by Gogol, The Black Monk by Chekhov, The Fatal Eggs by Bulgakov, and more.

Taught by: Zubarev

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: CIMS 432, COML 196

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Forms a part of the LPS Masters in Liberal Arts Program.

RUSS 455 The Living & the Dead: The Great Patriotic War in Russ Cultural Imagination

This course is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, 1941-45. Students will explore the cultural myth of the war, created in the 1960-80s. The materials will include literary texts, documentaries, photographs, and films. We will focus on three major themes of this myth: 1. moral strength and courage;2.respect for Russia's military past; and 3. the rise of national consciousness.

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: RUSS361 or comparable language experience.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 463 Fantasy, Science Fiction and Fantastic Imagination in Russian Culture

Explores masterpieces of Russian fantastic imagination from folklore and 19th century classics to 20th and 21st century dystopia, magic realism and science fiction. Readings include works by Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Bulgakov, the Strugatsky brothers, and Victor Pelevin. Discussions focus on 1) the philosophical quest of Russian fantastic authors and their ideas about humanity, the meaning of existence, and human relationship with nature; 2) the texture of fantasy, including the absurd and surreal, the grotesque humor, and macabre irony.

Taught by: Nazyrova

Course not offered every year

Prerequisite: RUSS361 or comparable language competence

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: All lectures and readings in Russian

RUSS 464 Russian Humor

One of the most fascinating and most difficult things for a student of foreign culture is to understand national humor, as it is presented in various stories and films, jokes and shows. To an extent, humor is a gateway to national mentality. In the present course we will examine Russian cultural history, from the sixteenth through the twenty-first centuries, through the vehicle of Russian humor. How does Russian humor depend on religion and history? What was considered funny in various cultural trends? What are the peculiarities of Russian humorist tradition? Students will be familiarized with different Russian theories of humor (Bakhtin, Likhachev, Panchenko, Tynianov, etc.) and, of course, with a variety of works by Russian kings of humor Pushkin and Gogol, Chekhov and Zoshchenko, Bulgakov and Ilf and Petrov, Erofeev and Kibirov, etc. Class lectures will be supplemented by frequent video and musical presentations ranging from contemporary cartoons to high comedies and from comic songs (Chaliapins The Flea) to the music of Shostakovich (The Nose). This course is intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and seek to improve their capabilities in formal and professional uses of the Russian language.

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: RUSS361 or comparable language competence.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian.

RUSS 466 Russian Revolution

This course is a content-based course intended for students who speak Russian at home and seek to improve their command of formal and professional registers of the Russian language. Paying tribute to the centennial of the Russian Revolution, the course examines the sociopolitical milestone of the 20th century through the works of literature, art, music, film, and material culture that both refracted the revolutionary situation and responded to the revolutionary change. The course's primary sources include works of Russian symbolist poets (e.g. Blok) and realist writers (e.g. Korolenko, Chekhov, Gorky, Andrei Platonov), the music of modernist composers, Soviet montage films, and the Soviet architecture of the International Style. The specific attention will be on the relationship between sociopolitical transformation and the raise of avant-garde movements in visual arts and poetry known as the artistic revolution (e.g. Khlebnikov, Maiakovskii, Kandinskii, Goncharova, Malevich, Chagall).

Taught by: Nazyrova

Course not offered every year

Prerequisite: RUSS361 or equivalent proficiency

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 467 Classic Russian Literature Today

This course is intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and seek to improve their capabilities in formal and professional uses of the Russian language. A study of classic Russian literature in the original. Readings will consist of some of the greatest works of 19th and 20th-century authors, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Bulgakov. Students will examine various forms and genres of literature, learn basic techniques of literary criticism, and explore the way literature is translated into film and other media. An additional focus of the course will be on examining the uses and interpretations of classic literature and elitist culture in contemporary Russian society. Observing the interplay of the "high" and "low" in Russian cultural tradition, students will develop methodology of cultural analysis.

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: RUSS361 or comparable language competence.

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

Notes: Conducted in Russian.

RUSS 471 Moscow: Cultural History

This course is intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and seek to improve their capabilities in formal and professional uses of the Russian language. An extraordinary diverse city, Moscow has acquired a number of names, referring both to its size and role in the national history: The Third Rome, The Whitestone One, The First Throne, The Forty Forties, The Hero City, and even The Big Village. In this course, students will examine the cultural history of the great city from 1147 to the present. The "itinerary" for this imaginary trip will include the Kremlin and the banyas, Saint Basil's Cathedral and the Bolshoi Theater, the Ostankino Tower and the underground palaces of the Metro, the workers' canteen and the dining rooms of the posh restaurants, etc. The course discussions will be centered on literary texts, travelers' accounts, films, and works of art and architecture.

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: RUSS361 or comparable language competence.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 474 Anton Chekhov: Love and Death in Russian Culture

Taught by: NAZYROVA

Prerequisite: RUSS361 or comparable language competence

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 485 Russian Poetics

Introduction to the analysis of poetic texts, based on the works of Batyushkov, Lermontov, Tyutchev, Fet, Mandelshtam, and others.

Taught by: Steiner

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: RUSS361 or comparable language competence.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

Notes: This course is open to all advanced students of Russian (including students who speak Russian at home).

RUSS 508 Advanced Russian for Business

This advanced language course focuses on developing effective oral and written communication skills for working in a Russian-speaking business environment. Students will discuss major aspects of Russian business today and learn about various Russian companies using material from the current Russian business press. In addition, students will be engaged in a number of creative projects, such as business negotiation simulations, and simulation of creating a company in Russia.

For BA Students: Advanced Language Course

Taught by: Bourlatskaya

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: At least one RUSS400-level course or comparable language competence.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 518 Old Church Slavonic: History, Language, Manuscripts

The language that we know today as Old Church Slavonic (OCS) was invented, along with the Slavic alphabet(s), in the 9th century by two Greek scholars, Sts. Cyril and Methodius. They had been tasked by the Byzantine Emperor with bringing the Christian faith to the Slavic-speaking people of Great Moravia, a powerful medieval state in Central Europe. From there, literacy, along with the Christian faith, spread to other Slavs. OCS is thus the language of the oldest written texts of the Slavic-speaking world, which today is comprised of the following languages: Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Russian, Polish, Slovak, Serbian, Slovene, and Ukrainian. Therefore, knowledge of OCS aids in understanding the cultural, literary, and linguistic history of any modern Slavic language. For learners of Russian and other Slavic languages, OCS provides a layer of elevated stylistic vocabulary and conceptual terminology, similar to, and even greater than, the role of Latin and Greek roots in the English language. For historical linguists, OCS provides valuable material for comparison with other ancient Indo-European languages, such as Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit. This course introduces students to the basics of OCS, as well as to the cultural and historical circumstances of the emergence of Slavic literacy and its material culture - manuscripts. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 518

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 519 History of Russian Literary Language and Culture

This course examines the linguistic, literary, and social history of the Russian language from the medieval period to the modern day. Course topics include: the creation of the Slavic alphabets and the first literary language of the Slavs, Old Church Slavonic; the beginnings and development of writing and literacy in Old Russia; the evolution of the Russian literary language, its styles, and registers; grammatical categories of Russian; features of Russian lexicography; the social history and politics of language use; analysis of texts. Taught in Russian; readings in Russian & English; advanced language proficiency required.

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Course not offered every year

Prerequisites: Any RUSS 400 level course or comparable proficiency.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 545 Russian Dead Poets Society

This course, designed for the lovers of poetry, will focus on close readings of the works of marvelous Russian poets from the 18th to the 20th c. These poems will be read against a broad historical and cultural background. Our goal will be to "resurrect" the distinct voice of each poet as a part of a cultural myth of Russian poetry. The list of dead poets to be summoned includes a number of major names, such as Gavriil Derzhavin, Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Alexander Blok, Osip Mandelshtam, and Iosif Brodsky, as well as a "short list" of minor, yet very representative and provocative, authors such as the notorious "pornographic" poet Ivan Barkov and a "ghost poet" Kozma Prutkov.

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 545

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 549 Stalinist Culture

In the Soviet Union in the late 1920s the dynamic cultural life of the revolutionary era, characterized by avant-gardism, experimentation, and diversity, gave way to a new organization of Soviet cultural life-one dominated by the newly formulated official style of "Socialist Realism" and bureaucratic institutions such as the Soviet Writers Union. In this course we will study the conditions that gave rise to this new era, its institutional realities, and masterworks in film, photography and literature of official art, including those by Kavelin, Pasternak and Eisenstein. We will also examine the social phenomena of cultural resistance and non-conformism of this period and its works written "for the drawer" or for non-official consumption, such as those of Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Bulgakov, Kharms and Druskin.

Taught by: Platt/Staff

Course not offered every year

Also Offered As: COML 550

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 575 Russian History in Film

The course draws on the cinematic/fictional representation of the Russian/Soviet history based on Russian as well as non-Russian sources. The analysis targets major modes of imagining, staging and reenacting history, construction of images that satisfy dominant political, cultural and ideological stereotypes, and help create national identities. Bias, eye-witness accounts, propaganda uses and abuses of history, forgeries and the production of alt-facts become topics of particular interest. The discussions involve nation builders, iconic heroes and charismatic antiheroes, great commanders and revolutionaries such as Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, Rasputin and the Fall of the Romanovs, Lenin and the October Revolution, Stalin and the construction of the Soviet Colossus, the Storming of the Winter Palace, the Civil War, the Great Purge, the Red Scare in the US, etc.

Taught by: TODOROV

Also Offered As: CIMS 575

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

RUSS 618 Cultural History of Medieval Rus' (800-1700)

Taught by: Verkholantsev

Also Offered As: COML 621, HIST 620

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit