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Spring 2019 courses in Russian Studies

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.

Last Updated: 1/30/19