Skip to main content


Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Russian Language and Literature

1, 2, 3. Introductory Russian

1. 11F, 12F: 9L, 12

2. 12W, 13W: 9L

3. 12S, 13S: 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. Patyk, Garretson, Rakova.

7. First-Year Seminar in Russian

Consult special listings

10. Introduction to Russian Civilization (formerly Russian 15)

12W, 13W: 2A

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. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI. Apresjan (12W), Gronas (13W).

11. Special Topics in Russian Culture

12W: 10A

In 12W, Language and Politics in the Caucasus (Identical to Linguistics 11 and Government 40, and described under Linguistics 11) Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Chitoran, Yalowitz.

12. Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russia and the Neighboring States)(Identical to and described under Anthropology 39) (formerly Russian 39)

12W: 2

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

13. Slavic Folklore: Vampires, Witches and Firebirds

11F, 12S, 12F, 13S: 10

In this course, we will discuss a variety of genres from Russian folklore. As we move from the familiar genre of the riddle to the often mystifying beliefs and rituals of the ancient Slavs and then to the fairy tale, comfortingly familiar from childhood, we will learn to not only recognize the richness and density of texts that may initially seem uncomplicated but also to discern the patterns and meanings behind the apparently exotic narratives and behaviors. By thoroughly studying one of the world’s richest oral traditions, Slavic folk life and folklore, we will acquire the tools and techniques necessary for collecting, documenting, and interpreting folklore -- which is perhaps the most truly international of all arts. The course is based on materials in Russian and East European cultures, but also draws from other traditions. Open to all classes. Dist: INT or LIT; WCult: W. Somoff (11F), Miller (12S), Gronas, Patyk (12F), Somoff (13S).

14. The Age of Brainwashing: A History of Russian and Eastern European Film (Identical to Film and Media Studies 42)

11F: 3A

An interpretive 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 the Czech New Wave (surrealist animator Jan Svankmeyer) and the “post-Yugoslavian 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. Miller.

18. Russian Theater (Identical to Theater 10) (formerly Russian 38)

12W: 12 13W: 11

This course is devoted to Russian drama and theater from the 19th through the 21st century. We will read eight plays 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 theater transformed acting in Russia and beyond. The course will culminate in the production of a play by a Russian playwright which students themselves will cast, direct, and design. All readings are in English. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Somoff.

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

Not offered in the period from 11F through 13S

21. Russian Civilization: Study Abroad

12X: 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

12X: 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

12X: 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

11F, 12F: 12

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. Garretson (11F), Gronas (12F).

28, 29. Intermediate Russian II and III

28. 12W, 13W: 12

29. 12S, 13S: 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.

31. Transgressive Novels: Masterpieces of Russian Fiction

11F, 12F: 10A

Under a succession of oppressive forms of government, including monarchy, communism, and today’s oligarchy, Russians have resisted the norms imposed upon them in ways that raise moral dilemmas. In this course we will read works of 19th century Russian authors that grapple with these questions. Works read in translation. The X-hour will be used for students able to read the Russian texts in the original. Authors are likely to include Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. Taught in English. Open to all classes. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Somoff (11F), Kopper (12F).

32. Twentieth Century Russian Literature: Revolution, Terror, and Art

12S, 13S: 10A

This course examines the impact which the turbulent history of twentieth- and twenty-first century Russia has had on literature and on writers struggling to defend their integrity. The beginning of the last century witnessed an unprecedented burst of literary and artistic creativity: the late flowering of the great realist tradition coincided with the advent of modernism, a worldview defined by an insatiable hunger for novelty, will to experiment, taste for scandal and provocation, and bohemian lifestyles. The modernist schools and movements—symbolism, futurism, acmeism, imagism, and suprematism—were terminated in the 1930s by Stalin. Since then, despite decades of censorship and material hardship, Russian writers have continued to produce one of the world’s greatest literatures. Readings will include Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, works by such authors as Chekhov and Pasternak, and samples from the radical avant-garde. Readings will be supplemented by excursions into Russian cinema, fine arts, photography, cyber-punk and contemporary performance art. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Kopper (12S), Somoff (13S).

35. Dostoevsky and the Problem of Evil

12W, 13W: 10A

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. Somoff.

36. “The Seer of the Flesh”: Tolstoy’s Art and Thought

Not offered in the period from 11F through 13S

38. Special Topics in Russian Literature

12S: 10A

In this course students will study works of Russian literature, taught in 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.

The Violence of the Story: Masterpieces of Short Fiction in Russia and the West. Through its brevity the short story challenges readers to invent, imagine, and interpolate information to a degree not demanded by the novel. This course explores the inherent violence that the story form does to reading expectations, notions of character interaction, and conventional ideas about what constitutes a plot. It also examines ways in which the short story tests our ability to contextualize and defeats our wish for closure. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Kopper.

41. Advanced Conversation and Composition

12F: 10

Advanced Russian Grammar through the study of the Russian short story and a brief synopsis of Russian history. Students will continue to develop their spoken, written and reading proficiency in the Russian language. Prerequisite: Russian 29 or higher. Rakova.

42. Advanced Grammar I

11F: 10


43. Advanced Grammar II

Not offered in the period from 11F through 13S

45. Special Topics in Russian Language

12S: 11

History of the Russian Language. This course introduces the student to the history of the phonology (sound development) and morphology (development of grammatical categories) of Russian as a Slavic and Indo-European language. Prerequisite: Russian 29 or higher. Garretson.

48. Structure of Modern Russian (formerly Russian 62)

Not offered in the period from 11F through 13S

71. Advanced Seminar in Russian Culture

12W, 13W: 10

In this seminar, advanced learners and native speakers of Russian have an opportunity to read in the original and to study in depth works that are central to Russian intellectual history and literary tradition. Topics vary from year to year and may concentrate either on individual authors (Pushkin, Chekhov, Gogol), or a period (Middle Ages, The Silver Age, the Post-Soviet era), or a phenomenon (Russian Humor, Popular Culture, Utopianism). The course is conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: At least one course in the 40s; students who have equivalent preparation may enroll with permission of the instructor. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Somoff (12W), Gronas (13W).

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 11F through 13S

87. Thesis

All terms: Arrange

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