Fall 2016 Russian and Eurasian Courses
MWF 8:35-9:50 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
This class is a four-skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) introduction to the Russian Language with a focus on communicative skills development. Major structural topics include pronunciation and intonation, all six cases, basic conjugation patterns, and verbal aspect. By the end of the course the students will be able to initiate and sustain conversation on basic topics, write short compositions, read short authentic texts and comprehend their meaning, and they will develop an understanding of the Russian culture through watching films and listening to songs.
MWF 1:15-2:30 p.m.
This course is an in-depth review of grammar topics and expansion of vocabulary with the goal of developing communicative proficiency. Readings include short stories, poetry, and newspaper articles. Students watch Russian films and discuss them orally and in writing. Classes are conducted mostly in Russian.
Great Books: The Literature of Nineteenth-Century Russia
TTH 1:15-2:30 p.m.
In no other culture has literature occupied the central role it enjoyed in nineteenth-century Russia. Political, social, and historical constraints propelled Russian writers into the roles of witness, prophet, and sage. Yet, far from being limited to the vast, dark 'Big Question' novels of legend, Russian literature offers much humor, lyricism, and fantasy. We will focus on the Russian novel as a reaction to western European forms of narrative and consider the recurring pattern of the strong heroine and the weak hero. Authors will include: Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov.
War and Peace
MW 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
In this class, we will be engaged in a close reading of a translation of Tolstoy's epic novel War and Peace. Tolstoy's sweeping account of men and women caught up in Russia's desperate struggle to survive against the onslaught of Napoleon's army is often considered among the greatest novels. We will focus on Tolstoy's literary strategies, philosophy, and historical contexts.
Topics in the Recent History of Europe: 'Postwar Societies: USSR and Eastern Europe'
TTH 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
What was it like to be a hipster in the Soviet Union? What does rock music have to do with political dissent? This course offers a critical inquiry into the fascinating and vibrant societies of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe from 1945 to 1989, with a focus on the former. While gaining an understanding of the major political developments from late Stalinism to the end of Communism, we will explore the creative ways in which citizens of the Eastern bloc expressed their agency and initiated societal change. Using a range of primary and secondary sources, including film and literature, we will study themes such as postwar childhood, fashion, music, political dissent, and environmentalism.