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Fall 2008

Russian Language

Ukrainian Language

Czech Language

Polish Language

Freshman Seminars

Introductory and Survey Courses, Conducted in English

Intermediate and Advanced Seminars, Conducted in English

Intermediate and Advanced Seminars, Conducted in Russian

Courses for Students Who Speak Russian at Home

Graduate Level Courses

Courses Offered Through CGS


Russian Language

RUSS001 Elementary Russian I

001 MWF 10 - 11am, TR 10:30 -11:30am Staff
002 MTWRF 3 - 4pm Oleinichenko L
See "Courses Offered Through CGS" below for additional times.

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, the Internet, 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 simplified literary, ‘commercial’, and other types of texts (signs, menus, short news articles, short stories) and participate in elementary conversations about daily life (who you are, what you do every day, where you are from, likes and dislikes).

RUSS003 Intermediate Russian I
Prior language study required
Prerequisite: RUSS 002 or placement exam

001 MW 11am - 12pm, TR 10:30am - 11:30am Shardakova M
002 MTWR 5 - 6pm Oleinichenko L
See "Courses Offered Through CGS" below for additional times.

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 and their understanding of Russian culture. 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
Prior language experience required
May not be counted towards major, minor or certificate in Russian
0.5 CU

Times: TBA (please stand by for updates) Yakubova A

The goal of RUSS107 is to provide students of Russian language and students who spoke Russian at home with formalized opportunities to improve their conversation and comprehension skills while experiencing various aspects of Russian 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 regular conversation hours in addition to a tea-drinking hour in the department (F 4-5pm), film viewings, and a single outside cultural event (e.g., a concert of Russian music at the Kimmel Center).

RUSS108 Russian Outside the Classroom II
Prior language experience required
May not be counted towards major, minor or certificate in Russian
0.5 CU

Times: TBA (please stand by for updates) Yakubova A

RUSS311 Advanced Conversation & Composition I
Prior language study required
Prerequisite: RUSS004 or placement exam

TR 12 -1:30pm Shardakova M

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.

RUSS360 Literacy in Russian I
Prior language experience required

MWF 11am -12pm Korshunova S

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 culture and social life. Students who complete this course in combination with RUSS361 satisfy the Penn Language Requirement.

RUSS413 Twentieth-Century Russian Literature, Film and Culture: Utopia, Revolution and Dissent
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite(s): RUSS 312 or placement exam

TR 12:00 - 1:30pm Bourlatskaya M

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian, and introduces students to major movements and figures of twentieth-century Russian literature and culture. We will read the works of modern Russian writers, and watch and discuss feature films. The course will introduce the first Soviet films and works of the poets of the Silver Age and beginning of the Soviet era as well as the works from later periods up to the Perestroika and Glasnost periods (the late 1980s).

RUSS467 Classic Russian Literature Today
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of 10 and after)
Prerequisite: RUSS361 or similar proficiency

TR 12 - 1:30pm Korshunova S

This course is intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and seek to improve their capabilities in formal and professional uses of the Russian language. A study of classic Russian literature in the original. Readings will consist of some of the greatest works of 19th and 20th-century authors, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Bulgakov. Students will examine various forms and genres of literature, learn basic techniques of literary criticism, and explore the way literature is translated into film and other media. An additional focus of the course will be on examining the uses and interpretations of classic literature and elitist culture in contemporary Russian society. Observing the interplay of the "high" and "low" in Russian cultural tradition, students will develop methodology of cultural analysis.

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Ukrainian Language

SLAV590 Elementary Ukrainian I
Offered through Penn Language Center

MW 5 - 7pm Rudnytzky L

SLAV594 Advanced Ukrainian I
Offered through Penn Language Center
Prior Language Experience Required

MW 7 - 8:30pm Rudnytzky L

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Czech Language

SLAV530 Elementary Czech I
Offered through Penn Language Center

MW 6 - 8pm Stejskal J

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Polish Language

SLAV501 Elementary Polish I
Offered through Penn Language Center

MW 6 - 8pm staff

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Freshman Seminars

RUSS130 Russian Ghost Stories: The Supernatural in Russian Literature
All readings and lectures in English.

TR 12 pm - 1:30 pm Vinitsky I

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, and 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. Readings will include literary works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, and Bulgakov, as well as works by some lesser, yet extremely interesting, authors. We will also read excerpts from major treatises regarding spiritualism, including Swedenborg, Kant, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mme Blavatsky. The course consists of 28 sessions ("nights") and includes film presentations and horrifying slides.

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Introductory and Survey Courses, Conducted in English

RUSS049 The Soviet Century: 1917-1991
All readings and lectures in English
History & Tradition Sector (All Classes)
Cross-listing: HIST049

MW 11 - 12Noon Nathans B

Out of an obscure, backward empire, the Soviet Union emerged to become the great political laboratory of the twentieth century. This course will trace the roots of the world's first socialist society and its attempts to recast human relations and human nature itself. Topics include the origins of the Revolution of 1917, the role of ideology in state policy and everyday life, the Soviet Union as the center of world communism, the challenge of ethnic diversity, and the reasons for the USSR's sudden implosion in 1991. Focusing on politics, society, culture, and their interaction, we will examine the rulers (from Lenin to Gorbachev) as well as the ruled (peasants, workers, and intellectuals; Russians and non-Russians). The course will feature discussions of selected texts, including primary sources in translation.

RUSS130 Russian Ghost Stories: The Supernatural in Russian Literature
All readings and lectures in English.            FRESHMAN SEMINAR

TR 12 pm - 1:30 pm Vinitsky I

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, and 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. Readings will include literary works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, and Bulgakov, as well as works by some lesser, yet extremely interesting, authors. We will also read excerpts from major treatises regarding spiritualism, including Swedenborg, Kant, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mme Blavatsky. The course consists of 28 sessions ("nights") and includes film presentations and horrifying slides.

RUSS145 Russian Literature before 1870
All readings and lectures in English
Arts and Letters Sector (All Classes)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)

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 21st Century Methods
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution II, History & Tradition (Class of '09 and prior)

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 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 asymmetrical 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.

RUSS196 Russian Short Story
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Offered through CGS

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, anec¬dote, 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 sovieticus.

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Intermediate and Advanced Seminars, Conducted in English

RUSS202 Tolstoy
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Benjamin Franklin Seminar

TR 1:30 - 3pm Vinitsky I

This course consists of three parts. The first, “How to read Tolstoy?” deals with Tolstoy’s artistic stimuli, favorite devices, and narrative strategies. The second, “Tolstoy at War,” explores the author’s provocative visions of war, gender, sex, art, social institutions, death, and religion. The emphasis is placed here on the role of a written word in Tolstoy’s search for truth and power. The third and the largest section is a close reading of Tolstoy’s masterwork “War and Peace” (1863-68) – a quintessence of both his artistic method and philosophical insights.

RUSS426 Chekhov on Stage and Screen
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-listing: CINE365
Offered through CGS

T 5:30 - 8:30pm Zubarev V

Forms a part of the CGS Masters in Liberal Arts Program. “What’s so funny, Mr. Chekhov?” This question is often asked by critics and directors who still are puzzled with Chekhov’s definition of his four major plays as comedies. Traditionally, all of them are staged and directed as dramas, melodramas, or tragedies. Should we cry or should we laugh at Chekhovian characters who commit suicide, or are killed, or simply cannot move to a better place of living? Is the laughable synonymous to comedy and the comic? Should any fatal outcome be considered tragic? All these and other questions will be discussed during the course. The course is intended to provide the participants with a concept of dramatic genre that will assist them in approaching Chekhov’s plays as comedies. In addition to reading Chekhov’s works, Russian and western productions and film adaptations of Chekhov’s works will be screened. Among them are, Vanya on 42nd Street with Andre Gregory, and Four Funny Families. Those who are interested will be welcome to perform and/or direct excerpts from Chekhov’s works.

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Intermediate and Advanced Seminars, Conducted in Russian

RUSS401 Russian Poetics
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Prerequisite: RUSS312 or placement exam
Literatures of the World
Cross-listing: COLL224 and COML401

TR 10:30am - 12Noon Steiner P

Introduction to the analysis of poetic texts, based on the works of Batyushkov, Lermontov, Tyutchev, Fet, Mandel’shtam, and others.

RUSS413 Twentieth-Century Russian Literature, Film and Culture: Utopia, Revolution and Dissent
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite(s): RUSS 312 or placement exam

TR 12:00 - 1:30pm Bourlatskaya M

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian, and introduces students to major movements and figures of twentieth-century Russian literature and culture. We will read the works of modern Russian writers, and watch and discuss feature films. The course will introduce the first Soviet films and works of the poets of the Silver Age and beginning of the Soviet era as well as the works from later periods up to the Perestroika and Glasnost periods (the late 1980s).

RUSS467 Classic Russian Literature Today
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Prerequisite: RUSS361 or similar proficiency

TR 12 - 1:30pm Korshunova S

This course is intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and seek to improve their capabilities in formal and professional uses of the Russian language. A study of classic Russian literature in the original. Readings will consist of some of the greatest works of 19th and 20th-century authors, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Bulgakov. Students will examine various forms and genres of literature, learn basic techniques of literary criticism, and explore the way literature is translated into film and other media. An additional focus of the course will be on examining the uses and interpretations of classic literature and elitist culture in contemporary Russian society. Observing the interplay of the "high" and "low" in Russian cultural tradition, students will develop methodology of cultural analysis.

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Courses for Students Who Speak Russian at Home

RUSS360 Literacy in Russian I
Prior language experience required

MWF 11am -12pm Korshunova S

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 culture and social life. Students who complete this course in combination with RUSS361 satisfy the Penn Language Requirement.

RUSS401 Russian Poetics
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Prerequisite: RUSS312 or placement exam
Literatures of the World
Cross-listing: COLL224 and COML401

TR 10:30am - 12Noon Steiner P

Introduction to the analysis of poetic texts, based on the works of Batyushkov, Lermontov, Tyutchev, Fet, Mandel’shtam, and others.

RUSS467 Classic Russian Literature Today
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Prerequisite: RUSS361 or similar proficiency

TR 12 - 1:30pm Korshunova S

This course is intended for students who have spoken Russian at home and seek to improve their capabilities in formal and professional uses of the Russian language. A study of classic Russian literature in the original. Readings will consist of some of the greatest works of 19th and 20th-century authors, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Bulgakov. Students will examine various forms and genres of literature, learn basic techniques of literary criticism, and explore the way literature is translated into film and other media. An additional focus of the course will be on examining the uses and interpretations of classic literature and elitist culture in contemporary Russian society. Observing the interplay of the "high" and "low" in Russian cultural tradition, students will develop methodology of cultural analysis.

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Graduate Level Courses

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

W 12 - 3pm Kaul S

This course will traverse the history of aesthetics in order to understand the complexities of contemporary literary theory. In a sense, our subject is the fall-out of a paradox, virtuality, in its endless collisions with ideology. The syllabus will include such canonic figures as Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Augustine, Sidney, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Saussure, Benjamin, Foucault, Baudrillard, Derrida, Said, Irigaray, and Butler (in general, authors found on the Comparative Literature examination list in theory). Course requirements: three short papers (7 pages), and a class presentation.

SLAV623 Historiography of Imperial and Soviet Russia
Undergraduates need permission.

W 2 - 5pm Platt K

The course is designed for graduate students with at least advanced reading knowledge of Russian: seminar discussion will be conducted in English, but a fair amount of reading will be assigned in Russian. We will cover the development of Russian historical research and writing from the start of the eighteenth century to the present, focusing on major texts, schools and figures. Alongside this traditional historiographical architecture, segments of the course will be devoted as well to a variety of theoretical models and approaches to research, including: institutional history, cultural history, poetics of history, philosophy of history, "invention of tradition," trauma studies, and others.

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Courses Offered Through CGS

RUSS001 Elementary Russian I
Non-CGS Students need permission from CGS

MW 6:30 - 9pm Oleinichenko L

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, the Internet, 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 simplified literary, ‘commercial’, and other types of texts (signs, menus, short news articles, short stories) and participate in elementary conversations about daily life (who you are, what you do every day, where you are from, likes and dislikes).

RUSS003 Intermediate Russian I
Prior language study required
Prerequisite: RUSS 002 or placement exam
Non-CGS Students need permission from CGS

TR 5 - 7pm Oleinichenko L

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 and their understanding of Russian culture. 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.

RUSS196 Russian Short Story
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Offered through CGS

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, anec¬dote, 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 sovieticus.

RUSS426 Chekhov on Stage and Screen
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-listing: CINE365
Offered through CGS

T 5:30 - 8:30pm Zubarev V

Forms a part of the CGS Masters in Liberal Arts Program. “What’s so funny, Mr. Chekhov?” This question is often asked by critics and directors who still are puzzled with Chekhov’s definition of his four major plays as comedies. Traditionally, all of them are staged and directed as dramas, melodramas, or tragedies. Should we cry or should we laugh at Chekhovian characters who commit suicide, or are killed, or simply cannot move to a better place of living? Is the laughable synonymous to comedy and the comic? Should any fatal outcome be considered tragic? All these and other questions will be discussed during the course. The course is intended to provide the participants with a concept of dramatic genre that will assist them in approaching Chekhov’s plays as comedies. In addition to reading Chekhov’s works, Russian and western productions and film adaptations of Chekhov’s works will be screened. Among them are, Vanya on 42nd Street with Andre Gregory, and Four Funny Families. Those who are interested will be welcome to perform and/or direct excerpts from Chekhov’s works.

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