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Undergraduate Program

Russian Courses

Below is a list of recently offered undergraduate courses. Not all of these courses are offered in any given year, and there may be other courses offered some years. Check the course schedules/descriptions available via the Registrar's Office for the official schedules for the widest range of terms for which such information is available.

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RUS 101 ELEMENTARY RUSSIAN I

Russian 101 is an introductory language course in which students learn fundamentals of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and speaking in the context of Russian culture. Emphasis will be on practical Russian language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing). Lecture sections combine interactive exercises and drills in Russian with presentations in English. Students must also register for recitation section twice a week in addition to the main class. Recitations focus on group work and practicing new material. There are six unit tests and daily assignments. No midterm or final.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

RUS 102 ELEMENTARY RUSSIAN II

Continuing introduction to Russian grammar, phonetics, conversation. Emphasis will be on practical Russian language skills. Lectures will combine drilling in Russian with presentations in English. By the end of the semester, students will have been introduced to the fundamental aspects of Russian grammar and lexicon.

Prerequisites: RUS 101 or placement
Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 107 RUSSIAN IN RUSSIA

Russian language and culture in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the month of June. Coursework in grammar, phonetics, conversation, reading, and culture, all oriented toward practical language skills. Lodging and meals with host families, and excursions in and around St. Petersburg, including a weekend trip to Moscow.

Last Offered: Summer 2017

RUS 110 CONVERSATIONAL RUSSIAN

Conversation course designed to help students with some knowledge of Russian grammar develop facility with the spoken language. Emphasis on vocabulary building. Class time devoted to debate, discussions, and conversations about current topics and aspects of contemporary Russian culture. Themes for discussion both extemporaneous and planned. Students are expected to prepare for the assigned themes in advance. Recommended in conjunction with any Russian language course, except for RUS 101, for extra oral practice. May be taken twice.

Prerequisites: RUS 101 or instructor's permission
Last Offered: Fall 2017

RUS 111 RUSHIN' THROUGH RUSSIAN: INTENSIVE ELEMENTARY RUSSIAN

Our intensive introductory Russian course covers first-year Russian in just six weeks. Successful students will be able to enroll in the Intermediate Russian class in the fall. This course is ideal for those who would like to learn Russian, but whose busy schedules have prevented them from pursuing this interest during the academic year. Students will attend class 3 hours daily. We will cover all 10 chapters of Book One of Голоса (Golosa), the textbook we use in RUS 101-102. Grading will be based on daily quizzes and weekly chapter tests.

Last Offered: Summer 2018

RUS 114 RUSSIAN CONVERSATION

Students cover various topics aimed at improving conversational skills in everyday situations.

Prerequisites: RUS 152 or permission of instructor.

RUS 123 RUSSIAN LIFE

The culture and history of everyday life in Russia.

RUS 124 BACKGROUND IN RUSSIAN STUDIES

Taught by a native speaker of Russian, this course is intended for those with a minimum of one year of college-level Russian. It is structured around Russian film and TV broadcasts and other authentic Russian-language materials. It offers students the chance to improve their comprehension and speaking skills. Those taking the course for 4 credits also work on additional written assignments in consultation with the instructor. Class taught in English.

RUS 126 RUSSIA NOW (4.0 CREDITS)

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 127 RUSSIA NOW (2.0 CREDITS)

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 128 RUSSIAN CIVILIZATION

Russian Civilization from its beginnings a thousand years ago to the present day. Each unit will cover historical and cultural background as well as literary texts. We will examine important national "myths" (narratives with a variable connection to the historical record) that govern the Russians' understanding of their history and culture, including: the Golden Age of Kiev, Moscow as the Third Rome, and the myths surrounding the city of Petersburg. We will analyze traditional tensions in Russian civilization which prevail today, such as those between: chaos and order, foreign influence and a strong national identity, innovation and tradition, and between radical skepticism and faith. Readings will include: Russian fairy tales and saints' lives, excerpts from the autobiography of the 17th century heretic Avvakum, tales by Pushkin and Gogol, one of Dostoevsky's most powerful and influential novels ("The Devils/Possessed"), and a wide range of materials from the twentieth century. In English.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 128W RUSSIAN CIVILIZATION

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2015

RUS 129 RUSSIAN CULTURE

A series of lectures, films, excursions, and field trips designed to acquaint students with contemporary Russian culture and political issues. Held in St. Petersburg.

RUS 151 INTERMEDIATE RUSSIAN I

Further development of grammatical concepts introduced in elementary Russian; building of vocabulary and comprehension skills; weekly film essays. One recitation per week.

Prerequisites: RUS 102 or placement
Last Offered: Fall 2017

RUS 152 INTERMEDIATE RUSSIAN II

Continuation of Intermediate Russian I (RUS 151): building of vocabulary, conversation and comprehension skills; weekly film essays. One recitation per week.

Prerequisites: RUS 151 or placement
Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 157 RUSSIAN IN RUSSIA

Russian language and culture in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the month of June. Coursework in grammar, phonetics, conversation, reading, and culture, all oriented toward practical language skills. Lodging and meals with host families, and excursions in and around St. Petersburg, including a weekend trip to Moscow.

Last Offered: Summer 2017

RUS 161 EUROPE TODAY

Students follow events in Europe (from Spain to Russia) using print and electronic sources. Weekly discussions, analysis. Final essay. In English.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

RUS 171 IMPERIAL RUSSIA

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2014

RUS 190Q TOLSTOY'S WAR & PEACE

A semester-long exploration of the world of War and Peace. The class works its way through the novel (in English) over the term, while looking at materials that help “unpack” it, including historical accounts of the same events and attempts by Russian, English, and American directors to capture the essence of the novel on film.

RUS 191Q DOSTOEVSKY

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2012

RUS 200 ADVANCED RUSSIAN I

Extensive reading of Russian prose with oral discussion and written compositions. Study of advanced Russian grammar topics.

Prerequisites: RUS 152 or placement
Last Offered: Spring 2014

RUS 202 ADVANCED READINGS IN RUSSIAN I

An introduction to the reading of longer texts in Russian and the development of advanced writing, comprehension and conversation skills in Russian. In addition, we cover advanced Russian grammar topics, such as gerunds, active and passive participles, reported speech, perception and thought. Class conducted primarily in Russian.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

RUS 205 ADVANCED READINGS IN RUSSIAN II

We read and discuss famous short stories by Pushkin, Gogol, Chekhov and others, write essays, make class presentations and cover various topics in advanced Russian grammar. Class conducted primarily in Russian. This class is aimed at advanced, non-heritage students.

Prerequisites: RUS 152, or equivalent.
Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 207 RUSSIAN IN RUSSIA

Advanced Russian language and culture in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the month of June. Coursework in grammar, phonetics, conversation, reading, and culture, all oriented toward practical language skills. Lodging and meals with host families, and excursions in and around St. Petersburg, including a weekend trip to Moscow.

Prerequisites: RUS 152 or placement
Last Offered: Summer 2017

RUS 209 ADVANCED RUSSIAN THROUGH FILM

Students cover various topics in grammar and syntax at the advanced level with an emphasis on practical applications. Students will view six widely acclaimed films, which will form the basis for the acquisition of written skills, grammatical accuracy and conversational fluency. Class conducted primarily in Russian.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

RUS 212 ADVANCED RUSSIAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE IN THE ORIGINAL I

This class is aimed at heritage speakers and non-native students who have completed at least three years of Russian. Literary texts appropriate to the abilities of the group are read and discussed. Special attention is paid to the development of writing skills. Class conducted in Russian. This class may be taken twice for credit.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 215 ADVANCED RUSSIAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE IN THE ORIGINAL II

Reading, composition and conversation for advanced students and heritage speakers of Russian. Class conducted in Russian.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

RUS 218 ADVANCED RUSSIAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE IN THE ORIGINAL III

This course is a continuation of RUS 212 and 215. Prior enrollment in RUS 212 and 215 is not required.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

RUS 220 ADV LIT & CULT ORIGINAL II

No description

RUS 222 RUSSIAN DRAMA

Introduces the Russian theater in its cultural and political context, with close readings of plays from the late 18th century to the late 20th century by Catherine II, Griboedov, Gogol, Ostrovsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Kharms, Bulgakov, and others. In English.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

RUS 224 RUSSIAN ART

The history of Russian art and architecture from the Christianization of Russia through the twentieth century. Students learn how to read icons, discern the major features of Russian churches, and follow the development of Russian painting from the age of realism to modern times. In English.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 226 CULTURE IN CHAOS: RUSSIA'S SILVER AGE

From the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 to the rise of the Soviet Union in 1925, Russia was the scene of political and cultural upheaval. The literature of this period is especially rich, with great poetic talents (Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Mayakovsky) and blockbuster novels (Sologub’s Petty Demon and Bely’s Petersburg), but all the arts participated. In addition to literature, this course will examine developments in music (Stravinsky, Scriabin), drama (the Moscow Art Theatre), painting (Vrubel, Roerich, Goncharova, Malevich), and dance (the Ballet Russe). No longer simply adapting foreign forms, Russian culture was at the forefront of the European avant-garde. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 began to bring this cultural renaissance to an end, and rising Soviet Power sent its remaining creative spirits underground or abroad, but its influence and memory in Russian and world culture has lasted till this day.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 229 ST. PETERSBURG IN RUSSIAN CULTURE

No description

RUS 231 GREAT RUSSIAN WRITERS

This is a chronological survey of the most important Russian writers of the 19th century, from the end of romanticism through the rise of realism to the advent of modernism. We read Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse Eugene Onegin, Mikhail Lermontov's psychological study Hero of Our Time, Nikolai Gogol's comic masterpiece Dead Souls, Ivan Goncharov's novel about a man who cannot get out of bed, Oblomov, Ivan Turgenev's novel about generational differences Fathers and Sons, Dostoevsky's suspense novel The Gambler, and two plays by the forerunner of modern theater, Anton Chekhov: Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters. Our goal is twofold: to understand the shape and development of Russian prose in the 19th century; and to heighten our own appreciation of fine literature. Four 5-page essays. In English.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

RUS 231W GREAT RUSSIAN WRITERS

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2016

RUS 235 TOLSTOY'S "WAR AND PEACE"

A semester-long exploration of one of the most important novels in Western literature. To help guide our reading, we will analyze two important early short works by Tolstoy on the themes of war and peace. We will also read excerpts from historical and biographical accounts. We will pay close attention to the novel’s meditation on the relationship between fact and fiction in works of historical literature; its preoccupation with theories of history; its subversion of historical narratives; its various philosophical and moral propositions; and its unique contribution to the Russian idea of literature’s role as a kind of textbook for how we should live. We will also view Russian, American and British attempts to film the novel, including Woody Allen’s 1975 parody, Love and Death. In English.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

RUS 235W TOLSTOY'S WAR AND PEACE

A semester-long exploration of the world of War and Peace. Besides a close analysis of the novel, we read two important short works by Tolstoy and excerpts from historical accounts. We also view Russian, American and British attempts to film the novel. In English.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

RUS 237 DOSTOEVSKY

Dostoevsky has been called “a sick, cruel talent,” “a prophet of God,” “the Shakespeare of the lunatic asylum,” and “Russia's evil genius.” An avid student of human psychology, Dostoevsky was fascinated by the irrational aspects of human behavior. He was therefore skeptical of the rational utopian schemes of the radical materialists of his day and proposed instead that the best definition of the human being is “biped, ungrateful.” His works probe the psychological paradoxes of human behavior against the background of philosophical, theological, and ideological inquiries into the burning issues of his day and the cursed questions of human existence, such as the existence of evil and innocent suffering and the death of God. We unpack the writer’s life and works through close readings of important works, including "Poor Folk," "Letters from the House of the Dead," "Notes from Underground," "Crime and Punishment" and "Brothers Karamazov." In English. Freshmen welcome.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

RUS 237W DOSTOEVSKY

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2015

RUS 238 SOLZHENITSYN: WRITER, PROPHET, WITNESS

In fiction (Ivan Denisovich, First Circle) and non-fiction (Gulag Archipelago, Oak and Calif, Alexander Solzhenitsyn witnessed history and changed it.

RUS 238W SOLZHENITSYN: WRITER, PROPHET, WITNESS

In fiction (Ivan Denisovich, First Circle) and non-fiction (Gulag Archipelago, Oak and Calif, Alexander Solzhenitsyn witnessed history and changed it.

RUS 240 NABOKOV: UNUSUAL ÉMIGRÉ

A survey of the writer's Russian and American works and his contribution to world literature. Reading his most renowned novels, we will acquire an understanding of Nabokov's style, philosophy and ethical principles. Our discussions will address his ideas of life and death, space and time, regularity and chance, as well as such issues as otherness, individual freedom, and independent thinking. We will also analyze Nabokov's artistic discourse as we attempt to assess his legacy: was he a trickster as some critics describe him, or a deep thinker and brilliant stylist, as others argue? As an American college professor, whose lectures have been published, how did the author himself think literature should be taught? Readings include King, Queen, Knave, The Defense, Camera Obscura, Invitation to a Beheading, The Gift, Lolita, Pnin and Speak Memory. In English.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

RUS 243 CHEKHOV AND THE MODERN SHORT STORY

This course covers Chekhov’s short stories within the context of Russian and European/American literature of the 19th century. The short story as a literary genre, conceived as late as the end of the 18th century, grew and matured in the course of the 19th century. Edgar Allan Poe, Nikolai Gogol, Mark Twain, Ivan Turgenev, Prosper Mérimée, Lev Tolstoy, Gui De Maupassant and many other European and American writers secured its venerable position in literature. The works of Anton Chekhov are at the pinnacle of civic, lyric, and psychological realism of the 19th century. At the same time, his short stories bridge 20th century modernism, preparing the ground for Soviet avant-garde on the one hand, and the modernist writings of Ivan Bunin and Vladimir Nabokov on the other. In English.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

RUS 243W CHEKHOV AND THE MODERN SHORT STORY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

RUS 244 THE IMAGE OF CHRIST IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE

Jesus Christ has dominated Russian art and culture for a thousand years. We will contrast the Jesus of history with the Christ of faith, compare Gospel accounts, analyze icons and saints lives and then focus on important novels of the 19th and 20th centuries by Tolstoy (Resurrection), Dostoevsky (Idiot), Mikhail Bulgakov (Master and Margarita) and Boris Pasternak (Dr. Zhivago) that address the image of Christ. In English.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

RUS 244W RUSSIA GOES TO MOVIES

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2015

RUS 246 IMAGE OF CHRIST IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE

The image of Christ has dominated Russian art and culture for a thousand years. Indeed, it may even be argued that Russian literature began with Jesus Christ, for in its earliest forms—the numerous accounts written of saints’ lives—it dealt with little else than living in accordance with the words and deeds of Christ. After briefly setting the context, the course focuses on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, exploring the extraordinary range of poetic encounters with the figure of Jesus in works by Tolstoy, Dotoevsky, Aleksandr Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, and Venedikt Erofeev.

RUS 247 SECRET NATION

The cult and culture of secrecy in Russia from Ivan the Terrible to the present. Russia was always an enigma, as tsarist and Soviet governments gathered and controlled information. The Russian people kept information from the government, and foreign states sent out disinformation of their own about Russia. There was an active underground in religion, literature, politics, the economy, and other areas. With glasnost, Gorbachev began the process of uncovering secrets from above, and a freer press began to do the same from below. We use materials from history, religion, literature, film, political science, and economics, to get a richly detailed picture of the information that was hidden, and the means by which this was accomplished. Official secrecy that was originally a defensive move came to undermine the state it sought to protect. At the end of the semester we see to what extent old habits of secrecy persists in Russia today. The course is taught in English.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

RUS 247W SECRET NATION

The cult and culture of secrecy in Russia from Ivan the Terrible to the present. Russia was always an enigma, as tsarist and Soviet governments gathered and controlled information. The Russian people kept information from the government, and foreign states sent out disinformation of their own about Russia. There was an active underground in religion, literature, politics, the economy, and other areas. With glasnost, Gorbachev began the process of uncovering secrets from above, and a freer press began to do the same from below. We use materials from history, religion, literature, film, political science, and economics, to get a richly detailed picture of the information that was hidden, and the means by which this was accomplished. Official secrecy that was originally a defensive move came to undermine the state it sought to protect. At the end of the semester we see to what extent old habits of secrecy persists in Russia today. The course is taught in English.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

RUS 248 Russian Identity: Continuity/Disruption

Russia's self-image as it has evolved from Kievan Rus to the present, the product of geography, war, religion, strong leaders, brilliant writers, and other factors. Readings include works by Russian (Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky), Jewish (Zionists, Sholem Aleichem, Babel), and Soviet authors, and the transcript of a conference on post-Soviet identity, held on the eve of Putin's presidency. At the conclusion of the course, we will look at Russia 2016, where a resurgent national identity has serious repercussions for the West. In English.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

RUS 248W RUSSIAN IDENTITY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2016

RUS 250 TOPICS IN 20TH CENTURY RUSSIAN LITERATURE

Undergraduate seminar.

RUS 264 RUSSIAN LITERATURE OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA

Some of the greatest literature by Russian writers of the twentieth century was written outside of Russia, sometimes not even in Russian. It was written by writers who fled abroad after the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 or who were later expelled by the Soviet authorities. This literature—banned in the Soviet Union until a few years before its collapse —constitutes a unique body of fiction that exists on the border between two cultures: that of the writers’ abandoned Russian homeland and that of their adopted home country. This course provides a survey of the most prominent authors and works of this literature in exile.

RUS 265 RUSSIAN LITERATURE BETWEEN THE REVOLUTIONS

A survey of emblematic stories and novels of the Soviet period, including works describing the first decade of the new regime, a Socialist Realist classic of the 1930s, literary tributes to Stalin, a manuscript that “would not burn” and important post-Stalin works that anticipate the literary renewal of the immediate post-Soviet period. In English.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

RUS 265W RUSSIAN LITERATURE BETWEEN THE REVOLUTIONS

A survey of emblematic stories and novels of the Soviet period, including works describing the first decade of the new regime, a Socialist Realist classic of the 1930s, literary tributes to Stalin, a manuscript that “would not burn” and important post-Stalin works that anticipate the literary renewal of the immediate post-Soviet period. In English.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

RUS 267 RUSSIA GOES TO MOVIES

The dawn of the age of movies coincided with the Russian Revolution, and film was Lenin’s favorite art form. The course surveys Russian film from the beginnings to the present. The course investigates the major role that cinema played in shaping the national and political identity of the Soviet Union, and looks at what was artistically interesting and popular about these films, some of whose directors, like Eisenstein and Tarkovsky, are among the world’s most influential filmmakers.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

RUS 267W RUSSIA GOES TO MOVIES

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2016

RUS 289 DANGEROUS TEXTS

When modern Russian literature began to evolve in the mid-1600s, the printed or written text was immediately seen as a potential danger to the power of Church and State. In this course we will examine dangerous texts' from the 17th century to the present to see what aspects of texts and their authors were seen as threats and how these threats were dealt with. We will also see the ways in which writers did indeed perceive themselves as a second government' and how this changed the way they wrote. The reading list will include works by: Avvakum, Radishchev, Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Babel, Mayakovsky, Mandelstam, Pasternak, Yevtushenko, Solzhenitsyn, Voinovich, Grossman, and Sinyavsky/Tertz. The goal of this course is to arrive at an understanding of the unique role played by literature in Russian history. In English.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

RUS 289W DANGEROUS TEXTS

When modern Russian literature began to evolve in the mid-1600s, the printed or written text was immediately seen as a potential danger to the power of Church and State. In this course we will examine dangerous texts' from the 17th century to the present to see what aspects of texts and their authors were seen as threats and how these threats were dealt with. We will also see the ways in which writers did indeed perceive themselves as a second government' and how this changed the way they wrote. The reading list will include works by: Avvakum, Radishchev, Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Babel, Mayakovsky, Mandelstam, Pasternak, Yevtushenko, Solzhenitsyn, Voinovich, Grossman, and Sinyavsky/Tertz. The goal of this course is to arrive at an understanding of the unique role played by literature in Russian history. In English.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

RUS 390 INDEPENDENT STUDY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 391 INDEPENDENT STUDY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 392 PRACTICUM

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 393 SENIOR ESSAY

A paper based upon independent study; required of concentrators.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

RUS 443 CHEKHOV AND THE MODERN SHORT STORY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017