Russian Courses

Russian Studies Courses

From first-semester Russian to advanced courses on literature, culture, and society, the Russian Studies program at Binghamton University offers courses across a wide variety of topics and levels. Cultural offerings in English have included Russian Popular Culture; Russians in Soviet Film; Activism in Russia; Slavic Folklore; Demons, Fools and Madmen and others.

  • Fall 2021

    RUSS 101: Elementary Russian 1
    Nancy Tittler

    Russian is a living language! We will concentrate primarily on oral communication, as well as listening reading and writing skills. By semester’s end, students should be able to converse on a number of everyday topics, including getting acquainted, daily activities, education, family, clothing. In addition to learning to talk about their own lives, students will gain an understanding of these areas of contemporary Russian life. Grammar elements to be mastered include the first three noun + adjective cases, past-and present-tense verbs and an introduction to verbs of motion. Class meetings will be devoted to intensive oral practice. Background grammar and vocabulary material, as well as listening exercises will be prepared at home, so that you may raise questions and reinforce in class what you have learned from your reading. 
    Gen Ed: FL1

    RUSS 110: Russian Culture & Civilization
    Marina Zalesski

    The course provides a chronological overview of Russian civilization from pre-Christian times to the 20th century, paying particular attention to the geographic, social, artistic, economic, and political forces that have combined to give the Russian people and their culture their unique characteristics. It will examine Russia as a cultural, national, and historical entity part of and yet apart from both Europe and Asia through a variety of sources such as literature, music, film, visual arts, and historical documents. The course will examine certain determinants of Russian culture, including Christianity, multi-nationalism, and the status of Russian civilization on the periphery of Europe. Course will examine myths, traditions and events that have shaped Russians' view of themselves as a people as well as the image of Russia on the world stage. 
    Gen Ed: H

    RUSS 111: Russian for Russian Speakers I
    Marina Zalesski

    This course is designed for students who use conversational Russian at home but lack basic literacy, writing and reading skills. Students will learn the basics of Russian phonetics, morphology and grammar and practice their skills in creating monologues, conducting interviews, writing stories and participating in discussions. Reading component of the course is designed to accompany theme-based chapters and to help students to expand their vocabulary beyond the home use. This class is designed for heritage speakers of Russian and is not suitable for native speakers of Russian. Students are encouraged to contact the instructor with all questions regarding their proficiency level. 
    Gen Ed: FL1

    RUSS 180D: Disinformation and Naivete
    Sidney Dement

    A significant lack of knowledge about Russian culture and history plays a pivotal role in many different areas of interest: the news, film, literature, tourism, pedagogy, international relations, arms proliferation, NATO expansion, internet policy, approaches to medical practice, and especially disinformation. In this course, students develop and practice research skills to conceptualize how gaps in knowledge shape discourses in and about Russia while also searching for ways to identify and address those gaps. Disinformation plays a particularly significant role in naiveté about Russia since the idea of disinformation belongs to Cold War discourse and, arguably, entered the English language through the Russian “dezinformatsiia.” As the first part of a two-course sequence sponsored by the “Source Project” (Binghamton University’s undergraduate research stream for first-year students), this course introduces students to the historical and literary dimensions of disinformation and naiveté related to Russia in order to prepare them for part II, a subsequent course (spring 2022), in which students conduct a research project designed to implement the knowledge and skills they acquired in this course.
    Gen Ed: H

    RUSS 203: Intermediate Russian I
    Sidney Dement

    Continues from elementary Russian II and focuses on continued vocabulary acquisition, improved oral proficiency and greater grammatical accuracy. Aspects of Russian culture (film, stories, music) are incorporated, and students work on improving their ability to communicate in a broad range of situations. Emphasis divided among writing, speaking, listening and reading. Four hours per week. Grades are based on class participation and presentations, quizzes, examinations and written assignments. Prerequisites: RUSS 102 or three years of high school Russian. Not for native speakers of Russian. 
    Gen Ed: FL3

    RUSS 305: Advanced Russian Reading and Composition I
    Marina Zalesski

    Acquisition of substantial vocabulary from various aspects of daily life; description of surroundings, character traits, interpersonal relations, cops-and-robbers, etc. Intensive speaking and writing practice; focus on developing a Russian writing style. Three hours a week; grades based on participation, quizzes, exams and written work. Prerequisites: RUSS 204 or equivalent. Not for native speakers. 

    RUSS 325: Demons, Fools & Madmen
    Nancy Tittler

    Demons, fools and madmen course throughout Russian culture, from folklore to film. Surely their persistence contributes significantly to the long-held notion that, in Virginia Woolf’s words, “it is the soul that is the chief character in Russian fiction,” and a tormented soul, at that. This course will trace such particularly Russian manifestations as the “holy fool” and “petty demon,” the “little man” and “madmen’s memoirs,” against a background of folkloric, theological, existential and political considerations. Although not a medical course – we will not learn how to diagnose and treat mental illness – our journey will investigate some fundamental questions concerning madness and culture. For instance, is there a discernible boundary between insanity and imagination? Do criteria for madness change as a culture evolves? Is madness a destructive delusion or a frightening reflection of the passions, ambitions and malaise of “normal” society? Finally, who is insane: the incarcerated or those who would lock them up? Our close readings of folklore and classic Russian literature, enhanced by art and film viewing and critical commentary, will inevitably prompt students to probe the theme of madness and culture in the present day and beyond the boundaries of Russia, thus enhancing our understanding of human experience through the study of literature.
    Gen Ed: C, H 

  • Spring 2021

    RUSS 102: Elementary Russian II
    Nancy Tittler, Marina Zalesski

    Continuation of RUSS 101. Communicative activities involving everyday conversation.

    RUSS 204: Intermediate Russian I
    Marina Zalesski

    Continues from elementary Russian II and focuses on continued vocabulary acquisition, improved oral proficiency and greater grammatical accuracy. Aspects of Russian culture (film, stories, music) are incorporated, and students work on improving their ability to communicate in a broad range of situations. Emphasis divided among writing, speaking, listening and reading. Four hours per week. Grades are based on class participation and presentations, quizzes, examinations and written assignments. Prerequisites: RUSS 102 or three years of high school Russian. Not for native speakers of Russian.

    RUSS 261: Russian Popular Culture
    Marina Zalesski

    This course presents popular culture as a historical text reflecting national consciousness and memory of the people, and containing answers to nation's behavior, their perceptions of and reactions to the world around them. Course analyses mechanisms of political propaganda and modern marketing, as well as the science behind what makes something go viral. It evaluates relationship between mass, popular and high cultures on the examples of pre-Soviet, Soviet and modern era literature, cinema, and entertainment arts with the purpose of studying people's role as both creators and recipients of popular culture. This class meets twice a week, one additional session is scheduled in the evening for occasional film viewing. Most films, however, will be available online. H

    RUSS 341: 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation
    Nancy Tittler

    Representative works by some of the major Russian prose writers of the 20th century to the present, including Zamiatin, Mayakovsky, Zoshchenko, Babel, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstaya, Petrushevskaya and others. Through critical readings and films, students consider these works in the context of Russian (including Soviet) cultural history and their reception abroad. Students who read Russian are encouraged to read the original Russian texts. All classes are conducted in English. C, H

    RUSS 351: Russia's Defiant Women
    Nancy Tittler

    We will consider the experience of women as characters as well as authors of Russian literature. Patterns of behavior, as manifest in both these roles, will be traced through folklore, fiction and memoir from medieval times to the present. These patterns will be seen to reflect and challenge themes fundamental to Russian culture, including moral strength, family and community, and the traditional role of Russian literature as a socio-political forum. By semester's end, you will have gained an understanding of the evolving female role in Russian society, as chronicled in literature, as well as in the creation and production of that literature.

    RUSS 380A: Russian Christianity
    Sidney Dement

    This course examines Russian Christianity from multiple perspectives (history, culture, religious studies, literature, contemporary activism) to provide an introduction to Christianity in Russia and the many ways that it has shaped and continues to shape Russian society. In addition to reading primary literary, religious, and philosophical texts, students also explore scholarly analyses of how Christianity has intersected with the many other religious traditions historically practiced by people in Russia.

    RUSS 380B: Advanced Conversational Russian
    Marina Zalesski

    Advanced Conversational Russian offers a semester of intensive conversational practice and grammatical review for students with at least two years of Russian or heritage speakers who completed Russian for Russian Speakers course sequence. Students will work on relevant and interesting projects, involving an abundance of authentic materials: films, talk shows, blogs, short magazine and newspaper articles, interviews, and podcasts. Grammar review will include case system, verbal aspect, prefixed verbs of motion, gerunds, and construction of complex sentences.

  • Fall 2020

    RUSS 101: Elementary Russian I
    Marina Zalesski

    Russian is a living language! We will concentrate primarily on oral communication, as well as listening reading and writing skills. By semester’s end, students should be able to converse on a number of everyday topics, including getting acquainted, daily activities, education, family, clothing. In addition to learning to talk about their own lives, students will gain an understanding of these areas of contemporary Russian life. Grammar elements to be mastered include the first three noun + adjective cases, past-and present-tense verbs and an introduction to verbs of motion. Class meetings will be devoted to intensive oral practice. Background grammar and vocabulary material, as well as listening exercises will be prepared at home, so that you may raise questions and reinforce in class what you have learned from your reading. Offered in the Fall only. For students with no prior knowledge of Russian.

    RUSS 110: Russian Culture and Civilization
    Sidney Dement

    We will examine the myths, traditions and events that have shaped the Russians’ view of themselves as a people, as well as the image of Russia on the world stage, from earliest beginnings to the present day. Three weekly lecture-discussions will incorporate literature, film, visual arts, music and other cultural artifacts. Students will be encouraged to express and reexamine their own notions of culture and national identity in general, and of Russia and the Russians in particular. By semester’s end, students should be able to demonstrate understanding of Russians’ cultural reactions to the political and social events that have shaped their history, from pre-Chrisrtian Slavdom through Klevan and Muscovite civilizations, the Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet eras, as well as the increasing segmentation of their social structure through the centuries.
    Course counts as H

    RUSS 180R: Russian Short Stories in Translation
    Nancy Tittler

    Storytelling is a powerful tool! This course will explore the ways Russians, from the 17th to the 21st centuries, have shaped their stories to reflect their view of themselves, their society and their place in the wider world. From Gothic gloom to slapstick satire, whether evading censorship or probing the questions of the day, Russian stories offer astute observation of human nature.

    H

    RUSS 203: Intermediate Russian I
    Marina Zalesski

    Continues from elementary Russian II and focuses on continued vocabulary acquisition, improved oral proficiency and greater grammatical accuracy. Aspects of Russian culture (film, stories, music) are incorporated, and students work on improving their ability to communicate in a broad range of situations. Emphasis divided among writing, speaking, listening and reading. Four hours per week. Grades are based on class participation and presentations, quizzes, examinations and written assignments. Prerequisites: RUSS 102 or three years of high school Russian. Not for native speakers of Russian.

    RUSS 215: Slavic Folklore
    Sidney Dement

    Folklore is an enduring part of the human experience, connecting the distant human past with our contemporary lives in ways we do not always recognize. Folklore defines national, regional, class, and occupational identity and gives meaning to the life of a people (an “ethnos”), even in the modern period. The goal of our course is to explore the discipline of folkloristics using the content of Slavic folklore, comparing it at relevant times to our own American or European-rooted folklore. Content includes mythology; life, birth, and death rituals; calendrical festivals; folk tales; superstitions, proverbs, riddles, and other genres of the Slavic oral tradition.
    Course counts as C, H

    RUSS 280X: The Fairy Tale
    Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit

    Structure and meaning of fairy tales. Oral vs. literary fairy tales. Different approaches to interpreting fairy tales: anthropological, psychological, socio-historical, structuralist. Lectures approximately once a week; discussion; take-home midterm and final exams; two 10-page papers.

    H, W

    RUSS 321: 19th-Century Russian Literature in Translation
    Nancy Tittler

    Through close reading and detailed textual analysis, students will become familiar with the development of Russian narrative prose in the nineteenth century, beginning with the question, “Why the nineteenth century?” and its reflection of universal as well as particularly Russian themes. In discussion and writing, students will display an understanding of basic literary terms, as presented in class and posted on Bb.

    Course counts as C, H

    RUSS 380E: Borderlands of Eastern Europe
    Heather DeHaan

    HIST 381E/RUSS 380E - Borderlands of Eastern Europe Professor Heather DeHaan Fall 2020 Course Description: This course explores the history of the peoples and places located at the former or current edges of European borderlands. From Central Asia to the Caucasus and central Europe, this course discusses the conflict and co-existence of diverse cultural, religious, regional, class, and state entities in those places where empires meet, conflict, and sometimes shatter. Course themes include the flow of people across imperial and state boundaries, the origins and nature of ethno-religious violence, the problem of the nation-state, and the complex domestic and geopolitics of post-imperial countries.

    N, W

  • Spring 2020

    RUSS 102: Elementary Russian II
    Nancy Tittler, Marina Zalesski

    Continuation of RUSS 101. Communicative activities involving everyday conversation.

    RUSS 204: Intermediate Russian I
    Marina Zalesski

    Continues from elementary Russian II and focuses on continued vocabulary acquisition, improved oral proficiency and greater grammatical accuracy. Aspects of Russian culture (film, stories, music) are incorporated, and students work on improving their ability to communicate in a broad range of situations. Emphasis divided among writing, speaking, listening and reading. Four hours per week. Grades are based on class participation and presentations, quizzes, examinations and written assignments. Prerequisites: RUSS 102 or three years of high school Russian. Not for native speakers of Russian.

    RUSS 210/COLI 280U/ENG 200E: Introduction to Russian Literature
    Nancy Tittler

    Introduction to the most important Russian texts from the beginnings of Russian literature to the present. Students apply the tools of literary analysis to representative novels, short stories and drama within the context of Russian cultural history. The class is conducted in English.
    Class counts as H, W

    RUSS 212: Russian for Russian Speakers II
    Marina Zalesski

    This is an intermediate Russian language course, designed for heritage students who have successfully completed the beginning course “Russian for Russian Speakers I” (RUSS 111) or for English-speaking students who have completed at least four semesters of Russian. The course concentrates on the reinforcement of skills obtained at the beginning level. Students will be challenged to read, write and speak on a variety of cultural topics introduced through an array of Russian materials: films, TV programs, podcasts, articles, news and blogs. This course aims to expand students’ understanding of current events, to broaden their cultural knowledge, and develop a sense of pride in their linguistic and cultural heritage. High emphasis on grammatical accuracy and culture of speech will help students to gain confidence in using Russian at a more sophisticated level, and, perhaps, in some professional settings. 

    RUSS 341: 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation
    Nancy Tittler

    Representative works by some of the major Russian prose writers of the 20th century to the present, including Zamiatin, Mayakovsky, Zoshchenko, Babel, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstaya, Petrushevskaya and others. Through critical readings and films, students consider these works in the context of Russian (including Soviet) cultural history and their reception abroad. Students who read Russian are encouraged to read the original Russian texts. All classes are conducted in English.
    Gen Ed: C, H

    RUSS 380T: From Lenin to Stalin
    Chelsea Gibson

    This course examines the first four-decades of the USSR from its creation in 1917 until 1953. Using culture as its primary focus of analysis, this course will explore the ways that the Soviet government and people imagined the USSR and what it mean to be a Soviet citizen, and how those meanings changed over time. It will also examine the lives of Lenin and Stalin and examine the how the "cult of personality" emerged in the USSR and how it shaped society, culture, and politics in the Soviet Union. This course will also integrate material about the USSR's changing relationship with Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the United States. Students will be expected to complete weekly readings of both primary and secondary sources, and complete a research project by the end of the course.
    Gen Ed: N

  • Fall 2019

    RUSS 101: Elementary Russian I
    Nancy Tittler, Marina Zalesski

    Russian is a living language! We will concentrate primarily on oral communication, as well as listening reading and writing skills. By semester’s end, students should be able to converse on a number of everyday topics, including getting acquainted, daily activities, education, family, clothing. In addition to learning to talk about their own lives, students will gain an understanding of these areas of contemporary Russian life. Grammar elements to be mastered include the first three noun + adjective cases, past-and present-tense verbs and an introduction to verbs of motion. Class meetings will be devoted to intensive oral practice. Background grammar and vocabulary material, as well as listening exercises will be prepared at home, so that you may raise questions and reinforce in class what you have learned from your reading. Offered in the Fall only. For students with no prior knowledge of Russian.

    RUSS 110: Russian Culture and Civilization
    Sidney Dement

    We will examine the myths, traditions and events that have shaped the Russians’ view of themselves as a people, as well as the image of Russia on the world stage, from earliest beginnings to the present day. Three weekly lecture-discussions will incorporate literature, film, visual arts, music and other cultural artifacts. Students will be encouraged to express and reexamine their own notions of culture and national identity in general, and of Russia and the Russians in particular. By semester’s end, students should be able to demonstrate understanding of Russians’ cultural reactions to the political and social events that have shaped their history, from pre-Chrisrtian Slavdom through Klevan and Muscovite civilizations, the Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet eras, as well as the increasing segmentation of their social structure through the centuries.
    Course counts as H

    RUSS 111: Russian for Russian Speakers I
    Marina Zalesski

    This course provides reading and writing skills for students who speak Russian but lack, or have minimal, literacy. Focuses on achieving grammatical accuracy in writing and speaking, while introducing students to the basics of Russian grammar: declensions, conjugations, sentence structure and spelling rules. The course places special emphasis on reestablishing students' cultural connection to Russia.

    RUSS 203: Intermediate Russian I
    Sidney Dement

    Continues from elementary Russian II and focuses on continued vocabulary acquisition, improved oral proficiency and greater grammatical accuracy. Aspects of Russian culture (film, stories, music) are incorporated, and students work on improving their ability to communicate in a broad range of situations. Emphasis divided among writing, speaking, listening and reading. Four hours per week. Grades are based on class participation and presentations, quizzes, examinations and written assignments. Prerequisites: RUSS 102 or three years of high school Russian. Not for native speakers of Russian.

    RUSS 321: 19th Century Russian Literature in Translation
    Nancy Tittler

    Through close reading and detailed textual analysis, students will become familiar with the development of Russian narrative prose in the nineteenth century, beginning with the question, “Why the nineteenth century?” and its reflection of universal as well as particularly Russian themes. In discussion and writing, students will display an understanding of basic literary terms, as presented in class and posted on Bb.
    Course counts as C, H

    RUSS 325: Demons, Fools, and Madmen
    Nancy Tittler

    This course investigates demons, fools and madmen throughout Russian culture, from folklore to film, including such particularly Russian manifestations as the "holy fool" and "petty demon," against a background of folkloric, theological, existential and political considerations. We will probe questions including the boundary between insanity and imagination, the evolving criteria for madness and insanity as a reflection of the passions, ambitions and malaise of "normal" society.

    Course counts as H, W

  • Spring 2019

    RUSS 102: Elementary Russian II
    Nancy Tittler, Marina Zalesski

    Continuation of RUSS 101. Communicative activities involving everyday conversation.

    RUSS 204: Intermediate Russian II
    Sidney Dement

    Students finish learning the basic elements of Russian grammar, expand their command of vocabulary and begin to read more extensive selections of Russian prose. Emphasizes conversation in practical, everyday situations. Aspects of Russian culture (film, music) incorporated through class sessions and student presentations.

    RUSS 210/COLI 280U/ENG 200E: Introduction to Russian Literature
    Nancy Tittler

    Introduction to the most important Russian texts from the beginnings of Russian literature to the present. Students apply the tools of literary analysis to representative novels, short stories and drama within the context of Russian cultural history. The class is conducted in English.
    Class counts as H, W

    RUSS 215: Slavic Folklore
    Sidney Dement

    Folklore is an enduring part of the human experience, connecting the distant human past with our contemporary lives in ways we do not always recognize. Folklore defines national, regional, class, and occupational identity and gives meaning to the life of a people (an "ethnos"), even in the modern period. The goal of our course is to explore the discipline of folkloristics using the content of Slavic folklore, comparing it at relevant times to our own American or European-rooted folklore. Content includes mythology; life, birth, and death rituals; calendrical festivals; folk tales; superstitions, proverbs, riddles, and other genres of the Slavic oral tradition.
    Gen Ed: C, H

    RUSS 280A: Russians in Soviet Film
    Marina Zalesski

    This course will introduce students to Soviet cinema from its beginnings through the time of perestroika. The course will concentrate on the issue of Russian cultural identity and cultural legacy under the pressures of Soviet ideology. It will examine cinema's role as the media which spread the new Soviet values, established a new artistic criterion, and, ironically, helped to preserve the best Russian artistic traditions. Course will introduce "The Russians": prominent Soviet writers, film directors, and actors; teach about their contributions to world cinematography and analyze the ways in which they were able to navigate between their conscience and political compliance, their artistic mission and ideological mediocrity. The course will introduce most prominent multigenre examples of Soviet cinematography, which will be analyzed as texts within aesthetic, sociopolitical, historical and theoretical backgrounds.

     Gen Ed: W

    RUSS 306: Advanced Reading and Composition II
    Marina Zalesski

    Continuation of RUSS 305 with similar emphasis on reading, writing and retelling skills. Additional focus on understanding Russian news media, including newspapers and broadcasts.

    RUSS 341: 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation
    Nancy Tittler

    Representative works by some of the major Russian prose writers of the 20th century to the present, including Zamiatin, Mayakovsky, Zoshchenko, Babel, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstaya, Petrushevskaya and others. Through critical readings and films, students consider these works in the context of Russian (including Soviet) cultural history and their reception abroad. Students who read Russian are encouraged to read the original Russian texts. All classes are conducted in English.
    Gen Ed: C, H

    RUSS 371: Russia and the World
    Chelsea Gibson

    A cultural history of Russia/the Soviet Union since 1900, focusing primarily on Russia's interaction with America and the West, but examining Russia's interaction with its Asian neighbors as well. Begins with an introduction to the rich world of Russian cultural expression at the beginning of the 20th century, including cinema, cartoons and literature. Studies changing patterns of interaction with America and the West during the Stalin era and in the cultural thaw of the 1960s. Deals extensively with cultural changes in the past 30 years, using film, newspapers, journals, music, literature, posters, and advertising.
    Gen Ed: G, O, W

    RUSS 380A: Ballet in Cultural Context
    William Lawson

    This course will be devoted to a study of the ballets of Marius Petipa (1818-1910), making use of research undertaken during his bicentennial year, which has just passed. Petipa was born in France, but spent most of his career (some sixty years) directing the Imperial Russian Ballet. His greatest ballets, such as The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, and La Bayadere, are still performed today and form the basis of the modern classical ballet repertoire around the world. Over the course of the semester particular emphasis will be placed on understanding Petipa's works in their cultural context, both at the time of their original productions and over the more than a century that has elapsed since they first appeared. As a ballet master Petipa had not only to deal with ballet dancing and choreography, but with all aspects of production: working with librettists to write an effective scenario, commissioning and collaborating with composers to write original music, integrating the work of set and costume designers, and even dealing with technical aspects such as stage machinery and newly invented electric lighting effects. Petipa began his career at the height of the Romantic movement in ballet, during which the ballerina reigned supreme. Although the prima ballerina retained a preeminent position in his productions, Petipa in forging the style of modern classical ballet, transformed the image of the frail sylph into that of a woman of astonishing virtuosity and strength. Exploring Petipa's work, then, provides plenty of opportunities for students from many different backgrounds to bring their specialties to the subject. This course would be highly relevant to students of theatre (both dance and technical), music, art, art history, history, literature, and gender studies. There will be plenty of opportunity for students of French, Russian, and Spanish languages to work with previously untranslated sources. This is a W course, and students will be given every opportunity to shape their final paper projects to their individual interests.
    Gen Ed: W

    RUSS 380T: Translating Children's Literature
    Youn Soo Kim

    This course is designed for students with dual language skills who are interested in the fields of translation and translation studies and in practicing translating children's literature from around the world into English. By combining readings on translation studies with translation assignments and projects, this course offers an opportunity for students to put theory into practice. We will not only read about translation strategies and theories, but we will also examine the role that children's literature has played throughout history in a given culture as well as across cultures through translation. We will also discuss the various subgenres within children's literature such as picture books, chapter books, YA novels, fantasy and sci fi novels, etc. Furthermore, we will think, write, and discuss about the source texts we choose, the source cultures from which the texts originate, the target culture into which we translate, and the target audience for whom we translate. Most importantly, by actively making decisions as translators and presenting on the choices we make as translators, students will experience the agency of the translator that is inevitable and expected in the act of translation. Throughout the semester, we will consider the following questions: Why is it important for children to read literature from other languages and cultures? Who or what decides whether a book is considered "children's literature?" How is the translator present and active in the translation s/he produces? All translations will be rendered from another language into English. As such, along with fluency in writing in English, students are expected to have a decent reading level in another language.

    RUSS 480S: Soviet Genocide
    Heather Dehaan

    Genocide and Mass Atrocity in Soviet History This course examines the roots of the various genocides and mass atrocities that took place within and along the borders of the former Soviet Union. It evaluates the causal significance of such factors as Soviet policies with regard to class, nation, and gender; the power of nationalism as a tool of geopolitics; Soviet security concerns; and the transnational flow of refugees, traumas, and violence at times of war. Specific topics include refugees in the world wars, Soviet cultural, nationality, and class policies, the Ukrainian Holodomor, the Great Purges, Soviet ethnic cleansings and deportations in the late 1930s, Soviet responses to the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide, and also the impact of Soviet collapse on bodies, borders, and identities across Eurasia. 

  • Fall 2018 
    RUSS 101: Elementary Russian I

    Sidney Dement, Nancy Tittler

    Russian is a living language! We will concentrate primarily on oral communication, as well as listening reading and writing skills. By semester’s end, students should be able to converse on a number of everyday topics, including getting acquainted, daily activities, education, family, clothing. In addition to learning to talk about their own lives, students will gain an understanding of these areas of contemporary Russian life. Grammar elements to be mastered include the first three noun + adjective cases, past-and present-tense verbs and an introduction to verbs of motion. Class meetings will be devoted to intensive oral practice. Background grammar and vocabulary material, as well as listening exercises will be prepared at home, so that you may raise questions and reinforce in class what you have learned from your reading. Offered in the Fall only. For students with no prior knowledge of Russian.

    RUSS 110: Russian Culture and Civilization
    Marina Zalesski

    We will examine the myths, traditions and events that have shaped the Russians’ view of themselves as a people, as well as the image of Russia on the world stage, from earliest beginnings to the present day. Three weekly lecture-discussions will incorporate literature, film, visual arts, music and other cultural artifacts. Students will be encouraged to express and reexamine their own notions of culture and national identity in general, and of Russia and the Russians in particular. By semester’s end, students should be able to demonstrate understanding of Russians’ cultural reactions to the political and social events that have shaped their history, from pre-Chrisrtian Slavdom through Klevan and Muscovite civilizations, the Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet eras, as well as the increasing segmentation of their social structure through the centuries.
    Course counts as H

    RUSS 203: Intermediate Russian I
    Marina Zalesski

    Continues from elementary Russian II and focuses on continued vocabulary acquisition, improved oral proficiency and greater grammatical accuracy. Aspects of Russian culture (film, stories, music) are incorporated, and students work on improving their ability to communicate in a broad range of situations. Emphasis divided among writing, speaking, listening and reading. Four hours per week. Grades are based on class participation and presentations, quizzes, examinations and written assignments. Prerequisites: RUSS 102 or three years of high school Russian. Not for native speakers of Russian.

    RUSS 280X: The Fairy Tale
    Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit

    Structure and meaning of fairy tales. Oral vs. literary fairy tales. Different approaches to interpreting fairy tales: anthropological, psychological, socio-historical, structuralist. Lectures approximately once a week; discussion; take-home midterm and final exams; two 10-page papers.

    Course counts as H, W

    RUSS 305: Advanced Russian Reading and Composition I
    Marina Zalesski

    Acquisition of substantial vocabulary from various aspects of daily life; description of surroundings, character traits, interpersonal relations, cops-and-robbers, etc. Intensive speaking and writing practice; focus on developing a Russian writing style. Three hours a week; grades based on participation, quizzes, exams and written work. Prerequisites: RUSS 204 or equivalent. Not for native speakers.

    RUSS 321: 19th Century Russian Literature in Translation
    Nancy Tittler

    Through close reading and detailed textual analysis, students will become familiar with the development of Russian narrative prose in the nineteenth century, beginning with the question, “Why the nineteenth century?” and its reflection of universal as well as particularly Russian themes. In discussion and writing, students will display an understanding of basic literary terms, as presented in class and posted on Bb.
    Course counts as C, H

    RUSS 351: Russia's Defiant Women
    Nancy Tittler

    We will consider the experience of women as characters as well as authors of Russian literature. Patterns of behavior, as manifest in both these roles, will be traced through folklore, fiction and memoir from medieval times to the present. These patterns will be seen to reflect and challenge themes fundamental to Russian culture, including moral strength, family and community, and the traditional role of Russian literature as a socio-political forum. By semester's end, you will have gained an understanding of the evolving female role in Russian society, as chronicled in literature, as well as in the creation and production of that literature.

    Course counts as H, W

    RUSS 380C: Stalingrad
    Sidney Dement, Harald Zils

    The battle of Stalingrad, fought more than seventy years ago, is burned into the cultural memories of Germans and Russians to this day. More than 700,000 people died; it was the beginning of the end of Hitler's War. This course investigates the battle and its aftermath in German and Russian culture. In order to examine the multiple perspectives on this cultural and historical watershed more fully, GERM 380G, taught by Prof. Zils, and RUSS 380D, taught by Prof. Dement, meet together. We discuss the historical event, its consequences for WW II, the soldiers' and civilians' perspectives, the images of the war in German and Russian propaganda and its impact on German and Russian public discourse, movies, art and literature. Two 8-page papers, one group presentation. This is a course that is team-taught by faculty members of the German Studies and Russian Studies programs. Therefore, there are sections listed and cross-listed in the German Studies as well as in the Russian Studies program. All sections will meet and be taught as one.

    Course counts as H, W

    UNIV 101R: The Ballets of Marius Petipa
    William Lawson

    This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great ballet choreographer Marius Petipa. He was born in France, but had a career of some sixty years in St. Petersburg as ballet master of the Imperial Russian Ballet. His surviving works are the foundation of the modern classical ballet repertoire. MW 2:20-3:20 FA 244