Courses

Fall 2017 Courses

Course # CRN Title Instructor Schedule
RU 10101-01 11356

Beginning Russian I

Marullo M W  12:30P - 1:45P
F 12:50P - 1:40P
RU 10101-02 10383

Beginning Russian I

Miller M W  2:00P - 3:15P
F 2:00P - 2:50P
RU 10601 21177

Russia Between East and West

Wang T R 3:30P - 4:45P
RU 13186 16305

Literature University Seminar

Marullo T R 2:00P - 3:15P
RU 13520 21176

Post Soviet RU Cinema (in English)

Miller M W F 12:50P - 1:40P
RU 20101 11518

Intermediate Russian I

Gasperetti M W F 10:30A - 11:20A
RU 26100 18489

Directed Reading

Marullo TBA
RU 30601 20822

Russia Between East and West

Wang T R 3:30P - 4:45P
RU 33520 20781

Post Soviet RU Cinema (in English)

Miller M W F 12:50P - 1:40P
RU 40002 21343

Russian Conversation

Kurenshchikova TBA
RU 40003 21347

A Virtual Tour Across Russia (In English)

Kurenshchikova TBA
RU 40101 11762

Advanced Russian I

Miller T R 2:00P - 3:15P
RU 43102 20333

20th-Century Russian Literature (in English)

Gasperetti M W F 9:25A - 10:15A
RU 60101 13856

Beginning Russian 1

Marullo M W 12:30P - 1:45P
F 12:50P - 1:40P
RU 60201 16935

Intermediate Russian I

Gasperetti M W F 10:30A  - 11:20A

 

Language Courses

trinityHoly Trinity (1411) by Andrei Rublev  

RU 10101 - RU 10102 - RU 60101 Beginning Russian I and II
This introduction to the Russian language will develop students' skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing while also fostering an appreciation for Russian culture. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of basic structures, vocabulary, and sound systems. Students will be encouraged to use their language skills to communicate and interact in a variety of situations and contexts. No prerequisite.

RU 10601 - RU 30601 Russia Between East and West
What's going on with Russia today? Why does Putin clash so frequently with the United States and European Union, and why are efforts to "reset" relations between Russia and the West so often thwarted? Many of these issues trace back to Russia's position straddling both the East and the West. Students in this class will learn about Russia has become both "Eastern" and "Western" over its history - a history that informs the uniqueness of the Orthodox Church, the revolutionary changes enacted by Peter the Great to Soviet internationalism, Cold War culture clashes, and even the war in Ukraine and debates surrounding election meddling today. Over the course of the semester, we will explore a range of materials, including classics works of Russian literature, science-fiction dystopias, graphic novel style journalism, and film.

RU 13186 Literature University Seminar
This course introduces students to Russian literature and culture while also serving as an introduction to the seminar method of instruction. The course is writing-intensive, with emphasis given to improving students' writing skills through the careful analysis of specific texts.

RU 13520 - RU 33520 Post Soviet RU Cinema (in English)
No prerequisite. Freed from the constraints of Soviet-era censorship, in the transitional years (1990-2005) Russian filmmakers exploited the unique qualities of the film medium in order to create compelling portraits of a society in transition. The films we will watch cover a broad spectrum: reassessing Russia's rich pre-Revolutionary cultural heritage as well as traumatic periods in Soviet history (World War II, the Stalinist era); grappling with formerly taboo social issues (gender roles, anti-Semitism, alcoholism); taking an unflinching look at new social problems resulting from the breakdown of the Soviet system (the rise of neo-fascism, the war in Chechnya, organized crime); and meditating on Russia's current political and cultural dilemmas (the place of non-Russian ethnicities within Russia, Russians' love-hate relationship with the West). From this complex cinematic patchwork emerges a picture of a new, raw Russia, as yet confused and turbulent, but full of vitality and promise for the future. Short readings supplement the film component of the course. Film screenings optional; films will also be available on reserve.

RU 20101 - RU 20102 Intermediate Russian I and II
This two-semester review of Russian grammar is designed to facilitate a near-native proficiency with the form and function of Russian nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Exceptional forms are stressed, and reading selections on contemporary Russian life and excerpts from literature are employed to improve comprehension and build conversational and writing skills. Prerequisite: RU 10102 or equivalent.

RU 26100 Directed Reading
Individual or small group study under the direction of a departmental faculty member.

RU 40101 - RU 40102 Advanced Russian I and II
This year-long course is designed to significantly improve students' comprehension and self-expression skills in Russian, serving as a preparation for Russian literature courses in the original. The course will include an intensive review of Russian grammar; Russian stylistics, syntax, and grammar at the advanced level; reading and analysis of a wide range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literary texts; writing essays in Russian; and extensive work on vocabulary building and advanced conversation skills. The course will be conducted in Russian. Prerequisite RU 20102 or equivalent.

RU 60201 Intermediate Russian I
This is the first half of a two-semester review of Russian grammar designed to facilitate a near-native proficiency with the form and function of Russian nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Exceptional forms are stressed, and reading selections on contemporary Russian life and excerpts from literature are employed to improve comprehension and build conversational and writing skills.

Literature University Seminars

 

USEM: Star-Crossed Lovers  
Sex, Courtship, and Marriage in Russian Literature focuses on the relationships between the most famous couples in Russian literature from medieval to modern times. Texts include Hermolaus-Erasmus’s “The Tale of Peter and Fevronia of Murom” (eleventh century); Nikolai Karamzin’s “Poor Liza” (1792); Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (1833); Ivan Turgenev’s  Fathers and Sons (1862);  Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1878);  Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with a Dog” (1899); Fyodor Gladkov’s Cement (1926); and, Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago (1957).
Topics to be considered are: the nature of relationships between men and women;  the influence of age, experience, maturity, and social position on physical and emotional attachments; the impact of male, female, parental, political, societal, religious, and economic understandings and expectations on sex, courtship, and marriage; the presence of challenges, opportunities, and obstacles to meaningful and sustaining ties; and the reasons for triumphs and tragedies, successes and failures in the unions between the sexes. 
Star-Crossed Lovers will also include a strong visual component: selections from the Internet of plays, operas and movies of the works in the course (e.g., the ball in Eugene Onegin, the horserace in Anna Karenina, and the partings of the lovers in “The Lady with a Dog” and Doctor Zhivago). 

RU 13186 Dostoevsky
This course is an intensive, in-depth survey of the major long and short fiction of one of the world's greatest and most provocative writers. Readings include: The House of the Dead (1862); The Notes from the Underground (1864); Crime and Punishment (1866); and The Karamazov Brothers (1879-1880). Topics to be discussed: the evolution of the Dostoevskian hero and heroine within the context of the writer's fiction, as well as within the social and literary polemics of the age; the content and method of both "urban" and "psychological" realism; the interplay of "patriarchal," "matriarchal," and "messianic" voices; the dynamics of Russian  soul and soil; the conflict between city and country, "old" and "new," Russia and the West; the influence of the "saint's tale," the "family chronicle," the "detective story," and the genres of journalism and drama on Dostoevsky's writing; and, the writer's political, theological, and epistemological visions, in particular, his distrust of cults, social utopias, and man-gods; his insights into abnormal and irrational human behavior (i.e., co-dependency, sadomasichism, sexual perversion, and the like); and his endorsement of so-called "Pauline mysticism." The seminar is designed to sharpen students' aesthetic and analytical capabilities, improve their reading comprehension, and strengthen their written and oral skills. The only prerequisite is a willingness to work, grow, and learn. First-year students only.

RU 13186 A Cultural History of St. Petersburg
From its inception in 1703 on the banks of the Neva River, St. Petersburg has embodied Russia's search for a national identity. Founded by Peter the Great as Russia's "Window on the West," it has been championed by those who wished to ally Russia more closely with Western Europe and vilified by those who viewed such a connection as the undoing of native Russian culture. Starting in the early 19th century, St. Petersburg developed a rich tradition of writers, artists, composers, dancers, and filmmakers who focused on the question of the city's dual nature within Russian society. Over the course of this semester we will use this rich artistic heritage to investigate Russia's uneasy relationship with the West. Which political, social and cultural values did the Russians appropriate from the West? How did this lead to the modernization of Old Russian culture? What is the "Russian soul?" What impact did revolution (1917) and war (World War II, or as the Russians call it, "the Great Fatherland War") have on the Russian psyche? In seeking answers to these questions we will read and view some of the greatest works of art produced in the 19th and 20th centuries. Areas to be covered include literature (Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bely, Blok, Mandelshtam, Akhmatova, and Zamyatin), painting (Repin, Surikov, Malevich, Kandinsky), and film (Eisenstein). Artistic works will be supplemented with historical accounts, eyewitness reporting, memoir, and documentary footage. First-year students only.

RU 13186 Russian Literature and the Arts Through History
This course is an introduction to Russian culture from medieval times to the present. Russian religious culture, painting, music, architecture, the folk tradition, and socio-political movements will all provide the context for our study of Russian literature, beginning with the ancient historical chronicles and the lives of early Russian saints, and ending with poems and stories by several contemporary authors. Short works by such classic Russian authors as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov will also be included in the syllabus. Class discussions will be supplemented by frequent video, internet, and musical presentations. First-year students only.

RU 13186 Literature of the Russian Revolution
This course focuses on the national written expression that attended the explosion in the arts in Russia in the first thirty years of this century, e.g., Stravinsky in music, Diaghilev in ballet, and Benois, Goncharova, Chagall, and Larionov in art. Readings include the "decadence" of Ivan Bunin, Leonid Andreev, and Feodor Sologub; the "proletarian" writings of Maxim Gorky; the "symbolism" of Andrei Bely and Alexander Blok; and the "modernism" of Mikhail Kuzmin, Evgeny Zamiatin, Vladimir Maiakovsky, Isaac Babel, and Boris Pilniak. (Bunin was the first Russian writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature; Zamiatin's novel, We, was the model for the anti-utopian fiction of Orwell and Huxley; Bely is the Russian James Joyce). Topics to be considered are the content and method of Russian "decadence," "symbolism," and "modernism"; the "lost" man and woman in the early twentieth century; the conflict between city and country, "old" and "new," Russia and the West; the dynamics of revolution, catastrophe, and apocalypse; the nature of "imprisonment," "liberation," and "exile" (physical, social, spiritual, and aesthetic); the interplay of "patriarchal," "maternal," and "messianic" voices; the form and function of anti-utopian themes, psychological investigation, and the grotesque; the yearning for "ancient" Russia and the dismay at the new Soviet state; links to "modern" Russian painting, music, and ballet; and the critique of modernity and its implications for humankind. First-year students only.

30000-Level Literature and Culture Courses (in English)

folkcatRussian folktale illustration  

RU 30101 Literature of Imperial Russia I (1800-1860)
Literature of Imperial Russia I is the first part of a two-semester survey of long and short fiction, and focuses on the rise of Realism in Russia, in particular the early fiction of Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. Readings include: Alexander Pushkin's The Tales of Belkin (1830), "The Queen of Spades" (1830), "The Bronze Horseman" (1833), and Eugene Onegin (1833); Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time (1840); Nikolai Gogol's "Nevsky Prospekt" (1835), "The Portrait" (1835), "The Overcoat" (1842), and Dead Souls (1842); Ivan Turgenev's Notes of a Huntsman (1852), and Rudin (1856); Fyodor Dostoevsky's Poor Folk (1845), The Double (1846), and Netochka Nezvanova (1849); and Leo Tolstoy's Childhood (1852) and The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-1856). Topics to be included are the content and method Realism ("gentry," "urban," "classical," "romantic," and "psychological"); the evolution of the "family" chronicle; the nature and development of the Russian hero and heroine, particularly, the so-called "superfluous" and "little" man; the interplay of "patriarchal," "matriarchal," and "messianic" voices; the dynamics of Russian soul and soil; the interaction of lord and peasant; and finally, the conflict between city and country, "old" and "new," Russia and the West. Daily readings and discussions. Several small papers, projects and exams. No prerequisite.

RU 30102 Literature of Imperial Russia II (1860-1899)
Literature of Imperial Russia II is the second part of a two-semester survey of long and short fiction, and focuses on Realism in Russia. Topics to be considered are the content and method of Russian Realism ("gentry," "urban," "naturalistic," "psychological," and "pre-modern"); the evolution of the "family" chronicle; the nature and development of the Russian hero and heroine, particularly the "superfluous man," the "philosophical rebel," and the "moral monster"; the interplay of "patriarchal," "maternal," and "messianic" voices; the dynamics of Russian soul and soil; the interaction of lord and peasant; the premonition of catastrophe and Apocalypse; and finally, the conflict between city and country, "old" and "new," Russia and the West. Readings include: Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons (1862); Fyodor Dostoevsky's The House of the Dead (1860-1862), Notes from the Underground (1864), and Crime and Punishment (1866); Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina (1875-1877), Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin's The Golovlyov Family (1875-1880), as well as selections from Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Vsevelod Garshin, Nikolai Leskov, and Alexander Kuprin.The course is designed to sharpen students' aesthetic and analytical capabilities, improve their reading comprehension, and strengthen their oral and written skills. No prerequisite.

RU 30103 Literature of the Russian Revolution (1900-1927)
This course focuses on the national written expression that attended the explosion in the arts in Russia in the first thirty years of the century, e.g., Stravinsky in music, Diaghilev in ballet, and Benois, Goncharova, Chagall, and Larionov in art. Readings include the "decadence" of Ivan Bunin, Leonid Andreev, and Feodor Sologub; the "proletarian" writings of Vladimir Mayakovsky; the "symbolism" of Andrei Bely and Alexander Blok; and the "modernism" and the early dissident rumblings of Evgeny Zamiatin, Isaac Babel, and Boris Pilnyak. (Bunin was the first Russian writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature; Zamiatin's novel, We, was the model for the anti-utopian fiction of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley; Bely is the Russian James Joyce). Topics to be considered are the content and method of Russian "decadence," "proletarianism," "symbolism," "modernism," and early "dissidence"; the "lost" man and woman in the twentieth century; the conflict between city and country; the nature of "revolution," "imprisonment," "liberation," and "exile" (physical, social, spiritual, and aesthetic); the form and function of anti-utopian themes, psychological investigation, and the grotesque; the yearning for "old" Russia and the dismay at the new Soviet state; links to "modern" Russian painting, music, and ballet; and the critique of modernity and its implications for humankind. No prerequisite.

RU 30104 Literature of the Russian Dissidence (1925-1990)
This course is an intensive survey of long and short fiction, focusing on the attempts of Russian writers to protest almost seventy-five years of Soviet totalitarianism, and to assert the freedom and dignity of the individual both in their country and in modern life. Readings include: Yury Olesha's Envy (1927), Fyodor Gladkov's Cement (1927), Vladimir Mayakovsky's The Bedbug (1928-1929) and The Bathhouse (1930), Mikhail Bulgakov's The Heart of a Dog (1925) and The Master and Margarita (1928-1940), Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago (1957), Abram Sinyavsky-Tertz's The Trial Begins (1960), Valery Tarsis's Ward 7 (1965), Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1956) and Cancer Ward (1968), and Vladimir Voinovich's Moscow 2042 (1987). Topics to be considered are the content and method of "dissidence"; the struggle between artists and politicians over the role of art in life; the "new" Soviet hero and heroine; the "lost" man and woman of the twentieth century; the conflict between city and country; the nature of "imprisonment," "liberation," and "exile" (physical, social, and spiritual); the form and function of socialist realism, anti-utopian themes, psychological investigation, and the grotesque; the yearning for "old" Russia; and the critique of modernity and post-modernity and its implications for humankind. No prerequisite.

RU 30105 Russian Devils (In English)
“Russian Devils (in English)” is an intensive, in-depth survey on demons and demonology in Russian fiction in both the medieval and modern periods. Works include: The Tale of Savva Grudtsyn, Mikhail Lermontov’s “Demon” (1841), Nikolai Gogol’s Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka (1831-1832), “Vii” (1835), “The Portrait” (1835), and “Nevskii Prospekt” (1835), Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Devils (1872) Leo Tolstoy’s “The Devil” (1890), Fyodor Sologub’s The Petty Demon (1907), Andrei Belyi’s Petersburg (1913), and Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (1940-1967). Topics to be considered are: the nature and personality of the devil (physical, supernatural, psychological, and existential; romantic, real, modern, and post-modern); his departure from archetypal models, images, and ideas (folk and religious); his views on art and truth, heaven and hell (political, social, economic, philosophical, and theological); his plans of action for country and city, for men, women, and children, and for aristocrats, peasants, teachers, philistines, and politicians; his stances toward God, church, saints and sinners; his penchants for mischief, chaos, evil and good; and his messages for society and humankind. Additional questions are: how do men and women regard the Evil One? Is he feared, admired, imitated, or ridiculed? Is he seen as an imp, a clown, a tempter, a trickster, a teacher, a savior, a fallen angel, a figment of the imagination, or the voice of conscience and morality?  Is he regarded as good, bad, indifferent, redeemable, or damned irrevocably? Is he deemed as vital as  God for the well-being of church, society, and the world? Requirements include daily readings and discussions, and short papers on assigned topics and oriented towards "problem solving." There will also be a final examination/project.

RU 30113 Russia in Revolution: Literature, Film, and the Arts, 1891-1924 (In English)
What happens when a country abandons a three-hundred-year way of life, enters into repeated revolution and war, seeks heaven-on-earth, but achieves inferno and hell?  Even more contradictory, perhaps, what happens when, at the same time, this country so revamps literature, film, and the arts that it refashions culture in  Europe at the fin de siecle?
“Russian in Revolution: Literature, Film, and the Arts (1891-1924)” is an interdisciplinary, multi-media course on Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Topics to be considered are the dynamics of revolution and war; the form and function of utopia and dystopia; the nature of imprisonment, liberation, and exile (physical, social, spiritual, and aesthetic); and, the nostalgia for Imperial Russia and the dismay at the new Soviet state. Other themes are: the “lost” man, woman, and child in the early twentieth century; the conflict between city and country, “old” and “new,” Russia and the West; the interplay of “patriarchal,” “maternal,” and “messianic” voices; and. the role of memory and myth (archetypal, classical, and personal). A crucial component will be the tie of film and the arts (painting, sculpture, music, opera, ballet, and dance) in the critique of modernity and in its implications for humankind. 

piterPanoramic view of St. Petersburg  

RU 30201 Dostoevsky (in English)
Dostoevsky in English is an intensive, in-depth survey of the major long and short fiction of one of the world's greatest and most provocative writers. Readings include: The House of the Dead (1862); The Notes from the Underground (1864); Crime and Punishment (1866); and The Karamazov Brothers (1879-1880).
Topics to be discussed: the evolution of the Dostoevskian hero and heroine within the context of the writer's fiction, as well as within the social and literary polemics of the age; the content and method of both "urban" and "psychological" realism; the interplay of "patriarchal,” "matriarchal," and "messianic" voices; the dynamics of Russian soul and soil; the conflict between city and country, "old" and "new," Russia and the West; the influence of the "saint's tale," the "family chronicle," the "detective story," and the genres of journalism and drama on Dostoevsky's writing; and, the writer's political, theological, and epistemological visions, in particular, his distrust of cults, social utopias, and man-gods; his insights into abnormal and irrational human behavior (i.e., co-dependency, sadomasichism, sexual perversion, and the like); and his endorsement of so-called "Pauline mysticism."
The first three weeks of the course will focus upon Dostoevsky's early fiction, the thesis being that many of the ideas, images, and themes of the writer's major novels were rooted in the early experiments of both his "Petersburg" and "Siberian" periods.         

RU 30202 Tolstoy
This course is an intensive, in-depth survey of the major long and short fiction of one of the world's greatest and most provocative writers. Readings include Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (1852-1857), The Sevastopol Tales (1855-1856), The Cossacks (1863), War and Peace (1865-1869), Anna Karenina (1875-1877), The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), "The Kreutzer Sonata" (1889), "Master and Man" (1895), and "Father Sergius" (1898). Topics to be discussed: the evolution of the Tolstoyan hero and heroine within the context of the writer's fiction and the social and literary polemics of the age; the interplay of "patriarchal," "matriarchal," and "messianic" voices; the dynamics of Russian soul and soil; the conflict between city and country, "old" and "new," Russia and the West; and the writer's political, theological, and epistemological visions: in particular, his theory of history, his defense of the family, his endorsement of "rational egoism," and his distrust of socially-inspired "great men." No prerequisite.

RU 30215 Nabokov (in English)
Intended for those who are interested in the works of the Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), the course spans both the Russian- and English-language parts of the writer’s career and focuses on his achievement as an innovative stylist and thinker. Students will learn more about the “Nabokov effect,” or the tension between realism and its subversion in literature; the writer’s love of pattern; and the system of cognitive challenges and rewards in his prose. We will also discuss Nabokov’s views on sex in literature and his ideas on the relationship between sexuality and art. The purpose of the course is to delineate Nabokov’s creative philosophy and to demonstrate its relevance for the contemporary reader from the perspectives of history (the “nightmare of history” in the European 20thcentury), art (the connection between art and play), and cognition (the evolutionary advantages of sophisticated artistic endeavor).

RU 30510 One Thousand Years of Russian Culture
In 1939 Winston Churchill famously called Russia “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” This course is an introduction to the mysteries of Russian culture from medieval times to the present that are often overlooked in surveys of Western European art, literature, and culture. Through our explorations into the Russian religious tradition, painting, music, architecture, dance, cinema, folk art and folk tales, proverbs and superstitions, intellectual debates, socio-political movements, and of course literature, we will explore the ways in which Russians define themselves and their place in the world, and how they experience and express their cultural uniqueness as well as their ties to both East and West. By the end of the course, students will be able to trace certain patterns of belief and sensibility in Russian culture that persist in spite of the country’s long history of succumbing to sudden, revolutionary change. Literary readings for the course will range from the ancient historical chronicles and lives of early Russian saints, to short works by such classic Russian authors as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, to poems and stories by several contemporary authors. Course materials will also include a background textbook on Russian history and culture and frequent audio-visual, internet, and musical presentations. No prerequisite.

RU 30515 Russian Realms: Societies/Cultures of Eastern Europe and Beyond
This course explores the social structures, the historical contexts, and the symbolic universes of the peoples who either identify themselves as Russian or whose way of life has come to be deeply affected by the Russian tradition. It concentrates on those territories that were formerly incorporated into the Tsarist empire and subsequently formed parts the Soviet Union. It will include an examination of the extensive efforts by Russian thinkers to characterize their own national spirit, reflecting, for example, on classic and contemporary attempts to define dusha or a distinctively Russian "soul," as well as some of the consequences of these formulations, looking at this famous "civilization" question through art, literature, and film as well as social science works. However, the chief approach of the course will be through reading of anthropological studies that have addressed the larger questions from numerous specific local venues. A strong emphasis will also be placed on the so-called current "transition period," as a new Russia in the neighborhood of the "Commonwealth of Independent States" seeks to reshape it heritage amid complex problems arising from social, economic, political, and cultural tensions, not to mention old ghosts of global rivalry, terrorism, and on many levels, disputed legitimacy. No prerequisite.

RU 30520 Russia Seeks God: Theology, Literature, Film, Liturgy, Architecture and the Arts (Medieval to Modern) (in English)
Russia Seeks God: Theology, Literature Film, Liturgy, Architecture, and the Arts (Medieval to Modern( (In English) is an interdisciplinary, multi-media course on the national spiritual tradition from medieval to modern times.
Topics to be discussed are the Russian of God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, angels and saints; the understanding of Satan and devils; the nature of dvoeverie or “dual faith,” the meld of Christian and folk belief; the working of religious prophets and communities (genuine and false); and the expression of faith and spirituality in literature, art, architecture, music, and religious practice.
Readings include selections from Georgy Fedotov’s The Russian Religious Mind;  examples of medieval sermons, hagiography, religious epics, and paterikon (sayings and tales of saints, martyrs, and religious men and women); and literary works of Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Lermontov, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Andrei Bely, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Isaac Babel, and Mikhail Bulgakov.
There will also be a strong visual component: images, films, and footage on icons, churches, monasteries, and convents; as well as on holy days, liturgy, and other forms of religious celebration.
The great idea for “Russia Seeks God” is rooted in four questions: What happens when a country turns away from almost seven hundred years of an intensely religious culture, and embraces secularization, socialism, and science in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries? How does it adapt medieval religious images to modern political, social, and economic structures? How does it err in false messianism, man-gods, and cults? Finally, how is its called back to religious tradition and truth by Russian writers, particularly in concepts of the Evil One (physical, social, supernatural, psychological, theological, and existential; romantic, modern, and most-modern)?

RU 33000 - Exploring International Ecomomics
In this special course designed for inquisitive international economics / romance language majors, students will attend a number of lectures, panels, and seminars on campus during the semester, with a follow-up discussion for each led by either a visitor or a member of the economics or romance languages faculty. Before each session, students will be expected to complete a short reading assignment. At each follow-up session, the students will submit a 1-2 page summary and analysis of the talk, with a critical question for discussion. The goal is to encourage students to enrich their major experience by participating in the intellectual discussions that occur amongst ND and visiting scholars across the campus, distinguished alumni, and professionals in the field. 

RU 33301 The Brothers Karamazov
A multifaceted investigation into the philosophical, psychological, theological, and political determinants of Dostoevsky's most complex novel. Discussions highlight a variety of themes, from the author's visionary political predictions and rejection of materialism to his critique of rationalism and mockery of literary convention. No prerequisite.

RU 33302 St. Petersburg: Myth & Reality
From its inception in 1703 on the banks of the Neva River, St. Petersburg has embodied Russia’s search for a national identity.  Founded by Peter the Great as Russia’s “Window on the West,” it has been championed by those who wished to ally Russia more closely with Western Europe and vilified by those who viewed such a connection as the undoing of native Russian culture.  Starting in the early 19th century, St. Petersburg developed a rich tradition of writers, artists, composers, dancers, and filmmakers who focused on the question of the city’s dual nature within Russian society.  Over the course of a semester, we will use this rich artistic heritage to investigate both the myth and reality of St. Petersburg and how they reflect Russia’s uneasy relationship with the West.  Which political, social, and cultural values did the Russians appropriate from the West?  How did this lead to the modernization of Old Russian culture?  What is the “Russian soul”?  What impact did revolution (1917) and war (World War II, or as the Russians call it, "The Great Fatherland War") have on the Russian psyche?  In seeking answers to these questions, we will read and view some of the greatest works of art produced in the 19th, and 20th centuries.  Areas to be covered include literature (Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Bely, Blok, Mandelshtam, Akhmatova, and Zamyatin), painting (Repin, Surikov, Malevich. Kandinsky), and film (Eisenstein,).  Artistic works will be supplemented with historical accounts, eyewitness reporting, memoir, and documentary footage.

RU 33401 A Space for Speech: Russian Women Memoirists
Throughout the history of Russian literature, the genres of autobiographies, memoirs, and diaries have provided a venue for women writers to find their voices in a private arena safely distanced from the dominant genres of novels and lyric poetry. This course examines the history and development of the female memoir in Russian literature from the 18th-century political memoirs of Catherine the Great to documents of the Stalinist terror and prison camp life of the 20th century. No prerequisite.

RU 33405 Women in Russian Literature
From Tatiana, Pushkin’s shy, graceful and bookish creature with a noble heart and a deep affinity for the Russian countryside; to the vivacious young maiden Natasha, one of Tolstoy’s most famous creations, who is the very embodiment of the Russian spirit; to the unhappy, unfulfilled wives and sisters of Chekhov’s plays and stories, pining away for a more meaningful existence… From mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaia, first woman appointed to a full professorship in a northern European university and author of numerous stories and a childhood memoir; to Alexandra Kollontai, fervent Bolshevik activist for women’s rights; to the enigmatic poet Anna Akhmatova, who watched the men in her life, one by one, being punished by the Soviet state for her own poetic genius… Russian literature is full of memorable, influential female characters, and of gifted women writers who have taken it upon themselves to buck the predominantly masculine trend in the Russian literary tradition. This course will introduce you to some of the most fascinating female characters and female writers in Russian poetry and prose. At the same time, we will go far beyond a mere focus on the female person to ask how attention to the hidden gendered structures in Russian literature can bring to mind significant new perspectives on both canonical literary works and the Russian literary tradition as a whole. Themes of the course will include stereotypical gender patterning of characters, relationships, and behaviors; the literary representation of masculinity and femininity; gendered symbolism and structuring of fictional and poetic texts; reading and writing as sensual experience; the gendered nature of naming with language; the crossover between literature and politics; and female writing as cultural subversion. The course will include works written from the nineteenth century to the present and will feature, among others, the male writers Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov, Chernyshevsky, Pasternak, and Babel and the female writers Pavlova, Kollontai, Zinov’eva-Annibal, Tsvetaeva, Akhmatova, Shvarts, Petrushevskaya, and Tolstaya.

RU 33450 The Individual in 19th-Century Literature
Analyzes a seminal transition in Western society as it moved from an agrarian world centered around the rural estate to an urban culture built on industry and commerce.  Literary texts emphasize the physical, psychological, and moral consequences to the individual of the decline of the estate, the rise of capitalism, the nontraditional nature of life and work in the city, various challenges to the established order (socialism, anarchism), and changing notions of gender.  Texts include Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Nikolai Gogol, "The Overcoat"; Eugène Sue, The Mysteries of Paris (excerpts); Leo Tolstoy, Childhood; Charles Dickens, Hard Times; Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick; Émile Zola, Germinal; and Henrik Ibsen, A Dolls House. Nonliterary texts used to support the literary depiction of the era include John Locke, "Of Property," Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (excerpts); Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto; and Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor (excerpts).

RU 33520 Post-Soviet Russian Cinema
Suddenly freed from the constraints of Soviet-era censorship, Russian filmmakers in the immediate post-Soviet period (1990-2000) exploited the unique qualities of the film medium in order to create compelling portraits of a society in transition. The films we will watch from this period cover a broad spectrum: reassessing Russia's rich pre-Revolutionary cultural heritage as well as traumatic periods in Soviet history (World War II, the Stalinist era); grappling with formerly taboo social issues (gender roles, anti-Semitism, alcoholism); taking an unflinching look at social problems resulting from the breakdown of the Soviet system (the rise of neo-fascism, the war in Chechnya, organized crime); meditating on Russia’s political and cultural dilemmas (the place of non-Russian ethnicities within Russia, Russians’ love-hate relationship with the West). From these early post-Soviet films emerges a picture of a new, raw Russia, as yet confused and turbulent, but full of vitality and promise for the future. The course will conclude with several more recent films (2005-present) that reflect soberly on what Russia has and has not succeeded in accomplishing since the end of Soviet rule—often with an emphasis on the generation gap between those who came of age during the USSR, and the new post-Soviet generation.
Short readings supplement the film component of the course. No knowledge of Russian required.

40000-Level Literature Courses (in Russian)

archdetCathedral of the Intercession Izmailovo (Moscow)  

RU 43101 19th-Century Russian Literature
Introduces the major movements (Sentimentalism, Romanticism, Realism) and authors (Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov) of the 19th century. Special attention is given to the genesis of the modern tradition of Russian literature in the first half of the century and to the role literary culture played in the political and social ferment of the period. Prerequisite: RU 40102 or permission of the instructor.

RU 43102 20th-Century Russian Literature
Surveys the literary innovation and political suppression of literature that define Russia in the 20th century. Introduces such movements/periods as Symbolism, Acmeism, Futurism, the "Fellow Travelers," Socialist Realism, and the "Thaw." Prerequisite: RU 40102 or permission of the instructor.

RU 43110 Introduction to Russian Poetry
Surveys the evolution of verse forms and poetics in the major periods and styles of Russian poetry, including Classicism and the Baroque (18th century), Romanticism and the post-Romantics (19th century), and the early Modernist poetry of the pre-Revolutionary period (Symbolism, Acmeism, and Futurism) as well as later 20th-century poetry. Prerequisite: RU 40102 or permission of the instructor.

RU 43115 Russian Short Story
A representative sampling of Russian short stories in Russian from both the
nineteenth- and twentieth centuries. Writers include Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Bunin, and Gorky; as well as Zoshchenko, Olesha, Aksyonov, Kazakov, and Paustovsky.  Examination of texts; review of grammar and everyday vocabulary and structures; introduction of more advanced idioms and lexicon; daily oral and written assignments. The course is designed as a "working laboratory" to strengthen confidence and skills in reading, speaking, understanding, and writing Russian through increasingly complex and sophisticated narratives. Open to students with three or more semesters of Russian.

pushkinPortrait of Alexander Pushkin (1827) by Vasily Tropinin  

RU 43204 Pushkin
This course is an introduction to the life and works of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, often called the Father of Russian Literature. Through a reading and discussion of selections from Pushkin's lyric verse, narrative poetry, drama, and prose, students will gain an appreciation for Pushkin's extraordinary literary imagination and innovativeness, as well as his significance for the history of Russian literature as a whole. Attention will be given to Pushkin's evolving understanding of his role as Russia's national poet, including such themes in his work as the beauty of the Russian countryside, the poet's sacred calling, political repression and the dream of civic freedom, Russia's relationship to East and West, the dialectic between chance and fate, St. Petersburg and the specter of Revolution, and the subversive power of art. Prerequisite: RU 40102 or permission of the instructor.

RU 43206 Tolstoy
This course samples Tolstoy's novellas, short stories, and folktales with excerpts from the major novels. Themes include Tolstoy's Realism, his critique of the institutions of church and state, his philosophy of nonviolence, and the impact of his religious "crisis" on the latter half of his literary career. Prerequisite: RU 40102 or permission of the instructor.

RU 43405 Russian Romanticism
This course will introduce students to the literature of Russian Romanticism, which came into being at the turn of the nineteenth century, dominated Russian literature in the 1820's and was still influential well into the latter part of the century. Inspired by Russian writers' encounters with English, German, and French Romantic literature, Russian Romanticism was, paradoxically, the first literary movement in Russia that sought to develop a definitively national, uniquely Russian literature and literary language. We will explore this quest for a national literature in light of Russian Romanticism's Western influences. In so doing, we will study works of poetry, fiction, drama, and literary criticism by a diverse group of Romantic writers including Vasily Zhukovsky, Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Lermontov, Karolina Pavlova, Fedor Tiutchev, Afanasy Fet, and others. Themes of the course will include the national and the exotic, the natural and the supernatural, rebellion and social alienation, violence and passion. Prerequisite: RU 40102 or permission of the instructor.

Cathedral of the Dormition (Moscow Kremlin)

kremlinchurchCathedral of the Dormition (Moscow Kremlin) 

RU 43501 St. Petersburg as Russian Cultural Icon
From its inception in 1703 on the banks of the Neva River, St. Petersburg has embodied Russia's search for a national identity. Founded by Peter the Great as Russia's "Window on the West," it has been championed by those who wished to ally Russia more closely with Western Europe and vilified by those who viewed such a connection as the undoing of native Russian culture. Starting in the early 19th century, St. Petersburg developed a rich tradition of writers, artists, composers, dancers, and filmmakers who focused on the question of the city's dual nature within Russian society. Over the course of this semester we will use this rich artistic heritage to investigate Russia's uneasy relationship with the West. Which political, social, and cultural values did the Russians appropriate from the West? What is the legacy of Westernization for Russian culture? Is there such a thing as the "Russian soul"? How did the revolutions of 1917 and the blockade of 1941-43 affect the city and, more generally, the Russians' national consciousness? In seeking answers to these questions we will read, listen to, and view some of the greatest works of art produced in the 19th and 20th centuries. Areas to be covered include literature (Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Blok, Akhmatova, Zamiatin), painting (Repin, Surikov, Malevich), music (Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich), dance (Diaghilev, Balanchine, Fokine), and film (Eisenstein, Kozintsev and Trauberg). Prerequisite: RU 40102 or permission of the instructor.

Special Courses

RU 40001 Reading Russian
This course helps students improve their reading proficiency in Russian by developing strategies for efficiently deciphering sophisticated texts, reviewing grammar, and exploring the art of translating from Russian into English. The reading list consists of works and excerpts from the canon of Russian literature as well as some non-fiction.

RU 40002 Russian Conversation
Through various methods (general conversation, small group activities, and pair work), this course builds students' ability to converse in Russian extemporaneously while maintaining grammatical accuracy and stylistic authenticity. A variety of contemporary topics will be covered, including issues of social and cultural importance and school, work, and family life.

RU 40003 A Virtual Tour Across Russia (In English)
This course surveys modern Russian traditions and culture from the perspective of the most significant Russian cities. Topics include a brief history of each city, its cultural heritage, and its contributions to Russian literature and modern society. Through lectures and discussion, we will consider cities in European Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Ryazan', Kaliningrad), Siberia (Irkutsk, Novosibirsk), and the Russian Far East (Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Yuzno-Sakhalinsk). We will learn which of them gave birth to a widely popular intellectual club, which one was visited by a famous Russian writer after an eighty-two day journey, which was the place where an extremely popular Russian band started its career, etc. We will uncover these and other gems of Russian culture by listening to songs, reading poems, training our brains playing smart games, and many other activities full of Russian Spirit. (In English)

RU 47100 Russian and East European Area Studies Cultural Enrichment
Students enrolled in this 1-credit course will be required to attend at least five lectures and/or cultural enrichment events (films, concerts, art exhibits, festivals, plays, etc.) relevant to Russian and East European Studies, and then write a one page report summarizing each event and what they learned from it.

RU 47101 Area Studies Thesis Research and Writing I
Regular Faculty
Fall semester thesis research in Russian and East European area studies. By the end of the semester, the student will be expected to produce an annotated bibliography of sources, a thesis statement, an outline/proposal for the research project as a whole, and a draft of the first ten pages of the thesis.

RU 47102 Area Studies Thesis Research and Writing II
Regular Faculty
Spring semester thesis research in Russian and East European Area Studies. Working closely with the faculty advisor, the student will produce a polished final draft of the area studies thesis.

RU 48410 Honors Thesis Research and Writing I
Regular Faculty
Thesis writers work closely with their advisor, who guides them through the bulk of their research and the initial stages of writing the thesis. Goals to be accomplished in the first semester include the submission of a thesis statement and one-paragraph introduction by October 1, a two-page prospectus and an annotated bibliography by November 15, and ten pages of the thesis by the end of the semester.

RU 48420 Honors Thesis Research and Writing II
Regular Faculty
Working closely with an advisor, the student completes the research and writing of the honors thesis. Goals to be accomplished in the second semester include the submission of the completed thesis to the advisor in mid-March (the first Monday after Spring Break), submission of the final draft of the thesis incorporating the revisions suggested by the advisor (Monday of the last full week of classes), and the candidate's oral defense of the thesis before the faculty of the Russian section (approximately one week after the submission of the final draft).

RU 36001 Suffering
The purpose of the course is to serve as an open forum for the discussion of suffering and to provide you with an opportunity to investigate a variety of moral, intellectual, and practical implications of this phenomenon, both for individuals and for culture as a whole. At the same time, the course will be centered on the literary works of Russian authors – from the 11th-century Narrative of Boris and Gleb to Fyodor Dostoevsky to Svetlana Alexievich (2015 Nobel Prize winner in literature) – and thus will introduce you to Russian history and literature.