Reed College Catalog

Evgenii V. Bershtein

Russian symbolism, the semiotics of Soviet culture, gender and sexuality in Russian culture, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Eisenstein.

Naomi Caffee

Minority and transnational writing in Russian, postcolonial studies, Russian literature and environment, Indigenous literatures, Central Asian studies, literary translation.

Marat Grinberg

Russian-Jewish literature and culture, Soviet poetry, poetics and cinema studies, Russian and European modernism.

The course offerings of the Russian department are designed to meet the twofold objective of providing training in the Russian language and achieving a critical appreciation of Russia’s literary tradition from its beginnings to the present. By following the prescribed course of studies, the student majoring in Russian will have acquired the active and passive language skills required for undertaking senior thesis research in the original.

The language courses, from the introductory through the advanced levels, are taught in Russian and offer supplementary drill opportunities through the language laboratory and weekly conversation sections with a native speaker. In the second year, students continue their study of grammar and consolidate their active and passive language skills with reading, discussion, and written commentary on Russian lyrical poetry and texts on Russian cultural history. The third-year level offers extensive reading of the Russian short story, writing, and oral exercises, while continuing formal language training.

The literature offerings, organized by period and genre, survey the development of Russian poetry and prose from the Middle Ages to the present. A three-semester sequence (Russian 371, 372, 373) covers the most important prose texts produced within the thousand-year history of Russian letters, while a two-semester sequence examines the main figures and movements in nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry.

In addition to these survey courses, the department offers a number of seminars on specialized topics, the content of which varies from year to year, as well as the opportunity for independent study by special arrangement with the instructor. Seminar topics in the past have included the critical theory and practice of the Russian formalists and structuralists; terror and the sublime in Russian literature; Russian masculinity; art of political discourse; and literature, film, and society since glasnost. A unique dimension of the Reed program in Russian is represented by offerings in the literature, film, and theater of East and Central European Jews.

Independent study topics have ranged from introductory Old Church Slavonic to Russian comix. With the exception of the two-semester poetry sequence, which is limited to students with a reading knowledge of Russian, the literature offerings are open to non-Russian majors. Russian majors as well as students who need Russian literature credit for classes taught in English are required to read texts in the original and to attend an additional weekly discussion section.

Majors are expected to broaden their general background and to enhance their critical skills by pursuing work in the humanities, other literatures, philosophy, history, and the fine arts. The junior qualifying examination in Russian is given to majors at the end of their third year or, with prior consultation with the faculty, at the start of the senior year. The written exam tests the student’s preparation in language and seeks to establish the breadth and depth of experience in Russian literature through a series of broadly conceived essay questions.

Of special interest to first- and second-year students who may not wish to major in Russian are the three courses in the survey sequence that are offered in English translation, as well as the one-semester, 200-level course in the Russian short story, which is offered on alternate years.

The Russian House on campus provides a focal point for extracurricular programs in Russian. Besides housing a small community of Russian majors, the Russian House hosts social gatherings, sponsors visiting lecturers or Russian guests, and helps organize the annual Russian film series. Every year a native Russian language scholar is in residence.

The Russian Old Believer community in nearby Woodburn, Oregon, and a growing number of Russian immigrants in Portland provide opportunities for students to acquaint themselves firsthand with native speakers. Arrangements can be made for Reed students to provide English lessons in exchange for Russian conversation practice.

Study Abroad

Direct exposure to the native cultural setting is indispensable to a thorough mastery of any language, and the Russian faculty strongly encourages Russian majors to apply to the semester or academic year programs at any one of the four sites (Almaty, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladimir) administered by the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR); at the Pushkin Institute, through Middlebury College; at the European University in St. Petersburg through Vassar College; or at the National Theater Institute of Moscow exchange program. Students interested in participating are advised to discuss their plans with the faculty during the semester before application. Transfer credit may also be arranged for participation in a number of other excellent exchange programs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, including summer programs. In addition, students wishing to accelerate their study of the language may enroll in any number of intensive summer programs in the United States.

Requirements for the Major

Exclusive of work needed to meet general college and divisional requirements:

  1. Two semesters of advanced Russian language; Russian 371, 372, 373.
  2. At least one more semester course in Russian poetry and one semester in other upper-division literature offerings.
  3. Junior qualifying examination.
  4. Russian 470 (thesis).

Recommended but not required:

  1. Humanities 211–212 or 220 in the sophomore year.
  2. Courses in English or other literature, philosophy, or history that may be relevant to the chosen area of concentration of the individual student.

A Minor in Russian
The goal of the Russian minor is to ensure a high intermediate level of Russian language proficiency together with substantial study of Russian literature and culture. All students must complete four units of Russian courses above the introductory level, and at least one of these must be a literature/culture course requiring the original language.

Requirements for the Minor

  1. Four units of 200-, 300-, or 400-level Russian courses.
  2. At least one unit must be in a Russian literature or culture course not in translation, taken at Reed College.
  3. Students may transfer credits from equivalent college-level courses taken elsewhere (as from a study abroad program).
  4. Depending on language proficiency, additional courses or substitutions (see chart below).

Starting Language Course

Language Courses

200- to 400-Level Courses

Total Units

Russian 120:

Russian 120, 220

Two units of Russian, one of which must be Russian literature not in translation taken at Reed College.

Six

Russian 220:

Russian 220

Two units of Russian, one of which must be Russian literature not in translation taken at Reed College.

Four

Russian 300:

Russian 300 (optional)

Four units of Russian, one of which must be Russian literature not in translation taken at Reed College (one of these units may be in Russian 300).

Four

 

Russian 120 - First-Year Russian

Two-unit yearlong course; one unit per semester. Essentials of grammar and readings in simplified texts. The course is conducted in Russian as much as possible. Conference.

Russian 220 - Second-Year Russian

Two-unit yearlong course; one unit per semester. 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

One-unit semester course. Intended for lower-division students, this course is devoted to close readings of short stories and novellas by such nineteenth- and twentieth-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. Conducted in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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. Cross-listed as Literature 266. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

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

One-unit semester course. 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—fiction, journalism, and mass media—and corresponding cultural matrices. Case study materials include both classic and contemporary texts as well as classic Soviet films. Course assignments include reading and translation, grammar review, structured composition exercises, and oral presentations. The course is conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 220, or by placement examination. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Russian 325 - Multicultural Russia

One-unit semester course. This course focuses on identity politics and the diversity of cultural expression in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet states. We will analyze works of literature, film, and the visual arts from regions considered “peripheral” to the Russian heartland: Central Asia, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Russian Far North, the Baltics, and Eastern Europe. Additionally, we will consider works by African American and Turkish writers who spent time in the Soviet Union and were allied with the Soviet cause. Additional theoretical readings, scholarly literature, and historical documents will introduce students to Russia’s non-Western intellectual and aesthetic traditions and aid in an exploration of the ways in which ethnic, national, racial, and class-based identities were imagined, codified, performed, and enforced by institutions and individuals. The course is conducted in English, but an additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. Prerequisite for Russian credit: Russian 220 or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 325.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 351 - Introduction to Russian Poetry

One-unit semester course. The course covers the history of lyric poetry in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature and its main representatives, trends, genres, and movements. Special attention will be paid to the construction of the prophetic image of the poet and poetry’s role in shaping the overall Russian and Soviet culture. Among poets to be studied are Derzhavin, Pushkin, Baratynsky, Tiutchev, Nekrasov, Blok, Akhmatova, Pasternak, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Zabolotsky, Slutsky, Evtushenko, Brodsky. The course also serves as an introduction to poetics and poetic analysis. Prerequisite: Russian 220 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 362 - Red Sci-Fi: Science Fiction in Soviet Literature and Film

One-unit semester course. Though working behind the Cold War “iron curtain,” post-World War II Soviet writers and filmmakers were preoccupied with the same ideas and questions as their Western and American counterparts, often working in parallel genres. One such genre was science fiction, which became enormously popular in the Soviet Union starting in the mid-1950s. Relying on the rich tradition of the 1920s, the postwar writers and filmmakers used science fiction to reflect on urgent societal and philosophical issues. In the presence of state censorship and official ideology, science fiction became the venue for veiled and subversive critique of the regime. In this course, through reading and watching major works of Russian sci-fi fiction and cinema, we will explore how they imagined artificial intelligence and time travel; space exploration and alien species and transformations of gender and race; the quest for immortality; and the nuclear apocalypse. We will situate these works in their immediate artistic and cultural contexts and the wider, primarily American, comparative context of postwar science fiction. Readings and screenings from the Strugatsky brothers, Alexander Beliaev, Evgeny Zamyatin, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrei Tarkovsky, Kir Bulychev, Sever Gansovsky, and others. All readings, screenings, and discussion in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 362.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 363 - Film Adaptation: When Kurosawa Met Dostoevsky

One-unit semester course. Since the invention of cinema at the turn of the twentieth century, the relationship between literature and film has been one of the most central, contentious, and fruitful aspects of cinematic history, aesthetics, and production. What happens when a fictional text is adapted to screen? How important is the film’s faithfulness to the original literary work? Is cinema secondary to literature or can screen and page be on equal footing? Does adaptation constitute an interpretation or a betrayal of the primary source? These are some of the chief questions we will examine in this course through studying an array of cinematic adaptations produced in Europe, Asia, and the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will watch and analyze films by such directors as Lina Wertmuller, Robert Bresson, Luchino Visconti, Orson Welles, Paul Mazursky, John Huston, Akira Kurosawa, Grigory Kozintsev, and based on the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, William Shakespeare, I. B. Singer, James Joyce, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, and Philip Roth, among others. We will study each film in its historical and cultural context and read the work on which it is based, scrutinizing the relationship between the two. Students will also be introduced to some of the key texts of adaptation theory which will frame the class discussions. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 363.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 365 - Kiev, Odessa, and the Steppes: Ukrainian Imagination and Russian Literature

One-unit semester course. Russia’s war against Ukraine compels us to examine and revisit the complex and rich history of Ukrainian-Russian coexistence and the prominence of Ukrainian imagination in Russian literature. This course will accomplish this goal by studying how Ukrainian spaces; characters; historical events, including such catastrophes as Holodomor and the Holocaust; and philosophies of identity were constructed and portrayed by eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century writers. We shall begin with the old documents originating from Kievan Rus, the birthplace of Ukrainian and Russian civilizations, and proceed with the eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century works of various genres, including short stories, poetry, novels, and philosophical essays. Among the writers we shall study are Grigorii Skovoroda, Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Marko Vovchok, Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Alexander Kuprin, Isaac Babel, Osip Mandelstam, Eduard Bagritskii, Vasilii Grossman, Boris Slutskii, Konstantin Paustovskii, Anatolii Kuznetsov, Friedrich Gorenstein. 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 365.

Russian 371 - Russian Literature and Culture from Medieval to Romantic

One-unit semester course. How did Russian literature come into being? This course traces the complex, culturally diverse, and perpetually contested history of the Russian literary tradition from the late ninth century to the early nineteenth century. Although our primary focus will be on written texts produced in Kievan Rus’, Muscovy, and the Russian Empire (including chronicles, saints’ lives, autobiographies, travelogs, drama, poetry, and prose), we will also analyze oral tales, religious art and architecture, and a variety of ceremonial and decorative objects. Class discussions, readings, short written assignments, presentations, quizzes, and a multistep research paper are designed to provide students with contextual knowledge and systematic training in close reading and guided critical strategies. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have a working knowledge of the major cultural, historical, and intellectual currents that paved the way to the “Golden Age” of Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. Conducted in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 371.

Russian 372 - Russian Literature: Realism

One-unit semester course. This course is an introduction to the major writers, movements, genres, and works of Russian literature from the early nineteenth century to the immediate prerevolutionary era. With a primary focus on the emergence of realism and its associated thematics, this course includes works of fiction by Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Leskov, and Chekhov, as well as letters and essays by their contemporaries. Secondary readings will offer additional contextual information and critical perspectives on these works and their role in the continued development of a national canon. All readings will be in English translation, and class meetings will be conducted in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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.

Russian 373 - Modern Russian Literature from Chekhov to the Present

One-unit semester course. 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 include the prose of Chekhov, Gorky, Bely, Babel, Olesha, Teffi, Pasternak, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Ginzburg, and Pelevin. Conducted in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 387 - Jewishness and Cinema

One-unit semester course. This course is devoted to representations of Jewishness, Judaism, and the Holocaust in twentieth- and twenty-first-century cinema. Produced in various countries at various crucial historical points, Jewish film provides a unique window onto the study of intersections between ethnic identity and cinema, trauma and cinema, and religion and cinema. Consisting of different genres, from drama to musical comedy to adaptation, it invites diverse theoretical and comparative formal, cultural, and sociological approaches. We will begin with Yiddish cinema, produced in the United States, Poland, and the Soviet Union in the 1930s, and move on to the early Holocaust films of the late 1940s and ’50s, produced also in both Europe and the United States. We’ll investigate constructions and representations of Jewishness on Soviet, American, European, and Israeli screens from the 1960s until the present day, paying special attention to the many relevant cinematic, cultural, and historical contexts. Among the topics to be discussed are anti-Semitism, assimilation, Black-Jewish relations, Arab-Israeli conflict, and gender. The directors to be studied include Maurice Schwartz, Edgar Ulmer, Aleksander Ford, Alexei Granovsky, Alexander Askoldov, Elaine May, Sidney Lumet, Paul Mazursky, Chantal Akerman, Amos Gitai, Stanley Kubrick, and Spike Lee, among others. Conducted in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 387.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 388 - From Lenin to Putin: Soviet Experience and its Aftermath through Film, Literature, and Human Document

One-unit semester course. This course explores Soviet culture and its aftermath in Russia through the prism of human experience. In our interdisciplinary approach to history, we will study films and works of literature, as well as personal documents, such as diaries and memoirs, looking for reflections in them of Soviet and post-Soviet people’s experience and subjectivity. How were the lives and identities of ordinary people affected by the revolutions, utopian ideology, totalitarian government, political terror, and partial modernization? The themes include the reforms of calendar; organization of industrial time; city and house planning; communal living; pedagogical undertakings (the concept of New Men and Women); regulating family, sexuality, and gender; living through terror and forms of resistance to it; the decline and fall of the Soviet Empire as lived experience. We will conclude with surveying main social, cultural, and political developments in post-Soviet Russia. Our primary sources will include both artistic masterpieces (films by Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Alexander Dovzhenko, Larisa Shepitko, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Alexander Sokurov; writings by Isaac Babel, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Anna Akhmatova, Lydia Ginzburg, and Svetlana Alexievich) as well as testimonial and personal writings. All readings and discussions will be in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 390 - Russian Culture under Putin: Resistance and Conformity

One-unit semester course. This course examines major cultural developments in Russia over the last two decades—the developments that took place in a conservative social climate and under the pressure of increasingly repressive government policies. We will discuss heterogeneous materials: works of literature (both fiction and nonfiction), film, poetry, performance art, journalist and scholarly writings, TV, and internet texts. As we explore both Russian “highbrow culture” and “mass culture,” we will pay special attention to both the techniques of conformity and strategies of resistance, as adopted by the Russian creative class. Among the topics which we will address are historical memory and its manipulations, new nationalism, corruption and its impact on society, economic inequality and cultural divisions, Russian versions of artistic and political postmodernism, and the cultural politics of gender and sexuality. All readings and discussions in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. Prerequisite for Russian credit: Russian 220 or equivalent, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 390.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 392 - Nuclear Literatures: A Comparative Approach

One-unit semester course. This course is a comparative study of the nuclear theme in several literary traditions which are usually treated separately: Japanese literature on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Soviet and post-Soviet reactions to the ecological disasters at Chernobyl, Semipalatinsk, and other sites; American literature of the Cold War; and contemporary literary and artistic reactions to the 2011 disaster at Fukushima. We will also examine the interrelationship of political rhetoric, scientific language, and poetic language in the way nuclear power is imagined, implemented, experienced, and resisted. Our comparative approach will be informed by readings from the schools of postcolonialism, eco-criticism, and critical Indigenous theory. We will focus not only on the Atomic Age’s legacy of human and environmental devastation, but also the geopolitical, existential, and epistemological questions raised by the threat of nuclear accidents and warfare. Conducted in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 392.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 405 - Niklolaj Gogol’

One-unit semester course. Nikolaj Gogol’ (1809–1852), Russia’s greatest comic writer, one of the most controversial figures in Russian literature, proclaimed variously an “enigma,” “undecipherable,” and “unintelligibly strange,” stands at the crossroads of romanticism, realism, and what will come to be called magical realism. Our readings will explore the various genres of his aesthetic practice: novellas, a play, essays, a prose epic, correspondence; and, an astonishing array of texts on which they draw, among them the commedia dell’arte, the Ukrainian puppet theater, E.T.A. Hoffman, Tieck, Homer, Aristophanes, and medieval hagiography. Among the topics of our consideration will be Gogol’s theory of language, the nature of laughter, the relationship between low and high culture, sexuality, and his critique of empire. Theoretical and critical readings include Eikhenbaum, Bakhtin, Lotman, Todorov, Benveniste, Bely, and Nabokov. We will reflect on the reception and afterlife of Gogol’s texts in the twentieth century. Conducted in English, this course offers an additional weekly session for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 405.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 408 - Decadence and Symbolism in Russia and Europe

One-unit semester course. The course explores Russian Decadent and Symbolist literature and culture comparatively, in a broad Western European context. We will study the philosophical foundations of Decadent culture (Friedrich Nietzsche, Vladimir Solovyov); preoccupation with “degeneration,” common in the European science of the fin de siècle (Max Nordau, Richard von Krafft-Ebing); “aestheticism” (J.-K. Huysmans, Oscar Wilde); new interpretations of gender and sexuality (Otto Weininger, André Gide, Thomas Mann), Decadent mysticism, and other topics. The Russian side of the Decadent and Symbolist movements will be represented by the prosaic works of Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Solovyov, Viacheslav Ivanov, Fedor Sologub, Zinaida Gippius, Mikhail Kuzmin, Evdokia Nagrodskaia, and Andrei Bely. A number of classes will be dedicated to the discussion of film (Evgeny Bauer), opera (the phenomenon of Wagnerism), dance (Isadora Duncan; Sergei Diaghilev’s “Ballets Russes”) and visual arts (the group “World of Art”). This course will emphasize a research component, and students will have an option of writing a single 20-page research paper, due at the end of the semester. All reading and discussions are in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. In these sessions, we will focus on the poetry of the Russian Silver Age (Solovyov, Valerii Briusov, Konstantin Bal’mont, Sologub, Gippius, Aleksandr Blok, Bely, Ivanov, Kuzmin, Sofia Parnok, Anna Akhmatova, et al.). Prerequisite for Russian credit: Russian 220 or equivalent, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 408.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 409 - Late Tolstoy: From Anna Karenina to a Religious Teaching

One-unit semester course. The course explores the second period of Leo Tolstoy’s career, from Anna Karenina (1870s) to his late fiction, such as The Death of Ivan Ilych (1886) and Hadzhi Murat (1904), and his aesthetic, ethical, theological, as well as political writings. We will study Tolstoy’s transformation from a fiction writer to a moral theorist and religious activist as we pay special attention to Tolstoy’s doctrine of nonviolence and his antiwar writings. Apart from a study of Tolstoy’s poetics and ideology, we will engage a number of cultural contexts for his works: Russian political and intellectual history, aesthetic and artistic developments in late nineteenth-century Russia, Tolstoy’s role and reputation in Russian society, his impact on anti-racist, anticolonial, and pacifist movements around the world. The workload includes extensive reading, oral presentations, and several writing assignments. All readings and discussions are in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 409.

Russian 410 - Russian Literature in Revolution: 1917–1932

One-unit semester course. The years of revolution in Russia (1917–32) challenged writers to respond in innovative ways to the political and social upheaval, modernization, and the challenge of engineering an “ideal” mass society. This course addresses the question: how did social and political revolution and revolution in the arts relate to each other? Our inquiry will range over manifestoes, criticism, and artistic prose representing various camps (such as acmeism, OBERIU, ornamentalism, formalism, RAPP, and socialist realism) to explore how these formulate and address four key questions: Who should write? For whom? What should be written? How should one write? Topics for investigation will include gender and voice; elite and popular culture; theory and its relationship to practice; vertical vs. horizontal literary institutions. Writers will include Isaac Babel, Maxim Gorky, Daniil Kharms, Valentin Kataev, Velimir Khlebnikov, Alexandra Kollontai, Osip Mandelstam, Boris Pasternak, Boris Pilnyak, Andrey Platonov, Viktor Shklovsky, Teffi (Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya), Yevgeny Zamyatin. Students will submit weekly response papers and two term papers. Conducted in English. Those taking the course for Russian credit will meet for an additional weekly session to consider materials in the original. 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 410.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 412 - Literary Translation Workshop

One-half-unit semester course. This course offers an opportunity to develop a literary translation project in a workshop setting with a collaborative dimension that emphasizes an exploratory approach guided by readings in literary theory and translation theory and grounded in the practical challenges of the craft of translation. Ideally, participants will have some prior experience in creative writing and/or some background in literature in the language from which they will be translating. The target text will be selected in consultation with the instructor. The semester’s work will culminate in the preparation of a portfolio of the participants’ literary translations, with introductory essays and reflections on the task of the translator. Prerequisite: at least two years of formal instruction in any one of the following Slavic languages: Russian, Slovene, Serbo-Croatian; or the following Romance languages: French, Italian; or the instructor’s permission. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 412. 

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 413 - Russian Literary Theory: Formalism, Structuralism, Semiotics, Bakhtin

One-unit semester course. This course is an examination of the critical trends of twentieth-century Russian literary criticism and theory, including works produced by the Russian formalist school, by linguistic and structural criticism, and by 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 include works by Shklovsky, Eikhenbaum, Tynjanov, Propp, Jakobson, Bakhtin, Lotman, and Ginzburg, among others. Conducted in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 436 - Sergei Eisenstein’s Film Art: Decadence, Revolution, and the Mechanics of Ecstasy

One-unit semester course. This course explores the works of Sergei Eisenstein (1898–1948), a Soviet film director and theorist, widely considered one of the most influential creative artists of the twentieth century. Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) revolutionized film as an art form, and his other cinematic works, such as Strike (1925), October (1927), The General Line (1929), ¡Que viva México! (1932), Alexander Nevsky (1938), and Ivan the Terrible (1944–45), made a great and deeply original contribution to the development of filmmaking and film aesthetics. As a theorist, Eisenstein formulated the principles of film editing (known as montage) and studied viewers’ and readers’ response to art. He authored provocative autobiographical writings as well as works of sexual theory, psychology, literary scholarship, and philosophy. Thousands of his drawings comment, ironically and often obscenely, on the mechanics of artistic, sexual, and religious ecstasy—which Eisenstein saw as a unity. We will study Eisenstein in a number of contexts: aesthetic (in connection to Decadence and avant-garde), political (Stalinism), and filmic (D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Dziga Vertov, Alexander Dovzhenko, et al.). The workload includes weekly film screenings and extensive reading and writing, as well as class presentations. Conducted in English. An additional weekly session will be scheduled for students taking the course for Russian credit. 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 436.

Not offered 2022–23.

Russian 470 - Thesis

Two-unit yearlong course; one unit per semester.

Russian 481 - Independent Study

Variable (one-half or one)-unit semester course. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.