Russian Course Descriptions

Russian 120 - First-year Russian

Full course for one year. Essentials of grammar and readings in simplified texts. The course is conducted in Russian as much as possible. Conference.

Russian 220 - Second-year Russian

Full course for one year. Readings, systematic grammar review, verbal drill, and writing of simple prose. The course is conducted in Russian and is intended for students interested in active use of the language. Prerequisite: Russian 120 or placement based on results of the Russian language exam. Conference.

Russian 266 - Russian Short Fiction

Full course for one semester. Intended for lower-division students, this course is devoted to close readings of short stories and novellas by such 19th- and 20th-century writers as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Babel, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Askyonov, and Tolstaya. Our approach is twofold. First, we attempt “open” readings, taking our texts as representatives of a single tradition in which later works are engaged in a dialogue with their predecessors. Second, we use the readings as test cases for a variety of critical approaches. Meets English departmental requirement for 200-level genre courses. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference.

Russian 300 - Advanced Russian: Language, Style, and Culture

Full course for one year. This course is designed to meet the needs of students striving to reach an advanced level of competency in reading, speaking, listening, and writing in Russian. The course expands and deepens the student's understanding of expressive nuances of Russian through a study of select lexical, morphological, syntactical, and rhetorical features and through an examination of their contextual usage in appropriate target texts—nonfiction research literature, belles-lettristic, and mass media—and corresponding cultural matrices. Case study materials include neoclassical, romantic, realistic, and modernist poetic and prose texts: scholarly texts, journalism, "pulp" fictions, and Russian "rap" lyrics. Course assignments include grammar review, structured composition exercises, and oral presentations. Reading, writing, and discussion are conducted in Russian, though theoretical materials will include English-language sources. Prerequisite: Russian 220, or equivalent proficiency (placement based on the Russian language examination). This advanced language course fulfills the Group D requirement. Conference.

Russian 339 - Masculinities in Russian Culture

Full course for one semester. The course examines how modern Russian literature and arts represent and imagine normative manhood. Employing theoretical frameworks from such fields as anthropology, sociology, and literary theory, we will approach the cultural elite’s notions of normative and defective masculinity as historically variable cultural constructs. We will focus on distinct types of masculinity characteristic of the several historical trends and fashions: dueling, dandyism, nihilism, decadence, and revolutionary activity. Special attention will be paid to Stalinist and postcommunist scenarios of masculinity. Besides theoretical and historical works, the reading includes a diverse set of texts (mostly literary but also cinematic and visual) that represent and interpret the patterns of masculinity that were or are prominent in Russia. From this perspective, we will discuss the classics (including Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Chernyshevsky, Chekhov, Babel, and Platonov) as well as noncanonical and marginal literary products. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 339. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 340 - Jewish Modernisms: Eastern Europe and Beyond

Full course for one semester. This course examines artistic and ideological links between the phenomema of European literary modernism and the formation of modern Jewish literary tradition in Russian, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, and other languages. We shall investigate this connection that has been described as central to the question of Jewish self-fashioning in the 20th century by Benjamin Harshav and other important scholars. We shall begin by analyzing manifestoes of various modernist movements, particularly in Russian tradition, and proceed with analyzing verse and narratives produced by Jewish writers in Eastern and Central Europe and later in the Land of Israel and the United States. We shall ask whether these writings amount to a single corpus of Jewish modernism, or whether it is more productive to speak of Jewish "modernisms" as disparate movements that reflected, to a large extent, on various respective European traditions. Readings from Jabotinsky, Ehrenburg, Grossman, Babel, Mandelshtam, I.B. Singer, J. Glatstein, U.Z. Greenberg, I. Manger, and others. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 340. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 354 - Seminar in 19th-Century Russian Poetry

Full course for one semester. Drawing largely on works from the Golden Age of Russian poetry, this course investigates a variable set of topics, which may range from the elegiac tradition to narrative poetic genres, from the philosophical ode to the romance; it includes study of the distinctive features of neoclassical, baroque, preromantic, and romantic poetics. In any given year, students may expect to encounter the works of Derzhavin, Karamzin, Zhukovsky, Pushkin, Baratynskii, Batiushkov, Lermontov, Tiutchev, Nekrasov, and Fet. Collateral readings include works on versification, genre, and literary history. Prerequisite: two years of Russian or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Russian 355 - 20th-Century Russian Poetry

Full course for one semester. An introduction to modern Russian poetry and poetics, this course traces the main developments in Russian poetry over the last 100 years, devoting detailed study and analysis to varying key figures. In any given year the object of study may be a single poet’s work (such as Osip Mandelstam), a genre (such as the sonnet or the epic), a cycle (such as the “Hamlet cycle" or the “St. Petersburg cycle”), or a poetic movement (such as Acmeism). The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the range of achievement in that area of 20th-century literature that Russians consider to be the most important part of their literary culture. Frequent written assignments. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: at least two years of Russian or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 371 - Russian Literature from Its Beginnings through Gogol

Full course for one semester. Intended to introduce the Russian modes of prose writing in relation to their Western European models, this course seeks to map the specificities of Russian premodern literary culture. The nature of narrative is studied with respect to medieval literary conventions versus modern literary conventions. The 18th century is examined in terms of the imitative nature of the narrative that perpetually looks back to the Western European world on the material of the epistolary text, travelers’ tales, adventure tales, and the sentimental novel. The 19th-century readings of novellas by Pushkin, Lermontov, and Gogol emphasize narrative techniques as they are rooted in the conventions of “someone else’s voice” and in the narrator’s worldview conveyed from an estranged position. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-discussion. Cross-listed as Literature 371. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 372 - 19th-Century Russian Fiction

Full course for one semester. This survey of Russian fiction, including works by Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Leskov, and Chekhov, studies the development of thematic and generic conventions and the emergence of Realism in its multiple forms. Readings in English. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 372. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 373 - Modern Russian Literature from Chekhov to the Present

Full course for one semester. Survey of the modern Russian and Soviet short story and novel, exploring the evolution of these genres in relation to historical and cultural developments and considering a variety of critical approaches. Readings will include the prose of Chekhov, Gorkij, Belyj, Babel, Olesha, Pasternak, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, and Trifonov. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 373.
Literature 373 Description

Russian 385 - Topics in Russian Culture: A.S. Pushkin's Evgenii Onegin

Full course for one semester. This course will focus on Evgenii Onegin, Aleksander Pushkin’s novel in verse, which is considered both the greatest work of Russian poetry and the beginning of the 19th-century Russian novel. We will read the complete Russian text of Evgenii Onegin and discuss it against the background of its literary sources, mainly Russian and European pre-Romantic and Romantic literature (such as Rousseau, Richardson, and Byron). Special attention will be paid to the cultural and historical contexts of the novel and its versification, narrative structure, generic specificity, and relationship to Russian poetic traditions. We will read the selection of critical works about the novel, including Vladimir Nabokov’s commentary, and analyze the attempts to render Evgenii Onegin in such media as opera and film. We will read and discuss Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate, the English-language novel written in the genre of Onegin. Extensive reading in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 220 or reading competence in Russian. This course satisfies the Russian department’s requirement for a course in Russian poetry. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 388 - The Soviet Experience

Full course for one semester. The course will explore Soviet history, literature, and culture from a specific perspective: reviewing society’s efforts to organize lives and experience as reflected in literature and the arts. Topics include conceptions of time and space (reforms of calendar, organization of industrial time, city and house planning, communal living); family, sexuality, and gender; Stalinist terror and forms of resistance to terror; and the revision of historical experience. In addition to selected literary texts, the course will examine architectural designs, legal codes, personal letters, diaries, memoirs, and art. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 388.

Russian 389 - Postcommunist Russian Literature, Film, and Society

Full course for one semester. The course will begin with a consideration of the political, economic, and cultural background against which the current developments in Russia are taking place. We will then explore recent literary texts and other artistic productions with a view to what they reveal concerning such themes as the new nationalisms, constructions of gender, and the confrontation with the Soviet and Russian past. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 389. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 402 - Russian Stylistics

Full course for one semester. The course concentrates on Russian word formation and stylistics, with readings drawn from 19th- and 20th-century poetic and prose texts. Weekly writing assignments are in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 220 or equivalent proficiency. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 408 - Russian Decadent and Symbolist Culture in a European Context

Full course for one semester. The course investigates Russian Decadent and Symbolist literature in a broad European context. We will study the philosophical foundations of Decadent culture (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Solov'ev); the preoccupation with "degeneration," common in the European science of the fin-de-siècle (Krafft-Ebing, Weininger); the "aestheticism" (J.K. Huysmans, Oscar Wilde); and the interpretations of sexuality (André Gide, Thomas Mann). The Russian component of the reading includes the works of Zinaida Gippius, Viacheslav Ivanov, Fedor Sologub, Mikhail Kuzmin, Evdokiia Nagrodskaia, Aleksandr Blok, and Andrei Bely. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 408.
Literature 408 Description

Russian 410 - Topics in Russian Culture: The Art of Political Discourse

Full course for one semester. All modern states and political movements, whether liberal-democratic or authoritarian, elitist or populist, agrarian or industrial, speak the language of mass persuasion. The seven decades that formed the lifespan of the Soviet state saw the aggressive development of forms of mass communication aimed at shaping and controlling public opinion, popular support, and nonoppositioin. This seminar studies a range of Soviet propaganda media, from Agitprop, worker poetry, labor novel, factography, to the labor camp "conversion" tale and the propaganda poster, with particular attention to didactic, tropes, and myths designed to insure social cohesion and promote participation in the life of the nation. We will explore the theoretical bases of Soviet propaganda in the classical political theory, Russian theology, Marxist-Leninist ideology, and Russian modernism. One component of the course will focus on researching and documenting the Cooley Gallery's archival collection of late USSR propaganda posters and preparing materials for an exhibition in April, 2009. Conference. Students taking the course for Russian credit will meet in extra sessions. Cross-listed as Lit 410.

Russian 413 - 20th-Century Russian Critical Theories

Full course for one semester. Examination of the main trends of 20th-century Russian literary criticism and theory, including works produced by the Russian Formalist school, by linguistic and structural criticism, and by Marxist and semiotic approaches to literature and culture. The course will consider the origin and development of different methodologies and will look at their application to specific works of Russian and Western literature. Readings will include works by Shklovsky, Eikhenbaum, Tynjanov, Jakobson, Bakhtin, Lotman, and Ginzburg. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 413.

Russian 419 - Horror and the Sublime in Russian Culture

Full course for one semester. This course will examine the emergence, meanings, and functions of the concept of “horror” and the aesthetic category of the sublime in modern (i.e., post-Petrine) Russian literature and art. We proceed from the premise that these categories enter Russian discourse as a consequence and symptom of Westernization and, as elements of “high” culture, are constitutive of a secular morality. We will investigate how under the influence of Western philosophical, ethical, and aesthetic ideas, Russian writers and artists map and remap the realms of the acceptable and the unacceptable in Russian reality, framing the latter as the “horrible” both in tradition and in innovation. Finally, we will study the ways in which they adapt the Western aesthetic category of the sublime to the task of insinuating exposés and critiques of the “horrid” into the discourse of repressive regimes. Our theoretical framework will draw on canonical Western theories of the sublime. Primary texts include Radishchev, Karamzin, Pushkin, Gogol, Herzen, Turgenev, Saltykov-Shchedrin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Leskov, Chekhov, Garshin, Bely, Babel, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Evgeniia Ginzburg, Lidiia Ginzburg, Shalamov; paintings of the Peredvizhniki (The Wanderers), and 20th-century documentary photographers. Students who take the course for Russian credit meet for an additional weekly session to read parts of the texts in the original. Prerequisite for Russian credit: at least four semesters of Russian language. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 419. Not offered 2008-09.

Russian 425 - 20th-Century Russian Jewish Literature and Culture: Text, Canvas, Screen

Full course for one semester. This course examines the problem of Jewish literature and the Jewish artist in the 20th century through investigating the Russian Jewish literary, artistic, and intellectual imagination since the early 1900s. While the Russian Jewish 20th-century artists felt themselves to be completely in and of the Russian tradition, shaping and revising it, their understanding of this tradition and the role of the Russian writer was challenged and complicated both by their sense of their Jewishness, and the overall project of modern Jewish artistic self-fashioning. We shall examine how these artists creatively approached their Jewishness and conceived of their place in Russian (and Soviet) literature and culture. We shall ask whether the Russian Jewish texts can be seen as forming a separate tradition and scrutinize various methodologies of defining a literary text in a non-Jewish language as Jewish. We shall pay close attention to ideological, historic, cultural, linguistic, and aesthetic contexts of the discourses involved: Russian modernist, Hebrew and Yiddish modernist, Soviet, dissident, and post-Soviet. Readings from Jabotinsky, Knut, Dubnow, Mandelshtam, Bagritsky, Babel, Ehrenburg, Grossman, Gorenshtein, Slutsky, and others. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 425. Not offered 2008-09.
Literature 425 Description

Russian 435 - Introduction to Russian Film

Full course for one semester. The course provides an introduction to the history and poetics of Russian film from the double perspective of Russian cultural contexts and the development of cinema as an artistic medium. While studying the masterpieces of Russian film, we will pay special attention to silent cinema, from Bauer and Protazanov to Kuleshov, Pudovkin, Vertov, and Dovzhenko. Sergei Eisenstein’s films will be considered in detail, as well those by Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Paradzhanov, and Nikita Mikhalkov. The readings will focus on the works of film theory and film history. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 435. Not offered 2008-09.
Literature 435 Description

Russian 470 - Thesis

One-half or full course for one year.

Russian 481 - Independent Study

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.




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