Selecting Courses

First-Year Students


A student coming to Mount Holyoke with no background in Russian language should enroll in Russian 101-102, a yearlong introduction to Russian language and culture. Students who have previously studied Russian and plan to elect Russian language should consult with the department for individual placement.

In addition to RES 101–102, recommended courses for first-year study include:

  • RES 210f, Great Books: Literature of 19th Century Russia
  • RES 240f,  Contemporary Russian Politics

Courses on Russian literature and culture may be used to satisfy the distribution requirement in the humanities—arts, language, and literature.

Courses on Russian history and politics satisfy distribution requirements either in the humanities (IB) or social sciences (III-A).

January Intersession Courses

History, Politics, and Culture in the Republic of Georgia

Three weeks in January
Fees: approx. $1,800 for travel and accommodation

Three weeks in the Republic of Georgia. Students will attend a series of lectures in English on historical and contemporary issues in Caucasia and will be allocated short internships according to their interests (e.g., NGOs, Parliament, hospitals, the Foreign Ministry). There will be a number of cultural excursions to historical sights with local guides. Students will stay with families and be expected to write a short report on their internship as well as a paper about some aspect of Caucasian history or politics.

Does not meet a distribution requirement; S. Jones; 2 credits

Fall 2017 - Russian and Eurasian Studies Courses

Elementary Russian
MWF 10-10:50 a.m., TH 3:15-4:05 p.m.
S. Nazarova

The four-skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) introduction to the Russian Language with the 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, develop an understanding of the Russian culture through watching films and listening to songs.

Intermediate Russian
MWF 8:35-9:50 a.m.
S. Nazarova

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
MW 1:15-2:30 p.m.
P. Scotto

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.

Contemporary Russian Politics: From Lenin to Putin
TTH 1:15-2:30 p.m.
S. Jones

Russia was transformed by communist revolution into a global superpower that challenged the dominant ideologies of liberalism and nationalism. It became a powerful alternative to capitalism. In 1991, this imperial state collapsed and underwent an economic, political, and cultural revolution. What explains the Soviet Union's success for 70 years and its demise in 1991? What sort of country is Russia as it enters the twenty-first century? Is it a democracy? How has Russia's transformation affected ordinary people and Russia's relationship to the West?

The Russian and Eurasian Studies Department at Mount Holyoke is a five-college department and courses can be also taken through the Amherst College Russian DepartmentSmith College Russian DepartmentUMass Program in Slavic and East European Studies. Detailed information on course selection and placement can also be found in the Russian and Eurasian Studies chapter of the catalog. Other courses can be found in the Five College Course Guide