Department of Russian and Eurasian Studies

The Russian Department helps students explore a part of the world that has reshaped history and where history is still being made; the home to peoples and places immensely rich in their cultural, artistic and intellectual achievements.

Beyond the purely pragmatic, Russia’s fundamental cultural achievements — in literature, art, music, theatre, and film — are of permanent value and interest to students of the humanities. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Akhmatova and Pasternak, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, Vertov and Eisenstein, Pavlova and Baryshnikov, Gergiev and Rostropovich—the Russian legacy of achievement is profound, and continues to be a living presence in the intellectual, spiritual, and creative life of humanity. Our commitment to this legacy is at once intensely intellectual and deeply personal: until his death in 1996, Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Brodsky was counted among our colleagues.

We are unique among Mount Holyoke’s language departments in that our faculty includes both specialists in language, literature, and culture and specialists in history and politics. Variously trained in Russia, Europe, and the United States, we strive to bring a balance and a perspective to our subject area that is challenging, engaging, thoughtful—and never dull.

We stand out among Russian departments in the Five Colleges in that we have a specialist, Stephen Jones, who is uniquely qualified to interpret events in Eurasia beyond the borders of Russia itself. Our students study not only in European Russia, but in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Siberia, and experience the multicultural expanse of Eurasia.