Russian Studies Department

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units beyond introductory language; including Russian Studies 331/332 or equivalent, Russian Studies 135/235, 152/252, plus 3 units in literature or culture at the 300-level.

Senior-Year Requirements: 2 units of advanced course work. Senior thesis (Russian Studies 300) is required of students who are candidates for departmental honors.

Recommendations: Study of the language is best started in the freshman year. Study Away in Russian through the Vassar Program in St. Petersburg is strongly recommended.

Advisers: The department.

Correlate Sequence in Russian Studies: Four semesters of the Russian language (or equivalent) and three additional units in culture, literature and/or language, one of which must be at the 300-level. Entering students with advanced proficiency in Russian are required to take five units in literature and/or culture, at least two of which are at the 300-level.

I. Introductory

105. Elementary Russian (1.5)

The essentials of grammar with emphasis on the development of oral-aural proficiency. The department.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to all classes.

Five 50-minute periods plus two hours of oral practice.

106. Elementary Russian (1.5)

The essentials of grammar with emphasis on the development of oral-aural proficiency. The department.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to all classes.

Five 50-minute periods plus two hours of oral practice.

107. Intensive Introductory Russian (2)

Single-semester equivalent of Russian 105-106. Intensive training in fundamental language skills. Designed for beginning students who wish to accelerate their learning of Russian. The department.

Open to all classes.

Five 75-minute periods, plus four 30-minute drill and conversation sessions.

131. Russian Screen and Stage (in English) (1)

Aspects of Russian film, drama, and performing arts.

Open to all classes. Readings and lectures in English. Russian majors see Russian Studies 231b.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered 2011-12.

135. The Russian Classics: The Great Realists of the Nineteenth Century (in English) (1)

The great tradition of Russian literature with its emphasis on ultimate existential and moral questions. Selected works by such nineteenth-century masters as Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. Mr. Firtich.

Open to all classes. Readings and lectures in English. Russian majors see Russian Studies 235a.

Two 75-minute periods.

141. Tolstoy in Battle (in English) (1)

The representation of war in Tolstoy's fiction, centered on a detailed analysis of War and Peace, with this classic novel considered in the context of the writer's earlier and later war narratives, including Sebastopol Tales and "Hadji Murat." Tolstoy is also viewed as a "combatant" in the sense of one who tirelessly challenged accepted notions in aesthetics, ethics, religion, philosophy, history, and politics. Mr. Firtich.

All readings and discussions in English.

Open to all classes.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered 2011-12.

142. Dostoevsky and Psychology (in English) (1)

Fyodor Dostoevsky was an avid student of the human mind, with particular interest in aberrant and self-destructive behavior. He was steeped in the medical literature of his day, and drew on this knowledge as well as on his four-year-long prison experience to endow his characters with fascinating psychological depth. And after Dostoevsky's death, his works have been cited by Freud and some other psychologists to support theories of their own. This course focuses on a number of works in which Dostoevsky's depiction of psychological issues is particularly crucial to the central message he attempts to convey. Readings include three of the major novels (Crime and Punishment, The Devils, and The Brothers Karamazov) as well as a number of Dostoevsky's shorter works. A detailed examination of the texts is accompanied by a discussion of the nineteenth century psychological literature which was admired by Dostoevsky, as well as that which was later produced under his influence. Mr. Klimoff.

All readings and discussion in English.

Two 75-minute periods plus a 50-minute discussion session.

152. The Russian Modernists (in English) (1)

Outstanding works of major twentieth-century Russian writers, with emphasis on those who broke with the realist tradition of the nineteenth century. Mr. Ungurianu.

Open to all classes. Readings and lectures in English. Russian majors see 252b.

Two 75-minute periods.

165. From Fairy-Tales to Revolution: Russian Culture through the End of Imperial Period (in English) (1)

A survey of the most striking features of the prerevolutionary cultural tradition within a historical framework. Topics explored include folklore, the religious world of medieval Russia with special emphasis on art and architecture the challenges of Westernization, and the emergence of national traditions in literature, art, and music, Russian historiosophy, ideology of radicalism and the revolutionary movement. Mr. Ungurianu.

Open to all classes. All readings and discussion in English.

Two 75-minute periods plus occasional film screenings.

Not offered in 2011/12.

169. The Great Utopia: Ideals and Realities of the Russian Revolution (in English) (1)

The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing "Soviet Experiment" had major implications for the global political and ideological landscape of the twentieth century. The revolutionary era also saw an explosive proliferation of bold futuristic visions and utopian projects. The course explores reflections of the Revolution in literature, theatre, film, painting and other arts against a broad historical background. Topics include apocalyptic premonitions of the fin-de-siècle, Russian Cosmism and dreams of earthly immortality, competition among revolutionary ideologies, the art of avant-garde, Agitprop and Proletkult, Constructivism, Socialist Realism, the creation of the New Man, Stalin's "Empire Style" and return of traditionalism, and a new – and final – wave of revolutionary aspirations during Khrushchev's "Thaw." Mr. Ungurianu.

Open to all classes. All readings and discussions are in English.

Two 75-minute periods, plus occasional film screenings.

Not offered in 2011/12.

171. Russia and the Short Story (in English) (1)

In this course we read and discuss a number of classic short stories by such Russian masters of the genre as Gogol, Turgenev, Chekhov, Babel, and Olesha. Mr. Klimoff.

Satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

173. Focus on Literature (in English) (1)

Aspects of the Russian literary tradition—including authors, genres, and thematic emphases—and the place of this tradition in world literature.

Topic for 2011-12a: Nabokov Before "Lolita": The Making of a Genius in the Era of Jazz and Surrealism (in English). This course considers the novels and short stories of Vladimir Nabokov written during the 1920s and 1930s in a broad cultural context of the period. Nabokov became an international celebrity with the publication of "Lolita"(1955). The scandal and sensationalism aside, the book earned him the reputation as one of the most accomplished stylists in the English language. But in the decades before producing "Lolita,", Nabokov had had a brilliant literary career as a Russian emigre writer in Europe. This course approaches Nabokov's pre-Lolita works through a comparisons with the writings of Franz Kafka, Konstantin Vaginov, Evelyn Waugh, Nathaniel West, and certain Surrealists. The goal of the course is to understand the cultural atmosphere that helped shape Nabokov as we know him. Mr. Firtich.

All readings and discussion in English.

180b. Hipsters, Rebels and Rock Stars in Russian Literature and Culture (in English) (1)

The image of the dandy, the fop and the rebel has steadily resurfaced in Russian art and literature during periods of major political and cultural change. As early as the nineteenth century youth countercultures began to permeate and shape new currents of thought and artistic expression. This course examines the historical development of hipness in the literature, cinema, visual art and music of Russia from Golden Age Romanticism to the present day. It aims to frame the many iterations of the Russian hipster within a historical and artistic context. Special attention is given to the investigation of artistic mediums as vehicles in propagating the image of the hipster in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and contemporary Russia. Ms. Safariants.

Open to all classes.

All readings and discussion in English.

181a. The Best of Russian Sci-Fi Cinema (in English) (1/2)

A survey of the rich tradition of Russian cinematic science fiction, from mainstream entertainment to the philosophical masterpieces of Andrei Tarkovsky. Subjects include futuristic fantasies of the 1920s and 1930s, scientific experiments gone astray, post-apocalyptic visions, space travel and journeys of the mind, intergalactic romance and humorous takes on the genre. Taught in English. Mr. Ungurianu.

Second 6-week course.

Two 75-minute periods plus weekly screenings.

185b. WWII in Russian Cinema (in English) (1/2)

The most massive armed conflict in history, World War II also inspired an unprecedented number of films. Many of them are inevitably imbued with patriotic propaganda, yet others strive to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of war, an event that, in Leo Tolstoy’s words, is opposed to human reason and to all human nature. The course samples seminal Russian works of the genre produced from the late 1940s to our days against changing historical and ideological backgrounds. Special attention is given to cinematic masterpieces exploring war as an existential experience that probes the limits of humanity, such as The Cranes Are Flying (1957),Ivan’s Childhood (1962), The Ascent (1976), and Come and See (1985). Taught in English. Mr. Ungurianu.

Second 6-week course.

Two 75-minute periods plus weekly screenings.

II. Intermediate

210. Intermediate Russian (1)

Review of the basics of grammar and analysis of more complex grammatical phenomena through the study of literary, historical, and newspaper texts, composition, and discussion. The department.

Year long course 210-211.

Prerequisite: Russian 105-106 or permission of instructor.

Four 50-minute periods plus one hour of oral practice.

211. Intermediate Russian (1)

Review of the basics of grammar and analysis of more complex grammatical phenomena through the study of literary, historical, and newspaper texts, composition, and discussion. The department.

Year long course 210-211.

Prerequisite: Russian 105-106 or permission of instructor.

Four 50-minute periods plus one hour of oral practice.

231. Russian Screen and Stage (1)

Aspects of Russian film, drama and performing arts.

By permission of instructor.

Not offered 2011-12.

235. The Russian Classics: The Great Realists of the Nineteenth Century (1)

Individually designed for Russian majors and other students with some knowledge of Russian. Students in this course attend the same lectures and discussions as those in Russian 135, but are required to do part of the work in Russian.

By permission of instructor.

252. The Russian Modernists (1)

Individually designed for Russian majors and other students with some knowledge of Russian. Students in this course attend the same lectures and discussions as those in Russian 152, but are required to do part of the work in Russian.

By permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

267. Culture and Ideology (1)

Offered alternative years.

Not offered 2011-12.

269. The Great Utopia: Ideals and Realities of the Russian Revolution (1)

Designed for Russian majors and other students with some knowledge of Russian. Students in this course attend the same lectures and discussions as those in Russian 169, but are required to do part of the work in Russian. By permission of instructor.

Two 75-minute periods, plus occasional film screenings.

Not offered in 2011/12.

273. Focus on Literature (1)

Aspects of the Russian literary tradition—including authors, genres, and thematic emphases—and the place of this tradition in world literature.

Topic for 2011/12a:Nabokov Before "Lolita":The Making of a Genius in the Era of Jazz and Surrealism.

Individually designed for Russian majors and other students with some knowledge of Russian. Students in this course attend the same lectures and discussions as those in Russian 173, but are required to do part of the work in Russian. Mr. Firtich.

By permission of the instructor.

276b. Diasporas (1)

(same as Jewish Studies 276b.) As far back as antiquity, Jews have formed alliances, and sometimes rivalries, amongst themselves that have crossed boundaries of hegemonic powers: long-distance legal consultations and commercial relations, shared reading lists and life practices, and mass population movements through exile and immigration. This course maps correspondences, both literal and figurative, between Jews otherwise separated by political geography, and so enables a critical examination of the commonalities and differences that constitute the alternative understandings of Jewish "peoplehood" and Jewish "community."

290. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

298. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Program to be worked out in consultation with an instructor. The department.

III. Advanced

300. Senior Thesis (1)

331. Advanced Russian (1)

A course designed to increase all aspects of Russian proficiency. Includes readings on a wide range of topics, discussion, oral reports, stylistic analysis, written assignments, and review of persistent grammatical difficulties. Mr. Ungurianu.

Year long course 331/332.

Two 75-minute periods, plus one hour of conversational practice.

332. Advanced Russian (1)

A course designed to increase all aspects of Russian proficiency. Includes readings on a wide range of topics, discussion, oral reports, stylistic analysis, written assignments, and review of persistent grammatical difficulties. The department.

Yearlong course 331/332.

Two 75-minute periods, plus one hour of conversational practice.

371. Seminar on Russian Culture (1)

Advanced seminar on Russian culture. Designed for majors and students with sufficient knowledge of Russian.

Topic for 2011/12b: Russian Blockbusters. Modern culture includes the phenomenon of "film classics," productions of enduring popular appeal which, though not necessarily considered great achievement of cinematic art, have become universally recognized cultural symbols within a national group. This course involves a close study of a sample of Russian films of this type, including comedies, war films, spy and detective stories, musicals, and sci-fi films. Mr. Ungurianu.

Conducted in Russian.

Prerequisite: Russian 331 or equivalent.

One 3-hour period.

373. Seminar on Russian Literature (1)

Focused analysis of an author, work, theme, genre, or literary school in the nineteenth or twentieth century.

Topic for 2011/12a: Russian Literature of the Absurd. A survey of the absurdist current in Russian nineteenth and twentieth century literature, taking into account the relationship of this tradition to the religious and philosophical concepts of the time. The course involves a close reading of texts by Nikolai Gogol, the first Russian absurdist par excellence, Kozma Prutkov, a fictitious author of mind-bending aphorisms, and Vladimir Soloviev, Russia's premier philosopher who contributed a number of notable items to the corpus of absurdist works. In the early twentieth century the absurdist mode became a prominent aspect of the Russian avant-garde, particularly in the works of such writers as Aleksei Kruchenykh and Velemir Khlebnikov, followed in the 1920s by Daniil Kharms and Aleksandr Vvedensky. Mr. Firtich.

Conducted in Russian.

Prerequisite: Russian 331 or permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

399. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Program to be worked out in consultation with an instructor. The department.