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Russian Language and Literature

1, 2, 3. Introductory Russian

1. 08F, 09F: 9L, 12

2. 09W, 10W: 9L

3. 09S, 10S: 9L

An introduction to Russian as a spoken and written language. None of these serves in partial satisfaction of the Distributive or World Culture Requirements. The staff.

7. First-Year Seminar in Russian

Consult special listings

11. Russian Popular Culture

Not offered in the period from 08F through 09S

13. Slavic Folklore: Vampires, Witches and Firebirds

08F, 09S, 09F: 10

This course explores the world of Slavic folklore and legends. Through an analysis of fairytales and other folk texts we will examine the nature and forms of oral tradition in its social context. Topics will include the relationship of myth to folk literature as well as the distinguishing traits of the folk genres most prevalent in the Slavic countries. The themes will be related to the contemporary world wherever possible, examining what happens when traditional cultures and beliefs conflict with modern views. The course is based on materials in Russian and East European cultures, but also draws from other traditions.

Our primary readings will include a selection of fairytales, folksongs and ritual practices of folk beliefs, medicine, incantations and divinations. Backgroundworks include such books as Russian Folk Belief by Linda Ivanits, The Morphology of the Folk Tale by Vladimir Propp, and The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim. We will also examine other media, including film, music (both folk music and more contemporary pieces, including Stravinsky’s The Firebird) and art.

Open to all classes. Dist: INT or LIT; WCult: W. Somoff, Gronas.

14. Faces of Totalitarianism: A History of a Nation through a History of a Medium (Identical to Film Studies 42)

09W: 2A

An interpretative history of Russian, Soviet, Post-Soviet and Central European film. Topics include: tsarist Russia and the psychological school of the silent film (Evegeniy Bauer); the Revolution and the Golden Age of the Soviet montage (Sergey Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov); Stalinism and film as an instrument of mind control and propaganda; late Soviet symbolist cinema (Andrey Tarkovsky); and contemporary Russian Film Noir. The course also touches upon Eastern/Central European film, including Czech New Wave (surrealist animator Jan Svankmeyer) and the “post-Jugoslavian wave” (Emir Kusturica and Dusan Makoveev).

In addition to regular weekly screenings, all films will be made available online in an experimental format: divided into separate short clips that will be used in class for in-depth analysis and close cinematic readings. The final project (done in groups) will be creative: you will make a video-parody or video-stylization of one of the studied films.

Open to all classes: Dist: ART; WCult: W. Gronas.

15. Introduction to Russian Civilization

09W: 3A

An examination of Russia as a cultural, national, and historical entity part of and yet apart from both Europe and Asia. Russia is a continental power of vast proportions whose traditions, character, national myths, and forms of political organization often seem a mirror-image to those of the United States. After a brief survey of Russian history, the course will examine certain determinants of Russian culture, including Christianity, multinationalism, and the status of Russian civilization on the periphery of Europe. The course will then deal with the art, music, and popular literature of Russia, and conclude by examining certain contemporary issues, including the complex coexistence of Russian and Soviet culture.

Open to all classes. WCult: W. Somoff.

19. Understanding the Russians: The Role of Language and Culture in Communication

Not offered in the period from 08F through 09S

21. Russian Civilization: Study Abroad

09X, 10X: D.L.S.A.+

This course, taught by the faculty member directing the program, will vary in topic from year to year, depending on the specialty of the faculty member. Credit for this course is awarded to students who have successfully completed the Dartmouth Foreign Study Program in Russia.

Prerequisite: membership in the L.S.A. Program. WCult: W.

22. The Russian Language: Study Abroad

09X, 10X: D.L.S.A.+

This course represents the course in grammar and the other written work done by the students at the University of St. Petersburg. Credit for this course is awarded to students who have successfully completed the Dartmouth Foreign Study Program in Russia.

Prerequisite: membership in the Foreign Study Program. WCult: W.

23. The Russian Language: Study Abroad

09X, 10X: D.L.S.A.+

This course represents the work done in the phonetics classes and in the conversation classes at the University of St. Petersburg. Credit for this course is awarded to students who have successfully completed the Dartmouth Foreign Study Program in Russia.

Prerequisite: membership in the L.S.A. Program. WCult: W.

27. Intermediate Russian I

08F, 09F: 9L

A continuation of the 1-2-3 cycle, this course is the first of the intermediate language courses offered by the Department. The course prepares the student for further upper-level study of the language. It includes intensive review, introduction to new grammatical topics, as well as reading, composition and conversation.

Prerequisite: Russian 3 or equivalent. Rakova.

28, 29. Intermediate Russian II and III

28. 09W, 10W: 12

29. 09S, 10S: 12

This sequence completes the cycles of second-year Russian. Special emphasis is placed on such difficult areas as participles, aspects and verbs of motion. The course includes extensive reading, video work and vocabulary building.

Prerequisite: Russian 23 or Russian 27, or permission. Rakova, Somoff, Gronas.

31. Russian Literature of the Golden Age in Translation

09S, 10S: 2A

Nineteenth-century Russian prose culminated in the masterpieces of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Chekhov. Through works such as Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment and The Cherry Orchard, these writers expanded the boundaries of the genres in which they worked, even as they exposed the acute social problems of their time. Their work is distinguished not only by the sharpness of the character analysis but also by the compassion with which the analysis is conducted. This course examines the process by which this literature acquired its unique configuration.

Taught in English. Open to all classes. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Kopper.

32. Modern Russian Literature in Translation

09W, 10W: 10

This course examines the impact which the turbulent history of twentieth-century Russia had on literature and on writers struggling to defend their integrity. The century began with Russian Modernism, out of which came experimental masterpieces in all the arts. This movement was terminated in 1930 by Stalin, who imposed harsh controls under the aegis of Socialist Realism, which dominated the arts until Stalin’s death in 1953. Since then, Russian writers have gradually liberated themselves from the demands of the censors to produce a literature as articulate and exciting as the great novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Readings include such novels as Zamyatin’s We, Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago and Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and literary artifacts of the contemporary counterculture (such as cyberpunk novels and rock-n-roll poetry).

Taught in English.* Open to all classes. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Somoff.

35. Dostoevsky and the Problem of Evil

09W, 09F: 2A

Dostoevsky laid bare the tragedy of human existence and probed the innermost recesses of the human psyche to show the terrifying isolation of a human being separated from God. Revolted by a world in which innocent children suffer, Dostoevsky tested the meaning to be found in Christianity, personal responsibility and human solidarity. This course examines his major novels, with particular emphasis on the artistic expression of his philosophical views. Those views will be examined in the context of Russian intellectual and literary history. Readings include Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons, and The Brothers Karamazov.

Taught in English.* Open to all classes. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Kopper.

36. Tolstoy and the Problem of Death

09X: 2A

From childhood to the end of his life, Tolstoy struggled to overcome his fear of death. As he himself put the problem, ‘Is there any meaning in my life which the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?’ In his quest for bulwarks against that fear, he studied the great philosophers and he examined closely the value system of the peasants. He found temporary relief in war and in marriage, but the definitive solution always eluded him. The evolution of this theme, and the formal devices by which Tolstoy expressed it in his prose, will be traced in the major novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. The course will conclude with a brief examination of the prose that Tolstoy produced after his conversion.

Taught in English. Open to all classes. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. The staff.

38. Special Topics in Russian Literature

08F, 10S: 2

This course is devoted to Russian drama and theatre from the 18th through the 21st century. We will read eight plays: Denis Fonvizin The Minor, Alexander Pushkin Boris Godunov, Nikolai Gogol The Government Inspector, Alexander Ostrovsky The Storm, Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Nikolai Erdman The Suicide, Mikhail Bulgakov The Days of the Turbins, and Alexander Vampilov The Elder Son, that are central to Russian literary and theatrical tradition and then discuss their most significant interpretations on both the Russian and the world stage.The meetings will be conducted in a non-traditional format. In our examination of the plays, we will attempt to model the process of stage production in accordance with the principles developed by Konstantin Stanislavsky—a celebrated Russian director whose approach to theatre transformed acting in Russia and beyond.

There will be no papers for this class! Instead, we will engage in a variety of analytical and artistic tasks that will take us through some of the essential steps for the theatrical interpretation of a dramatic text: roundtable analysis; completion of a character’s biography; the “magic if” and the “given circumstances” technique; etude work, etc.

All readings are in English. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Somoff.

39. Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russia and Neighboring States (Identical to Anthropology 39)

09W, 10W: 10

This course explores the emergence of ethnic identity and nationalism among the peoples of the Russian empire, the Soviet Union and their successor states. Drawing on anthropological and historical works, it examines the process of formation of a centralized multiethnic Russian empire and the liberation struggle of its nationalities prior to 1917. It then proceeds to the crucial period of 1917-1991 and explores the theory and practice of nationalities politics of the Bolshevik, Stalinist, and the late Soviet socialism. The dissolution of the USSR, the rise of interethnic conflicts, and the relations between ethnic groups in Russia and the successor states are the focus of the second half of the course, where several case studies are discussed in depth.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Kan.

41. Advanced Conversation and Composition

Not offered in the period from 08F through 09S

42. Advanced Grammar I

Not offered in the period from 08F through 09S

43. Advanced Grammar II

09W: 9L

This course aims to increase and perfect the student’s abilities in all areas of Russian language: conversation, composition and reading. In addition to reviewing difficult grammatical points, the sequence will present certain subtleties of language usage accessible only to advanced students.

Prerequisite: Russian 29. Rakova.

45. Special Topics in Russian Language

Not offered in the period from 08F through 09S

62. Structure of Modern Russian

09S: 11

This course will introduce the student to the necessary methodology for analyzing the linguistic structure of Russian, and will examine the theoretical foundations of such an analysis. The course will focus on the structure of the noun, pronoun and verb, as well as on various aspects of Russian word formation.

Prerequisite: Russian 29. Dist: QDS; WCult: W. Garretson.

71. Topics in Russian Literature

09W: 2A

In this seminar students read works of prose and poetry in Russian, study methods of critical analysis, and practice translation. Each offering of the course will be based on a particular theme or period. Students may take the course more than once provided that the topic is not the same as in a previous election.

In 09W, Pushkin. Without knowing Pushkin’s work and appreciating his uniquely widespread and profound impact on Russian language and culture one cannot truly master the language and understand the country. Readings and discussion materials will include major works by Pushkin such as Boris Godunov, Eugene Onegin, The Bronze Horseman, and The Queen of Spades, as well as critical responses to Pushkin. Readings and discussion in Russian and English (adjusted to the Russian proficiency level of the seminar’s participants). Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Loseff.

85. Independent Reading

All terms: Arrange

Russian 85 is available to students in the Honors Program who intend to do preparatory work for a thesis or to students who wish to study a topic not normally covered in a regularly offered course. In the latter case it is necessary to prepare a one-page proposal describing what the student plans to study and to accomplish during the term. The proposal must then be approved by the faculty member who has agreed to direct the course and by the Department as a whole. Final approval must be received before the beginning of the term in which the course is to be taken.

86. Senior Seminar

Not offered in the period from 08F through 09S

87. Thesis

All terms: Arrange

A program of individual research designed for honors students. Interested students should consult the Chair of the Department.

*    Russian majors will meet during the x-period to do assignments involving use of the Russian Language.