Course OfferingsAll courses from RUSSN-UA 1 through RUSSN-UA 4 meet three times a week. All lower-division Russian language courses are closed to native speakers except Russian Grammar and Composition I and II (RUSSN-UA 5, 6).
Elementary Russian I
RUSSN-UA 1 Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Intended to give beginners a speaking and reading knowledge of the Russian language. Involves an introduction to the essentials of Russian grammar and the reading of graded texts, with special emphasis on the acquisition of an idiomatic conversational vocabulary. Combines the traditional grammatical approach with a conversational, inductive method.
Elementary Russian II
RUSSN-UA 2 Prerequisite: Elementary Russian I (RUSSN-UA 1) or equivalent. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Continuation of beginner-level work.
Intermediate Russian I
RUSSN-UA 3 Prerequisite: Elementary Russian II (RUSSN-UA 2) or equivalent. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Grammar review, vocabulary building, and drills in spoken Russian.
Intermediate Russian II
RUSSN-UA 4 Prerequisite: Intermediate Russian I (RUSSN-UA 3) or equivalent. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Vocabulary building, idiomatic expressions, and drills in spoken Russian. Completion of this course satisfies the CAS foreign language requirement.
Russian Grammar and Composition I
RUSSN-UA 5 Formerly Russian Grammar Review I. Prerequisite: basic competence in spoken Russian. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Designed for students who speak some Russian at home but have virtually no reading and writing skills.
Russian Grammar and Composition II
RUSSN-UA 6 Formerly Russian Grammar Review II. Prerequisite: Russian Grammar and Composition I (RUSSN-UA 5) or basic competence in reading and writing Russian. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Completion of this course satisfies the CAS foreign language requirement.
The department offers courses in Advanced Russian (RUSSN-UA 107-109). All are repeatable for credit. Topics for these courses are offered on a rotating basis (consult the current schedule of classes):
- Russian Film (viewing and discussion of Russian and Soviet films)
- Russian Press (reading and discussion of newspaper and magazine articles)
- Readings in Russian Literature (reading and discussion of short stories by Russian and Soviet writers)
- Soviet and Russian Theatre (reading, viewing, and analysis of Russian dramatic works, with background readings on Russian theatre)
- Social Issues in Russian Culture (reading and discussion of articles on important social and cultural topics)
RUSSN-UA 107 Prerequisite: Intermediate Russian II (RUSSN-UA 4), Russian Grammar and Composition II (RUSSN-UA 6), or equivalent. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Advanced Russian II
RUSSN-UA 108 Prerequisite: Intermediate Russian II (RUSSN-UA 4), Russian Grammar and Composition II (RUSSN-UA 6), or equivalent. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Advanced Russian III
RUSSN-UA 109 Formerly RUSSN-UA 111. Prerequisite: Intermediate Russian II (RUSSN-UA 4), Russian Grammar and Composition II (RUSSN-UA 6), or equivalent. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Elementary Czech I and II
RUSSN-UA 201, 202 Offered in the fall and spring, respectively. 4 points per term.
Introduction to the basic skills: speaking and reading. Essentials of Czech grammar, reading of graded texts, and conversation on everyday subjects. Vocabulary building. Essentials of writing.
All courses are conducted in English unless otherwise noted.
Literature and Civilization Courses
Introduction to Russian Literature I
RUSSN-UA 811 Offered in the fall. 4 points.
A survey of the Russian literature of the first half of the 19th century, from romanticism to the beginning of realism. The reading list includes major works by Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, and Dostoevsky. All works are read in translation.
Introduction to Russian Literature II
RUSSN-UA 812 Offered in the spring. 4 points.
A survey of the Russian literature of the second half of the 19th century, as well as selected works from the period between 1900 and 1917. Authors covered include Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Chekhov. All works are read in translation.
RUSSN-UA 828 Offered every other year. 4 points.
A critical examination of the great Ukrainian-Russian humorist’s short stories and of his unfinished novel Dead Souls.
Contemporary Central and East European Literature
RUSSN-UA 832 Offered every other year. Borenstein. 4 points.
An examination of contemporary novels and short stories from Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, the former Czechoslovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Albania, and Hungary), primarily the literature of the last 50 years. The problems of “minor” literature, postmodernism, and the attempt to articulate “authentic” experience are emphasized. Authors read include Kafka, Kundera, Hrabal, Kosinski, Schulz, Gombrowicz, Kristof, Kadare, Kis, Pavic, and Ugresvi. All works are read in translation.
Utopia, Apocalypse, and the Millennium
RUSSN-UA 833 Offered every other year. Borenstein. 4 points.
The development of utopianism in literature, philosophy, and political theory, as well as attempts to put utopian theory into action. What does it mean to posit a perfect world, and what is the relationship between such an ideal world and our less-than-perfect reality? What are the impulses behind anti-utopianism? The recent resurgence of utopianism and apocalypticism is examined (for example, millenarian “cults,” the millennium bug). Readings include Plato, More, Bellamy, Dostoevsky, Marx, Zamyatin, Orwell, Huxley, LeGuin, and Revelation.
RUSSN-UA 837 Offered every other year. 4 points.
Study of major techniques in Chekhov’s short story writing; analysis of his influence on the development of the Russian and European novella; a close analysis of Chekhov’s drama (Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard, and Uncle Vanya) and its impact on Russian playwrights of the 20th century, as well as its relation to the development of Stanislavsky’s Moscow Art Theatre.
RUSSN-UA 839 Offered every other year. 4 points.
The major philosophical and religious themes of Dostoevsky as they are reflected in his works. Notes from the Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, and major short stories form the main part of the course. Examines Dostoevsky’s concepts of freedom, history, and Christianity.
Theory of the Avant-Garde, East and West, 1890–1930
RUSSN-UA 841 Identical to COLIT-UA 841, ENGL-UA 730. Offered every other year. 4 points.
Theory and practice of the European avant-garde in art and literature, 1890–1930. General cultural and historical approach to the avant-garde, with close readings of some of its key productions. Topics: cubism, Italian futurism, Russian cubo-futurism, imagism and vorticism, dadaism, constructivism, and surrealism. Stresses aesthetic, historical, and political interconnections between the Russian avant-garde and the West. Readings are in English, but comparative literature majors are encouraged to read works in the original language.
Russian Literature in the Original I
RUSSN-UA 847 Prerequisite: at least one semester of Advanced Russian or near-native fluency in Russian. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Students read Russian prose and poetry in the original language. Class discussions and papers are also in Russian.
Russian Literature in the Original II
RUSSN-UA 848 Prerequisite: at least one semester of Advanced Russian or near-native fluency in Russian. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
Students read Russian prose and poetry in the original language. Class discussions and papers are also in Russian.
Introduction to Soviet Cinema
RUSSN-UA 850 Offered every year. Iampolski. 4 points.
An examination of the history of Russian cinema from its beginnings. The main focus is on landmarks of cinematic art and on the cultural specificity of Russian cinema. The survey also includes questions of cinema and politics (cinema as a propaganda tool), and cinema and the market. Artists discussed include Eisenstein, Vertov, Pudovkin, Kuleshov, Barnet, Shub, Kozintsev, Trauberg, and Tarkovsky. Topics include cinema and revolution, the cinema of the Russian avant-garde and constructivism, cinema and totalitarianism, and socialist realism in film.
Soviet and Post-Soviet Literature
RUSSN-UA 852 Offered every other year. Borenstein. 4 points.
An introduction to Russian 20th-century fiction, concentrating on the two periods of greatest cultural ferment: 1920s modernism and late/post-Soviet postmodernism. After the 1917 revolution, Bolshevik ideology held that the Old World would be utterly destroyed, to be replaced by a new society populated by New Soviet Men. The experience of Russia in the 20th century can be viewed as the failed attempt to put radical theory into everyday practice, a grand scheme of social engineering that would inevitably be reflected in the country’s literature.
Legacies of Serfdom and Slavery in Russian and American Literature
RUSSN-UA 854 Offered every other year. Lounsbery. 4 points.
Readings and discussions address how American slaves and Russian serfs wrote and were written about in the two countries’ literary traditions. Topics include both the ways in which subjugated people attempted to represent themselves to the dominant culture and the difficulties that members of the dominant culture confronted in writing about people whose experiences were largely inaccessible to them. Particular attention is paid to how categories such as “slave,” “peasant,” “white,” and “black” have changed over time and to how unfree people worked to turn what were perceived as cultural lacks into aesthetic advantages.
20th-Century Russia: Terror, Survival, and Beautiful Dreams
RUSSN-UA 859 Offered every other year. 4 points.
Encompasses the last years of the tsars and the Russian Revolution. Major events and phenomena are carefully analyzed through general readings and use of diverse media such as film, literature, visual art, and music: Lenin and communism; Stalinism; the Second World War; the end of Communism and the transition to capitalism. Paradox is at the center of this analysis: a fundamentally humanistic ideology of Communism produced one of the most murderous regimes of the century; an international movement became increasingly chauvinistic and nationalistic; a full-blown welfare state also oppressed its population in unprecedented ways.
The Unquiet Dead: Imagining the Afterlife in Film and Fiction
RUSSN-UA 870 Offered every other year. 4 points.
Explores the connections between narrative and imagined scenarios for the afterlife. As we examine the literary and cinematic treatments of vampires, ghosts, zombies, and, in particular, posthumous narrators, we will look at the political and ideological deployment of afterlife narratives, investigating questions of cultural and sexual purity, collective guilt, and socioeconomic anxiety. Particular attention is paid to the folklore and fiction of the Slavic world, as well as to contemporary American reinterpretations. Readings will include texts by Nabokov, Gogol, Ovid, Stoker, and Morrison, accompanied by selected films.
Open only to students majoring in the department.
Internship and Independent Study Courses
RUSSN-UA 980 1 to 6 points per term.
Native speakers of Russian may obtain internship credit by working with Russian language students and assisting language instructors. See the director of undergraduate studies for further details. Internship credit in other settings and organizations requires a description of duties and approval of the director of undergraduate studies, as well as a final paper.
RUSSN-UA 997, 998 2 to 4 points per term.
A maximum of 8 points of independent study may be counted toward an undergraduate major (not toward a minor). Before registering, students must submit a one-page typed description of the proposed project to the director of undergraduate studies and the proposed faculty sponsor.