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The Department of Russian
6085 Reed Hall Room 201
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755-3562
Telephone: (603) 646-2070
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Department Chair
Professor John
Department Administrator
Thérèse Perin-Deville,
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Russian 15 Course Syllabus

Russian 15, Winter 2006

Introduction to Russian Civilization

MWF 11:15 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
Thornton 104

Victoria Sevastianova
Reed 201
Office Hours: MW 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., and by appointment

This course examines 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 with rich traditions, character, and national myths. The course is designed as an introduction to Russian civilization and combines chronological and thematic approaches. Accompanied by 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.

Date Assignment Topic
Wednesday, January 4   Introduction
Friday, January 6 Thompson 9-16; Epic 43-51 (Course Reader) Kievan Rus
Monday, January 9 Thompson 16-23; Epic 65-71 (CR) The Orthodox Church
Wednesday, January 11 Thompson 25-39; Epic 198-207 (CR) The Tatar Yoke
Friday, January 13 Thompson 44-49 Andrei Rublev — movie clips and discussion
Monday, January 16 No class  
Tuesday, January 17 (x-hour: 12:00 p.m. - 12.50 p.m.) “Prince Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf” (CR) Russian Folklore and Russian Xenophobia
Wednesday, January 18 Thompson 59-75 Ivan the Terrible/The Time of Troubles
Friday, January 20 “The Frog Princess,” “The Feather of Finist, The Bright Falcon” (CR) Russian Folktales — cartoons and discussion
Monday, January 23 Thompson 77-88 Serfdom and Schism
Wednesday, January 25 Thompson 95-110; Pushkin The Bronze Horseman (CR) Peter the Great
Friday, January 27 Gogol “Nevsky Prospect” (CR) Discuss your presentation topic with me by today! St. Petersburg — movie clips and discussion.
Monday, January 30 Thompson 111-130 Catherine the Great
Wednesday, February 1 Monas “Unreal City: St. Petersburg and Russian Culture” (CR) Moscow vs. St. Petersburg
Friday, February 3 Midterm examination  
Monday, February 6 Thompson 133-145; Berlin (CR ) Russian Culture 1800-1850
Tuesday, February 7 (x-hour: 12:00 p.m. - 12.50 p.m.) Pushkin Sampler (CR) Eugene Onegin — movie clips and discussion
Wednesday, February 8 Karamzin “Poor Liza” (CR), Pushkin “The Squire’s Daughter” (CR) The Myth of Pushkin
Friday, February 10 No class  
Monday, February 13 Turgenev “Khor and Kalinych,” “Hamlet of the Shchigrovsky District” (CR) Slavophiles and Westernizers
Wednesday, February 15 Notes from Underground Dostoevsky
Friday, February 17 Notes from Underground Notes from Underground — discussion
Monday, February 20 Prepare your presentations and questions The Silver Age — presentations
Wednesday, February 22 Prepare your presentations and questions Avant-Garde Art — presentations
Friday, February 24 Thompson 184-186, 229-231 Russian Music and Ballet — film clips and discussion
Monday, February 27 Thompson 193-215; Shalamov (CR) Social and Cultural Revolutions
Wednesday, March 1 Thompson 217-229; Salisbury (CR) Stalinist Culture
Friday, March 3 Thompson 231-238; Glinka (CR) Circus, Jolly Fellows — movie clips and discussion
Monday, March 6 Thompson 251-257, 271-274, 292-299; Pilkington (CR) Russia 1953-1991
Wednesday, March 8 Thompson 301-313, 330-331
Pick up final exam
Contemporary Russian Culture and Society. Conclusion.
Saturday, March 11 Take-home final due by 5:00 p.m.  

Course Requirements

Attendance 10%
Participation 15%
Art/poetry presentation (discussed with me by January 27, presented on February 20 or February 22) 20%
Midterm exam 25%
Take-home final due March 11 30%

The following texts have been ordered through Wheelock Bookstore:

  • Thompson, John M., Russia and the Soviet Union: An Historical Introduction from the Kievan State to the Present
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, Pevear, Richard and Larissa Volokhonsky (Translators). Notes from Underground; Russian 15 Course Reader

Last Updated: 11/17/10