Fall 2016 courses in Russian Studies
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
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.
RUSS 203: Intermediate Russian I
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
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.
RUSS 280X: Love Stories III: Romantic/Modern
A close study and discussion of views on love and their representation in a selection of short stories and novels, beginning with the Romantic period and ending with the Modern. Works studied: de la Motte Fouque, Undine; Tieck, Eckbert the Fair; Lermontov, The Demond, and A Hero of Our Time; Ch. Bronte, Jane Eyre; Fontane, Effi Briest; Turgenev, First Love; L. Tolstoy, Family Happiness (=Happy Ever After), and Kreutzer Sonata; Chekhov, Lady with a Dog, and Darling (=Angel); Bunin, Sunstroke; Th. Mann, Death in Venice; Dh. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers; Colette, Cheri; O. LaFarge, Laughing Boy. Every student will present two oral reports, one of which will be a basis for that student's term paper. There will be a take-home final examination, assigned at the end of the semester and due a week later. Three or four films will be shown outside class hours; attendance at these will be optional, but again with the opportunity to earn extra credit by writing movie reviews. Excellence in discussion will raise the grade for the course; unexcused absence from three or more classes will lower it.
RUSS 305: Advanced Russian Reading & Composition I
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
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.
RUSS 351: Women in Russian Literature
The course will consider the experience of women as characters as well as authors. Patterns of behavior manifest in both these roles will be traced through folklore, fiction and memoir. These patterns will be seen to reflect and challenge fundamental themes including moral strength, family and community and the traditional role of Russian literature as a socio-political forum.
RUSS 380C: Red Phoenix: Revolution & USSR
This course unpacks the history of the Russian Revolution—its origins, unfolding, “maturation,” and aftermath. We will discuss the utopian ideas that shaped the early Soviet Union, the political, social and economic challenges that shaped the Soviet experiment, the origins, nature and impact of the Stalin era, as well as the long legacy of Stalinism, which endured to the era of Gorbachev’s reforms. Throughout, we will ask ourselves about the mythologies that drove not only the Revolution, but also its interpretation and re-interpretation by western observers and by Soviet citizens themselves.