RUSS 101 Elementary Russian I
This course, offered in the fall semester as part of a yearlong sequence, introduces students to Russian language and culture with an emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students also engage with culture and everyday life in modern Russia through a variety of authentic texts including music, film, and television. Conducted in Russian.
RUSS 102 Elementary Russian II
This course, offered in the winter semester, is a continuation of RUSS 101 with an emphasis on acquiring all four language competencies. The course continues to foster building basic fluency and ability to read simplified passages in Russian. Students continue their immersion in Russian culture through authentic materials including music, animation, film, and social media. Conducted in Russian.
RUSS 111 Protestors, Punks, and Pioneers: Youth in Eastern Europe
This course examines the role of youth and student culture in shaping East European societies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Course materials including film, literature, journalism, and music provide an introduction to East European cultural and social history and encourage students to explore themes of identity, activism, expression, and community. As students move from considering the role of youth in the Russian Revolution to contemporary student protests in support of human rights, class discussions bring new perspectives to the ways young people both navigate and foster change in the times and spaces they occupy.
RUSS 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.
RUSS 201 Intermediate Russian I
This course, offered in the fall semester, is a continuation of Elementary Russian, with an emphasis on fostering all four language competencies. Students focus on more detailed study of grammatical issues; vocabulary building and intermediate fluency; reading more complicated, unedited Russian prose texts; and engaging in composing extended forms of written discourse. Students are immersed in contemporary Russian culture through a variety of authentic materials including music, animation, film, art, social media, and press. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite(s): RUSS 102.
RUSS 202 Intermediate Russian II
This course, offered in the winter semester, is a continuation of RUSS 201 and completes students’ introduction to the structure of the Russian language. Emphasis is placed on students’ written and verbal communication skills with a focus on expressing opinions and perspectives. This course culminates in a student-written and -produced film synthesizing the language and cultural awareness students build in their first two years of Russian studies. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite(s): RUSS 201.
RUSS 216 Nature in the Cultures of Russia
This course explores the connections among environment, culture, and identity in the Eurasian landmass that has been home to Russians, Siberians, and Central Asians. After a brief consideration of the ways in which Russian identities have been grounded in deeply conservative understandings of land and peasantry, students consider alternative and revisionist versions that draw on “nature” to explore gender, sexuality, and ethnicity, often in direct opposition to the state. Conducted in English.
RUSS 230 Cold War Identities: Competing Images of Self and Society in the US and the Soviet Union
Cold War Identities explores the ways the combative and competitive culture of the Cold War impacted discourses surrounding race, sexual and gender identities, and national and ethnic identities in the United States, the Soviet Union, and in their respective spheres of influence. Working with materials from across cultural, political, and commercial spheres, students will engage with a fundamental contradiction of the Cold War: the ways superpowers both self-represented as bastions or freedom and progress, while simultaneously using the context of international competition as a justification for persecution of minoritized people within their own countries. With a focus on primary documents, the course builds students’ skills in evaluating and understanding discussions and representations of identity and their impacts across a broad range of media and popular culture.
RUSS 247 Contemporary Russia on Film
The course engages students with contemporary Russia through cinema and discusses a European culture that is, at the same time, non-Western in its political make up. Topics discussed include the colonial center and its contemporary political and cultural ambitions, imperial periphery and Russia’s “quiet others,” the Russian Idea in New Auteurism, Putin’s blockbusters, Russia’s alterities (minorities, sexualities, taboo Russia), Global Russia (the United States, Europe, Russia, and Ukraine).
RUSS 301 Advanced Russian I
This course, normally offered in the fall semester, focuses on advancing students’ fluency in Russian in all four competencies. Students are exposed to a variety of unedited materials and registers and work closely with contemporary Russian culture. Emphasis is placed on engaging students in advanced language production and their critical analysis of major Russian cultural figures, trends, media, and politics. Conducted in Russian. This course may be repeated once for credit with permission of the instructor. Prerequisite(s): RUSS 202.
RUSS 302 Advanced Russian II
This course, normally offered in the winter semester, is a continuation of RUSS 301, in which students read and discuss texts in a variety of styles from literature to journalism. Students write a number of short papers ranging from opinion pieces to literary parodies. Conducted in Russian. This course may be repeated once for credit with permission of the instructor. Prerequisite(s): RUSS 202.
RUSS 317 Beyond Human: Cyborgs and Technology
What is a cyborg and how does this political and cultural concept evolve through various historical periods? How are transformative relations between humans, animals, and machines imagined across cultural texts? What is post- and transhumanism? The course examines changing ideas of constructing, enhancing, and technologizing body and mind in the Soviet Union and modern Russia. Students engage with ideas of the biopolitical remaking of humans, rejuvenating bodies surgically, prosthetically, pharmacologically, and digitally. Topics discussed include technologies of gender and gender technologies, identity politics, immortalization narratives, geopolitics. Taught in English. Recommended background: prior coursework in literature or film.
RUSS 360 Independent Study
RUSS 365 Special Topics
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.