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Fall 2006

Russian Language Courses
Advanced Russian Language
Courses for Russian-Speaking Students
Introductory and Survey Courses

Freshman Seminars
Intermediate and Seminar Courses
Graduate Level Courses
Slavic Courses
Eastern European
CGS Courses

Introductory Language Courses

RUSS001 Elementary Russian I

001 MWF 10-11AM, TR 10:30-11:30AM SHARDAKOVA M
601 MW 6:30-9PM OLEINICHENKO L (offered through CGS)

This course develops elementary skills in reading, speaking, understanding and writing the Russian language. We will work with an exciting range of authentic written materials, videos and recordings relating to the dynamic scene of Russia today. At the end of the course students will be comfortable with the Russian alphabet and will be able to read basic texts (signs, menus, news headlines) and participate in elementary conversations about daily life (who you are, what you do every day, where you are from, likes and dislikes).

RUSS002 Elementary Russian II
Prior language experience required


A continuation of RUSS 001. Further work developing basic language skills using exciting authentic materials about life in present-day Russia. At the conclusion of the course, students will be prepared to negotiate most basic communication needs in Russia (getting around town, ordering a meal, buying goods and services, polite conversation about topics of interest) and to comprehend most texts and spoken material at a basic level.

RUSS003 Intermediate Russian I
Prior language requirement required. Prerequisite(s): RUSS 002 or placement exam.

001 MW 10-11AM, TR 10:30-11:30AM KORSHUNOVA S
601 TR 5-7PM OLEINICHENKO L (offered through CGS)

This course will develop your ability to use the Russian language in the context of typical everyday situations, including university life, family, shopping, entertainment, etc. Role-playing, skits, short readings from literature and the current press, and video clips will be used to help students improve their language skills. At the end of the semester you will be able to read and write short texts about your daily schedule and interests, to understand brief newspaper articles, films and short literary texts, and to express your opinions in Russian. In combination with RUSS 004, this course prepares students to satisfy the language competency requirement.

RUSS107 Russian Outside the Classroom I
Previous language experience required

TBA, please stand by for updates. YAKUBOVA

The goal of RUSS 107 is to provide students of Russian language and Russian heritage speakers with formalized opportunities to improve their conversation and comprehension skills while experiencing various aspects of Slavic culture. There will be no weekly assignments or readings, but all students will be expected to contribute at a level equivalent to their Russian-speaking abilities both in class and on the newsletter final project. The course consists of attending 2 out of 3 hrs/week of lunch-time conversation (W/Th 12-1:30) in addition to a tea-drinking hour in the department (F 4-5pm), film viewings, and a single outside cultural event (e.g., concert of Russian music at the Kimmel Center).

RUSS108 Russian Outside the Classroom II
This is a class for those who have already taken RUSS107.

Previous language experience required.

TBA, please stand by for updates. YAKUBOVA

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Advanced Russian Language

RUSS311 Advance Russian Conversation and Composition
Prerequisite(s): RUSS 004 or placement exam. Prior language experience is required.


This course develops students' skills in speaking and writing about topics in Russian literature, contemporary society, politics, and everyday life. Topics include women, work and family; sexuality; the economic situation; environmental problems; and life values. Materials include selected short stories by 19th and 20th century Russian authors, video-clips of interviews, excerpts from films, and articles from the Russian media. Continued work on grammar and vocabulary building.

RUSS419 Russian Song and Folklore
Prior language experience required. Taught in Russian.


Song and, in particular, folk song is an essential and exciting component of Russian culture and social life, and an important language learning tool. The course offers a general introduction to the history of Russian song and folklore for advanced students of Russian. Students will explore the historical trajectory of Russian song and its various genres (from folk to the modern Estrada), examine the poetic and literary principles of song, discuss its aesthetic properties, and analyze the educational, community-building and ideological roles of song in Russian society.

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Courses for Russian-Speaking Students

RUSS360 Literacy in Russian I


This course is intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and seek to achieve proficiency in the language. Topics will include an intensive introduction to the Russian writing system and grammar, focusing on exciting materials and examples drawn from classic and contemporary Russian and emigre culture and social life. Students who complete this course in combination with RUSS 361 satisfy the language requirement in Russian. Students should have completed no more than three years of formal schooling in Russian, or the equivalent. Students who have attended Russian school for more than three years may be permitted to enroll with the instructor's permission.

RUSS401 Russian Poetics
Distribution III: May be counted as a Distributional course in Arts & Letters. Steiner. Prerequisite(s): RUSS 311. Taught in Russian.

301 TR 10:30-12NOON STEINER P

Introduction to the analysis of poetic texts, based on the works of Derzhavin, Tyutchev, Blok, Fet, Mayakovsky, and others.

RUSS460 Post-Soviet Russia in Film
Distribution Req. III: May be counted as a Distributional course in Arts & Letters. Bourlatskaya. Taught in Russian.


Film is arguably the most powerful medium for reflecting changes in modern society. This course will examine Russian's transition to democracy and market economy through the eyes of its most creative and controversial cinematographers. The course will focus on the often agonizing process of changing values and attitudes as the country moves from Soviet to Post-Soviet society. Russian films with English subtitles will be supplemented by readings from contemporary Russian media sources. The course provides an excellent visual introduction to the problems of contemporary Russia society. This course is primarily intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and who have already gained advanced competency in written Russian.

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Introductory and Survey Courses

RUSS048 Rise and Fall of Russian Empire
Distribution II: History & Tradition


402 REC F 10-11AM STAFF
404 REC R 4:30-5:30PM

How and why did Russia become the center of the world's largest empire, a single state encompassing eleven time zones and over a hundred ethnic groups? To answer this question, we will explore the rise of a distinct political culture beginning in medieval Muscovy, its transformation under the impact of a prolonged encounter with European civilization, and the various attempts to re-form Russia from above and below prior to the Revolution of 1917. Main themes include the facade vs. the reality of central authority, the intersection of foreign and domestic issues, the development of a radical intelligentsia, and the tension between empire and nation.

RUSS145 Russian Literature before 1870
All readings and lectures in English
Gen Req III: Arts & Letters

001 TR 3-4:30PM STEINER P

Major Russian writers in English translation: Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, early Tolstoy, and early Dostoevsky.

RUSS190 Terrorism: Russian Origins and 21 c. Methods
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution II: History and Tradition

001 MW 2-3:30PM TODOROV V

This course studies the emergence of organized terrorism in nineteenth century Russia. It examines the philosophy of the terrorist struggle through its methods, causes, various codes, and manifestoes that defined its nature for the times to come. We critique intellectual movements such as nihilism, anarchism, and populism that inspired terrorism defining the political violence and disorder as beneficial acts. The issue of policing terrorism becomes central when we study a police experiment to infiltrate, delegitimize and ultimately neutralize the terrorist networks in late imperial Russia. The discussions draw on the ideology and political efficacy of the conspiratorial mode of operation, terrorist tactics such as assassination and hostage-taking, the cell structure of the groups and underground incognito of the strikers, their maniacal self-denial, revolutionary asceticism, underground mentality, faceless omnipotence, and other attributes-intensifiers of its mystique. We analyze the technology and phenomenology of terror that generate symmetrical disorganizing threats to any organized form of government and reveal the terrorist act as a sublime end as well as a lever for achieving practical causes. Our study traces the rapid proliferation of terrorism in the twentieth century and its impact on the public life in Western Europe, the Balkans, and America.

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Freshman Seminars

RUSS130 Russian Ghost Stories
Sector III- Arts and Letters

301 MW 3:30-5PM VINITSKY I
No prior language experience required

In this course, we will read and discuss ghost stories written by some of the most well-known Russian writers. The goal of the course is threefold: to familiarize the students with brilliant and thrilling texts which represent various periods of Russian literature; to examine the artistic features of ghost stories and to explore their ideological implications. With attention to relevant scholarship (Freud, Todorov, Derrida, Greenblatt), we will pose, questions about the role of the storyteller in ghost stories, about horror and the fantastic. We will also ponder gender and class, controversy over sense and sensation, spiritual significance and major changes in attitudes toward the supernatural. We will consider the concept of the apparition as a peculiar cultural myth which tells us about the "dark side" of the Russian literary imagination and about the historical and political conflicts which have haunted Russian minds in previous centuries.

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Intermediate and Seminar Courses

RUSS202 Tolstoy
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution III: Arts & Letters
Benjamin Franklin Seminars

301 MW 2 -3:30PM VINITSKY I

Readings will include WAR AND PEACE, ANNA KARENINA, and other works in translation; Tolstoy's innovations, his philosophy of history, and his theories of art.

RUSS299 Independent Study
See dept. for section numbers, permission needed from instructor

RUSS399 Supervised Work
See Dept. for section numbers
Permission needed from instructor

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Graduate Level Courses

SLAV500 History of Literary Theory
All readings and lectures in English . Undergraduates need permission.


This course is an introduction to literary and cultural theory and to some of the key problems of questions that animate theoretical discussion among literary scholars today. These include questions about aesthetics and cultural value, about ideology and hegemony, about the patriarchal and colonial bases of Western culture, and about the status of the cultural object, the cultural critic, and cultural theory itself.

SLAV526 In Defiance of Babel: The Quest For A Universal Language
All readings and lectures in English . Undergraduates need permission. Cross-listed with COML 526, HIST526, and ENGL705


The course explores the historical trajectory from antiquity to the present day of the idea of discovering or creating an ideal universal language as a medium for explaining the essence of human experience and a means for universal communication.

The possibility of universal communication has been as vital and thought-provoking a question throughout the history of humanity as it is at the present. Particularly, the idea that the language spoken in the Garden of Eden was a language which perfectly expressed the essence of all possible objects and concepts has occupied the minds of scholars for at least two millennia. In defiance of the myth of the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages, there have been numerous attempts to overcome divine punishment and discover the path back to harmonious existence. For theologians, the possibility of recovering or recreating a universal language would allow direct experience of the divinity, for philosophers it would enable apprehension of the laws of nature, for mystic-cabalists it would offer access to hidden knowledge. Today, this idea still continues to provoke scholars and it echoes in the modern theories of universal grammar and underlying linguistic structures, as well as in various attempts to create artificial languages, starting with Esperanto and ending with a language for cosmic intercourse.

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Slavic Courses

SLAV399 Independent Study

SLAV501 Elementary Polish I
Offered through the Penn Language Center

680 TR 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Sachs

SLAV530 Elementary Czech I
Offered through Penn Language Center

680 TR 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. Stejskal

SLAV590 Elementary Ukrainian I
Offered through Penn Language Center

680 MW 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Rudnytzky

SLAV592 Intermediate Ukrainian I
Offered through Penn Language Center

680 MW 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Rudnytzky

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Eastern European

EEUR121 Elementary Hungarian I


EEUR123 Intermediate Hungarian I


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Courses Offered Through CGS

RUSS001 Elementary Russian I
Crosslisted with RUSS-501


RUSS003 Intermediate Russian I
Crosslisted with RUSS-503


RUSS196 Russian Short Story
Distribution III: Arts & Letters

601 LEC M 5:30-8:30PM TODOROV V

This course studies the development of 19th and 20th century Russian literature through one of its most distinct and highly recognized genres -- the short story. The readings include great masters of fiction such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, and others. The course presents the best works of short fiction and situates them in a literary process that contributes to the history of a larger cultural-political context. Students will learn about the historical formation, poetic virtue, and thematic characteristics of major narrative modes such as romanticism, utopia, realism, modernism, socialist realism, and post-modernism. We critique the strategic use of various devices of literary representation such as irony, absurd, satire, grotesque, anecdote, etc. Some of the main topics and issues include: culture of the duel; the role of chance; the riddle of death; anatomy of madness; imprisonment and survival; the pathologies of St. Petersburg; terror and homo sovieticos.

RUSS290 Russians and Fairy Tales
Cross-listed with FOLK306


RUSS449 Winners and Losers in Film and Literature
Cross-listed with CINE365

602 LEC W 5:30-8:30PM ZUBAREV V

We will explore a concept of decision making as applied to a wide range of characters in literature and cinematography. In modern approach, the question of one's success and failure is linked to the decision makers' capability, their inner qualities, their ability to set goals, as well as their skills in elaborating strategy and tactics that would prevent them from disasters. In this course, we will refer to folkloric sources from a series of Indo-European traditions (Greek, Russian, East-European), considering different approaches to success and failure in them. Subsequently, we will examine characters from major European literary and dramatic works-and especially Russian works that exploited the topic of decision making to structure the plot and narrative and to illuminate the role of an individual. Analysis will be informed by classical and contemporary theoretical tools (from ancient philosophers to Upenn's own Prof. Aron Katsenelinboigen). Our investigations will lead ultimately to analytical insight into major works of the western literary and filmic canon.

RUSS501 Elementary Russian I
Crosslisted with RUSS001. Permission from the department is required.


RUSS503 Intermediate Russian I
Crosslisted with RUSS003. Permission from the department is required.


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