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Regular version of the site

Curriculum

Language Courses

Elective Courses

Language Courses

INTERMEDIATE Russian

Prerequisites: Intermediate level of Russian or permission of the instructor for heritage students.

The course is designed for students who need to master their language skills. An emphasis is put on the development of correct speech production and adequate comprehension of spoken and written speech.

Course components:

Conversation practice: speaking on topics of everyday life as well as on social, and academic topics; practicing formal and informal language registers with special emphasis being put on expressing one’s point of view, argumentation, and discussion of select texts and videos;

Grammar: developing expertise in common grammar patterns and practicing more complicated grammar forms;

Reading: abridged and unabridged texts in Russian for reading, comprehension, and subsequent discussion;

Phonetics is offered to the extent required to improve pronunciation, with special attention to typical problems for American speakers of Russian;

Writing: composing short essays on a variety of topics with the aim of improving students' writing skills.

U.S. Credits: 8

ADVANCED Russian

Prerequisites: Intermediate-high level of Russian (not required for heritage students).

This course is conducted entirely in Russian and is targeted at students with a substantial language background, with fluency and accuracy in spoken Russian who are capable of writing at length with minimum errors.

Course components:

Conversation practice: aims at expanding active vocabulary on social, political, and academic topics; advancing one’s knowledge of idiomatic language, developing argumentation skills, and discussion of select texts and videos;

Grammar: the course helps to systematize grammar patterns already familiar to students and introduces more complicated issues of grammar use;

Reading: the course offers authentic unabridged texts in Russian for reading and comprehension;

Phonetics is offered to the extent required to improve pronunciation, with special attention to typical problems for American speakers of Russian;

Writing: creative writing of essays and projects, reviewing particular difficulties in mastering written Russian.

U.S. Credits: 8

Elective Courses

Fall Courses

The Intellectual History of Russian Modernism

 

Ilona Svetlikova

Instructor

 

The  course   will  соvеr   the   history   of  Russian   modernism in the context of Russian intellectual history. Due to the wide range of intellectual interests of the major Russian modernists, analysis of their works necessarily demands an interdisciplinary approach. The course will cover writings bу Symbolists, avant-garde poetry  and  painting and literary  and  artistic criticism against the background of contemporary developments in science, philosophy, and religious thought. ln particular, we will read and  discuss  one of the  literary  masterpieces of the period,  Andrej Belyj's Petersburg(1913),  taking  into account the author's  numerous non-literary sources ranging from studies in psychology to mystical treatises.

U.S. Credits: 4

Political Development in Contemporary Russia

Dmitry Goncharov

Instructor

 

The course is designed to provide students with the necessary theoretical and empirical background for the study of Russian politics.  It will cover a broad set of issues, including those concerning the historical legacy of communism; post-communist political institution-building; and the social, cultural, and economic context of the post-Soviet political transformation.

 

U.S. Credits: 4

The Russian Empire: Sovereignty, Nationalism, and Politics of Diversity

Alexander Semyonov

Instructor

 

Political scientists seek lessons from historic empires for understanding the post-Cold War international order; sociologists follow the imperial thread  in studies of globalization and multiculturalism.This course will introduce students to the historical understanding of one of the world's historic empires. General questions of domination, diversity, connectivity (а definition of empire  in а nutshell) will be refracted through the historical experience of the Russian Empire, which included conquest and expansion, accommodation and resistance in an ethnically and confessionally diverse population, crises of modern reforms and revolutions. Although histories of continental empires аrе generally written to convey а sense of duality and persistence of dynastic imperial rule, this course will рау special attention to moments of crises and ruptures, including the rise of the challenge of modern nationalism, which proved to be productive for the redefinition and realignment of Russian imperial politics and political visions in the19th and early 20th centuries.

U.S. Credits: 4

EU-Russia Relations Today

Anna A. Dekalchuk

Associate Professor

 

This course explores the problems and potential solutions driving EU-Russia relations. We will talk about the internal workings of both the EU and the Russian state, define their foreign policy modes, and trace the way the relations unfolded since the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. If you want to learn why Corfu Island is so important for the relations between Brussels and the Kremlin, what EU-Russian Common Spaces are, or trace the role of the Russian national champion Gazprom in EU-Russia energy relations, this course is for you.

U.S. Credits: 4

Stalinist Culture of the 1930's

Jonathan Brooks Platt

Associate Professor

 

This course will introduce students to topics in the aesthetics, politics, thought, and everyday life of the Soviet 1930s. More than a historical survey of Stalin’s “revolution from above,” the course will explore and question the basic conceptual foundations of Stalinist culture. We will examine major shifts in the ruling ideology, stylistic nuances of the period’s art, literature, film, and journalism, and the driving motifs behind Stalinist society’s frenzied, often contradictory construction of cultural identity. A primary goal of the course will be to reconcile official discourse with the everyday realities of Soviet life in the 1930s. Rather than simply look for misalignments between propaganda and reality, we will attempt to understand how representations of the utopian project of building socialism were interconnected with Soviet citizens’ actual experience. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • - analyze different artifacts of 1930s Stalinist culture in a range of media and genres;
  • - discuss the underlying conceptual framework of Stalinism as a worldview and a form of daily social practice;
  • - relate the tragic case of the Soviet 1930s to broader trends and problems in modern life and politics
U.S. Credits: 4

Spring Courses

Russian Romanticism and its European contexts: Philosophical foundations, genres, personalities

Boris Gasparov

Instructor

 

The course follows the development of Russian Romanticism as an integral part of European intellectual and literary life in the first third of the nineteenth century: from intensely dialogical early Romantic circles (the Athenaeum in Germany, the Coppet circle in France-Switzerland, and the Arzamas in Russia), to the emergence of new genres (fragment, poetic epistle, narrative poem)  and of a new psychological profile of the author and the hero (Byron, Pushkin, Constant), to, finally, to the drift toward philosophy of history in the 1830s, and the way it illuminated works of such authors as Büchner, Musset, the late Pushkin, Gogol, Chaadaev. Among the conceptual problems raised in the course are: the philosophical meaning of the fragmentariness; the concept of the "modern man"; the dialogue with the reader; the idea of history as a formative intellectual frame of a literary work; women, and images of women, as an integral part of the Romantic.

U.S. Credits: 4

Religion and Society in Russia

Jeanne Kormina

Instructor

 

The course provides аn introduction to the ethnographic study of religion with а focus оn the post-Soviet space, and Russia  in particular. How  does religion influence the way people seek to shape and reshape their own selves and the meaningful world they  live  in? How does it help in creating а "usable past" in its relation to the post-Soviet present? How саn religious discourse bе used for "silent criticism· of social injustice and other social problems? How and why does the state try to regulate religious expression, and what are the consequences of  such regulation? The goal of the course is to come to а better understanding of the diverse ways of defining and practicing religion and to discuss their consequences for social identities and relations of power. The course includes а field trip to one of the holy places ln St. Petersburg where students саn observe devotional practices of believers.

U.S. Credits: 4

Russia's International Relations: Seminal Texts and Principal Symbols

Sergei Akopov

Instructor

 

In this course we approach the sociocultural premises of Russian foreign policy, which often remain implicit yet invite direct inquiry. We use the concept of symbolic politics to ‘untangle’ four dimensions of Russia’s international relations: the language with which Russians define their society (the ‘we’ dimension); how Russia frames messages about its ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ (the ‘significant others’ dimension); how Russian elites produce narratives and metaphors of collective memory (the ‘time’ dimension); and how Russia perceives its geopolitical space (the dimension of ‘political space’).

These four dimensions comprise the four principal sections of the course. We will study the texts of key public intellectuals, analyzing Russia’s role in modern world politics in relation to what shapes the country’s identity (often referred to as ‘the derzhava’), and to how Russian ruling elites construct relationships with both the West and China. We will examine key narratives of Russia’s ‘heroes’, ‘triumphs’, and ‘historical victims’ (WWII), as well as the principal symbols of geopolitical space (for example, the Crimean Peninsula).

U.S. Credits: 4

Education and Science in Russia from Peter the Great to the 21th century

Marina Loskutova

Instructor

 

The course will provide a broad overview of the history of education and science in modern Russia from the early 18th century to the present by focusing on several major themes: the diffusion and appropriation of ‘Western science’ in Eastern Europe (and Russia in particular) and the making of ‘Russian science’; institutional reforms and ‘counter-reforms’ and their implications for the history of education and science in Russia; traditions and innovations in education and science in Russia; and the perception of Russian education and science in the West. The course seeks to explore the categories of “Western” and “Russian” scientific cultures and educational traditions by historicizing the normative concepts of “Western science” and “national science and education.”

U.S. Credits: 4

The Intellectual History of Russian Modernism

The course will cover the history of Russian modernism in the context of Russian intellectual history. Due to the wide range of intellectual interests of the major Russian modernists, analysis of their works necessarily demands an interdisciplinary approach. In the course, we will cover writings by Symbolists, avant-garde poetry and painting, and literary and artistic criticism against the background of contemporary developments in science, philosophy, and religious thought. In particular, we will read and discuss one of the literary masterpieces of the period, Andrej Belyj’s Petersburg (1913), taking into account the author’s numerous non-literary sources ranging from studies in psychology to mystical treatises.

Instructor: Ilona Svetlikova

(Fall)

Credits: 4

 

Political Development in Contemporary Russia

The course is designed to provide students with the necessary theoretical and empirical background for the study of Russian politics.  It will cover a broad set of issues, including those concerning the historical legacy of communism; post-communist political institution-building; and the social, cultural, and economic context of the post-Soviet political transformation.

Instructor: Dmitry Goncharov

(Fall)

Credits: 4

 

The Russian Empire: Sovereignty, Nationalism, and Politics of Diversity

Political scientists seek lessons from historic empires for understanding the post-Cold War international order; sociologists follow the imperial thread in studies of globalization and multiculturalism. This course will introduce students to the historical understanding of one of the world’s historic empires. General questions of domination, diversity, connectivity (a definition of empire in a nutshell) will be refracted through the historical experience of the Russian Empire, which included conquest and expansion, accommodation and resistance in an ethnically and confessionally diverse population, crises of modern reforms and revolutions. Although histories of continental empires are generally written to convey a sense of durability and persistence of dynastic imperial rule, this course will pay special attention to moments of crises and ruptures, including the rise of the challenge of modern nationalism, which proved to be productive for the redefinition and realignment of Russian imperial politics and political visions in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Instructor: Alexander Semyonov

(Fall)

Credits: 4

 

War, Trauma, and Memory in Soviet Cinema of the 1960s

This course explores the relationship between cinema and cultural memory. It examines the role of cinema with regard to the memoralozation of historical events, with a particular focus on the representation of the Second World War in the Soviet cinema of the 1960s. The postwar period witnessed a renaissance in cinema, of which the most famous examples are Italian neorealism and the French New Wave. In the Soviet Union, a new generation of filmmakers emerged who expressed similar concerns with youth and alienation as their counterparts elsewhere in Europe. At the same time. These filmmakers were also preoccupied with the traumas of the past – traumas which they did not directly experience themselves but the aftereffects of which continued to haunt them. In this respect, their works can be seen in the context of postmemory – the relationship of the second generation to the trauma of the first.

Instructor: JJ Gurga

(Fall)

Credits: 4

 

Russian Modernism through the Lens of Music

The course will cover the history of Russian music from the late Tchaikovsky and Scriabin to Schnittke and the last works of Shostakovich, in the context of the artistic and cultural trends of the period.

Instructor: Boris Gasparov

 (Spring)

Credits: 4

 

Religion and Society in Russia

The course provides an introduction to the ethnographic study of religion with a focus on the post-Soviet space, and Russia in particular. How does religion influence the way people seek to shape and reshape their own selves and the meaningful world they live in? How does it help in creating a "usable past" in its relation to the post-Soviet present? How can religious discourse be used for "silent criticism" of social injustice and other social problems? How and why does the state try to regulate religious expression, and what are the consequences of such regulation? The goal of the course is to come to a better understanding of the diverse ways of defining and practicing religion, and to discuss their consequences for social identities and relations of power. The course includes a field trip to one of the holy places in St. Petersburg where students can observe devotional practices of believers.

Instructor: Jeanne Kormina

(Spring)

Credits: 4

 

Russia's International Relations: Seminal Texts and Principal Symbols

In this course we approach the sociocultural premises of Russian foreign policy, which often remain implicit yet invite direct inquiry. We use the concept of symbolic politics to ‘untangle’ four dimensions of Russia’s international relations: the language with which Russians define their society (the ‘we’ dimension); how Russia frames messages about its ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ (the ‘significant others’ dimension); how Russian elites produce narratives and metaphors of collective memory (the ‘time’ dimension); and how Russia perceives its geopolitical space (the dimension of ‘political space’).

These four dimensions comprise the four principal sections of the course. We will study the texts of key public intellectuals, analyzing Russia’s role in modern world politics in relation to what shapes the country’s identity (often referred to as ‘the derzhava’), and to how Russian ruling elites construct relationships with both the West and China. We will examine key narratives of Russia’s ‘heroes’, ‘triumphs’, and ‘historical victims’ (WWII), as well as the principal symbols of geopolitical space (for example, the Crimean Peninsula).

 

Instructor: Sergei Akopov

(Spring)

Credits: 4

 

Education and Science in Russia from Peter the Great to the 21th century

The course will provide a broad overview of the history of education and science in modern Russia from the early 18th century to the present by focusing on several major themes: the diffusion and appropriation of ‘Western science’ in Eastern Europe (and Russia in particular) and the making of ‘Russian science’; institutional reforms and ‘counter-reforms’ and their implications for the history of education and science in Russia; traditions and innovations in education and science in Russia; and the perception of Russian education and science in the West. The course seeks to explore the categories of “Western” and “Russian” scientific cultures and educational traditions by historicizing the normative concepts of “Western science” and “national science and education.”

Instructor: Marina Loskutova

(Spring)

Credits: 4

 


 

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