Bates Fall Semester Abroad
Professor Aschauer (Economics) and Associate Professor Browne (Russian)
During fall semester 2005, Bates students, including entering first-year students, have the opportunity to live among St. Petersburg's people and explore their city, its history, and cultural life. St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful and cultured cities in the world, but to Russians it signifies much more. In 1703 Tsar Peter the Great founded the city as part of his project to westernize Russia. Since then St. Petersburg has been the focus of debate about Russian identity. The capital of tsarist Russia for two centuries, the city has maintained many of the great cultural institutions of the era—the Hermitage Museum and the Kirov Ballet and Opera—in completely changed circumstances. In the twentieth century, Peter's capital was the center of momentous struggles: the Russian Revolution, which overthrew the tsarist empire and established communist rule, and the invasion of Hitler's army, which besieged the city for two years. In 2003, as St. Petersburg celebrated its 300th anniversary, and as Russia charts its new post-communist path, this great city re-examines its place as a cosmopolitan, Western- looking center for the new Russia.
The program begins in mid-August, when students undertake a three-week intensive Russian language course at St. Petersburg State University. From September to December they continue language study and take courses from Bates faculty in English. During this time they live with Russian families in St. Petersburg. No prior study or knowledge of Russian is required.
BSAR 001. From Kommunizm to Kapitalizm: Economic Transition in the Former Soviet Republics.The economies of Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet republics have changed tremendously since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. As the structure of the economy has moved away from the "plan" to the "market," prices have been "liberalized" and state enterprises have been "privatized." In order to properly understand the nature and extent of these changes, students survey the performance of the Russian and Soviet economies from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. Topics include economic performance under the last of the tsars, war and communism, the New Economic Policy, the theory of economic planning, economic performance of the Soviet Union, transition theory and performance, and economic prospects for the twenty-first century. Open to first-year students. D. Aschauer.
BSAR 002. St. Petersburg: Peter's Impossible City.Founded by Peter the Great during Russia's lengthy war with Sweden, Sankt Pieter Burkh was celebrated as Peter's "window on the West." Peter the Great himself called it "paradise." But Peter's paradise was, for most Russians of the early eighteenth century, nothing more or less that the city of an after-death world founded by the tsar-antichrist. Sankt Pieter Burkh—later known as St. Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, or simply Piter, as more recent inhabitants affectionately call it—has survived domestic and foreign enemies, natural and civil disasters, and revolutions of all varieties. Today "Peter's impossible city" occupies a unique place in the Russian psyche. In this course students examine the city's symbolic place in Russian culture and its role in modern Russian history from 1703 to 2003. Open to first-year students. D. Browne.