About

🇺🇦 The Department of German and Russian Studies’ Statement Regarding Russia’s Military Assault on Ukraine

The faculty in the Department of German and Russian Studies at Bates College condemns Russia’s military attack on Ukraine. It is our duty as scholars to stand against the ahistorical and hegemonic narratives being used to legitimize Russia’s invasion of a sovereign country. We also want to emphasize that the current aggression does not reflect the opinion of all Russian citizens who express their opposition to Putin’s declaration of war on Ukraine, both in the Russian Federation and worldwide. We stand in solidarity with Bates students and alumni from Ukraine and of Ukrainian heritage who are directly affected by these events. We also invite all our students to reach out to us for conversation and support.

Contemporary central and eastern Europe consists of heterogeneous societies with contested cultural traditions. Offerings in the Department of German and Russian Studies investigate important interconnections among history, society, culture, and language in the region. The curricula in German and Russian explore societies challenged and invigorated by change and stress the importance of attaining fluency not only in the language but also in the nuances of cultural understanding.

The department offers a major and a minor in German and a minor in Russian. The department also contributes to the interdisciplinary program in European studies.

Language host of Bates International Poetry Festival http://axis.bates.edu/poetryfest/

Spotlight on Our Courses:

SHORT TERM ’22:
RUSS s27. From Baba Yaga to Putin: Myths and Legends in Russian Culture. 
The course analyzes many aspects of Russian folk and popular culture from pre-Christian to post-Soviet Russia and how folklore continues to influence contemporary Russian culture. The first part of the course concentrates on Russian folk belief as expressed through oral lore, visual arts, and music. The second part of the course focuses on the myth and folktale in the Soviet Union. The course concludes with the uses of folklore in Putin’s Russia and the interaction between the forms of traditional folklore and modern popular culture.
Instructor: Marina Filipovic
Language: English

SHORT TERM ’22:
INDS s22. Puppets: Theory, Practice, and Play. 
This interdisciplinary course examines the questions, concepts, and potential surrounding puppets through a combination of hands-on work and play with puppets, discussion, readings, and viewings of puppet performances. Readings and other materials offer perspectives on what puppets are, how they interact with audiences, and what makes puppet performance a distinct forum for exploring questions about bodies and identities. Students test these ideas together using actual puppets to see how theory and practice collide. The course concludes with a collective project using puppets to engage with the community at Bates and beyond. Cross-listed in EUS, GER, RUSS and THEA.
Instructor: Cheryl Stephenson
Language: English

FALL SEMESTER ’22:
EU/RU 112. Gangsters and Gulags: Crime in Russia and Eastern Europe. 
This course explores the history and shifting contexts of crime and punishment in Russia and Eastern Europe from the nineteenth century to the present. Central questions for the course include how crimes against the state, against property, and against individuals differ; how gender, religious, and ethnic identities impact ideas about criminality; and how legality and morality are related. As students explore literary texts, first-person narratives, films, and other media depicting crime and criminals, they discuss what kinds of norms and values are reinforced or undermined by ideas and actions surrounding crime.
Instructor: Cheryl Stephenson
Language: English

EU/GR 254. Berlin and Vienna, 1900–1914
From the beginning of the twentieth century to the outbreak of World War I, the capital cities of Berlin and Vienna were home to major political and cultural developments, including diverse modernist movements in art, architecture, literature, and music. The ascending German Empire and the multiethnic Habsburg Empire teetering on the verge of collapse provide the context within which this course examines important texts of the time, as well as narratives created during and after WW1 that take a look back at the last decades of both empires.
Instructors: Raluca Cernahoschi and Jakub Kazecki
Language: English

GER 262. The Split Screen: Reconstructing National Identities in West and East German Cinema
The course will introduce you to the turbulent history of Germany and its people in the 20th and 21st centuries through the medium of film. The selection of films focuses on the Nazi past and the consequences of the lost war, stories of divided Germany created on both sides of the border, and productions that portray the reunification of Germany in the 1990s and the processes of European integration in the 2000s.
Instructor: Jakub Kazecki Language: English

GER 341. Landscapes and Cityscapes in German Media
This course examines the construction of space in a variety of historical and contemporary German media, answering questions such as: What landscapes and cityscapes contribute to German identity and how? How do geographical location, cultural particularity, and historical context contribute to (sometimes contested) discourses on these spaces? And how have German speakers conceptualized and colonized “other” spaces in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas?
Instructor: Jakub Kazecki
Language: German