Search Slavic Website:

Fall 2009

Russian Language

Ukrainian Language

Czech Language

Polish Language

Serbo-Croatian 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 CLPS


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 CLPS" 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

401 MW 11am - 12pm, TR 10:30am - 11:30am Shardakova M
002 MTWR 5 - 6pm Oleinichenko L
See "Courses Offered Through CLPS" 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.

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.

RUSS410 Russian Folk and Literary Tale
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite(s): RUSS 312 or placement exam

MW 2:00 - 3:30pm Verkholantsev J

This course continues developing students’ advanced skills in Russian. It focuses on the language, style, and narrative techniques of Russian tales. Course materials include written, animated, and cinematic versions of folk fairy tales, epic songs, and literary tales by major Russian authors, such as Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, and Leo Tolstoy. The course aims to improve students’ knowledge of idiomatic language and to expand their knowledge of Russian popular culture.

RUSS462 Masterworks of Russian Visual Art
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite: RUSS361 or similar proficiency

TR 9- 10:30am 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.

What does an educated Russian know about the Russian visual art? Which works constitute a national canon? What was the role of these works in the Russian history and society? The goal of the course is to familiarize the Russian heritage students with the most prominent works of Russian visual art which represent various periods of Russian culture; to examine the artistic features of these works, and to explore their ideological implications. Each session of this course will be dedicated to a discussion of a single masterpiece of the Russian visual art considered within its historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts. The discussion will include, among other works, masterpieces by Andrey Rublev, Dmitry Levitsky, Karl Briullov, Ilya Repin, Vasily Vereshchagin, Mikhail Vrubel, and Kazimir Malevich.

Return to top

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

Return to top

Czech Language

SLAV530 Elementary Czech I
Offered through Penn Language Center

MW 6 - 8pm Stejskal J

Return to top

Polish Language

SLAV503 Intermediate Polish I
Offered through Penn Language Center

MW 6 - 8pm Wolski-Moskoff

This is a first-semester intermediate -level language course that emphasizes the development of the four basic skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) within a culturally based context. Class time will focus on communicative activities that combine grammatical concepts, relevant vocabulary, and cultural themes. Students will learn through classroom exercises based on a modern textbook: Hurra Po Polsku 2, completion of individual and group assignments and work with various audio and video materials. Major course goals include: the acquisition of intermediate-level vocabulary, the controlled use of the Polish cases; the aspect of the verbs, the development of writing skills.

SLAV505 Polish for Heritage Speakers I
Offered through Penn Language Center

MW 4- 6pm Wolski-Moskoff

The course is addressed to students who have spoken Polish at home and seek to achieve proficiency in the language. The main goal of this course is to provide instruction directed at students continued development of existing competencies in the Polish language. Students will acquire skills that range from learning grammar and spelling, and developing vocabulary, to interpretation and analysis of different literary genres. Students will explore a broad variety of cultural themes. Topics will include: Polish literature - classic and modern, social life, contemporary affairs and films.

STUDENTS WHO COMPLETE TWO SEMESTERS OF THIS COURSE SATISFY THE PENN LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT.

Polish is used exclusively in the classroom.

Upon completion of the Polish for Heritage Speakers course, students are expected to confidently understand, read, write and speak Polish with an increased vocabulary and a better command of Polish grammar. They will increase their reading skills through interpretation and analysis of different Polish literary genres. Students will be able to organize their thoughts and write in a coherent manner. They will increase their writing skills by writing personal essays, compositions and others. Students will further their knowledge of the Polish language and will engage in class discussion on various topics. Students will gain a better understanding of the Polish culture.

Return to top

Serbo-Croatian Language

SLAV390.680 Serbo-Croatian I
Offered through Penn Language Center

TR 4:30- 6:30pm Scepanovic-Uliano

The course level is basic, starting with the alphabet (both versions of it, the Latin and the Cyrillic), moving on to the grammar basics, then some communication and other forms of interaction.

Return to top

 

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.

Return to top

Introductory and Survey Courses, Conducted in English

RUSS048 Rise and Fall of Russian Empire
All readings and lectures in English
History & Tradition Sector (All Classes)
Cross-listing: HIST048
Nathans/Holquist

MW 10 - 11 am Holquist P

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.

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.

RUSS136 Portraits of Russian Society: Art, Fiction, Drama
All readings and lectures in English
Humanities and Social Sciences Sector (New Curriculum Only)
Cross-listing: HIST047

TR 4:30 - 6pm Bourlatskaya M

This course covers 19C Russian cultural and social history. Each week-long unit is organized around a single medium-length text (novella, play, memoir) which opens up a single “scene” of social history—birth, death, duel, courtship, tsar, and so on. Each of these main texts is accompanied by a set of supplementary materials—paintings, historical readings, cultural-analytical readings, excerpts from other literary works, etc. The object of the course is to understand the social codes and rituals that informed nineteenth-century Russian life, and to apply this knowledge in interpreting literary texts, other cultural objects, and even historical and social documents (letters, memoranda, etc.). We will attempt to understand social history and literary interpretation as separate disciplines—yet also as disciplines that can inform one another. In short: we will read the social history through the text, and read the text against the social history.

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 Staff

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

RUSS164 Russian and East European Film from the October Revolution to World War II
All readings and lectures in English
Cross-listing: CINE164

MW 2 - 3:30pm Todorov V

This course presents the Russian contribution to world cinema before WWII - nationalization of the film industry in post revolutionary Russia, the creation of institutions of higher education in filmmaking, film theory, experimentation with the cinematic language, and the social and political reflex of cinema. Major themes and issues involve: the invention of montage, Kuleshov effect, the means of visual propaganda and the cinematic component to the communist cultural revolutions, party ideology and practices of social-engineering, cinematic response to the emergence of the totalitarian state. Great filmmaker and theorist in discussion include Vertov, Kuleshov, Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Medvedkin and others.

RUSS196 Russian Short Story
All readings and lectures in English
Offered through CLPS

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.

Return to top

Intermediate and Advanced Seminars, Conducted in English

RUSS201 Dostoevsky
All readings and lectures in English

TR 12 - 1:30 pm Staff

This course explores the ways Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) portrays the "inner world(s)" of his characters. Dostoevsky's psychological method will be considered against the historical, ideological, and literary contexts of middle to late nineteenth-century Russia. The course consists of three parts — External World (the contexts of Dostoevsky), "Inside" Dostoevsky's World (the author's technique and ideas) and The World of Text (close reading of “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov”). Students will write three essays on various aspects of Dostoevsky's "spiritual realism."

RUSS202 Tolstoy
All readings and lectures in English
Benjamin Franklin Seminar

TR 1:30 - 3 pm 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.

RUSS213 Saints and Devils in Russian Literature and Tradition
All readings and lectures in English
Arts and Letters Sector (All Classes)
Cross-listing: COML213; RELS 218

MW 4:30 - 6 pm Verkholantsev J

This course is about Russian literature, which is populated with saints and devils, believers and religious rebels, holy men and sinners. In Russia, where people’s frame of mind had been formed by a mix of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and earlier folk beliefs, the quest for faith, spirituality and the meaning of life has invariably been connected with religious matters. How can one find the right path in life? Is humility the way to salvation? Should one live for God or for the people? Does God even exist?

In “Saints and Devils,” we will examine Russian literature concerning the holy and the demonic as representations of good and evil, and we will learn about the historic trends that have filled Russia’s national character with religious and supernatural spirit. In the course of this semester we will talk about ancient cultural traditions, remarkable works of art and the great artists who created them. All readings and films are in English. Our primary focus will be on works by Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Bulgakov.

SLAV290 Cinema of the Balkans
All readings and lectures in English
Cross-listing: CINE290, COML 287, ENGL 295
Offered through CLPS

TR 3 - 4:30 pm Mazaj M

This course will be a study of Balkan cinema, with a focus on a wide range of films that were made in response to the 1990s crisis in the Balkans. While the Balkans may be familiar as one of Hollywood's favorite fantasy nightmares – the bloodthirsty Transylvanian count and vampire, Vlad Tepes-Dracula, or Cat People's horrific historical Serbs who morphed into ferocious black panthers now living in the heart of Manhattan-Balkan cinema is an often overlooked but one of the richest and most significant cinemas of Europe today. While tracing the history of Balkan cinema, the main focus of the course will be on films made during and after the Balkan war in the 1990s, by filmmakers such as Milcho Manchevski, Emir Kusturica, Srdjan Dragojevic, Goran Peskaljevic, and Danis Tanovic. These directors achieved great success in their native countries as well as abroad, and started appearing regularly at all major international film festivals. As such they not only mark a significant moment in thinking about the nation, but also show how a nation has come to depend on the persuasive power of cinema to articulate itself. As we recognize the difficulties in asserting Balkan culture as a unified one, the aim of the course will be to explore an astonishing thematic and stylistic consistency in the cinematic output of the Balkan region. Looking at these shared issues-the turbulent history and volatile politics, a semi- Orientalist positioning sometimes seen as marginality and sometimes as a bridge between East and West, encounters between Christianity and Islam, a legacy of patriarchy and economic dependency--we will examine how cinema of the Balkans testifies to a specific artistic sensibility that comes from a shared socio-cultural space.

RUSS426 Chekhov on Stage and Screen
All readings and lectures in English
Cross-listing: CINE365
Offered through CLPS

T 5:30 - 8:30pm Zubarev V

Forms a part of the CLPS 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.

Return to top

Intermediate and Advanced Seminars, Conducted in Russian

RUSS410 Russian Folk and Literary Tale
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite(s): RUSS 312 or placement exam

MW 2:00 - 3:30pm Verkholantsev J

This course continues developing students’ advanced skills in Russian. It focuses on the language, style, and narrative techniques of Russian tales. Course materials include written, animated, and cinematic versions of folk fairy tales, epic songs, and literary tales by major Russian authors, such as Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, and Leo Tolstoy. The course aims to improve students’ knowledge of idiomatic language and to expand their knowledge of Russian popular culture.

RUSS462 Masterworks of Russian Visual Art
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite: RUSS361 or similar proficiency

TR 9- 10:30am 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.

What does an educated Russian know about the Russian visual art? Which works constitute a national canon? What was the role of these works in the Russian history and society? The goal of the course is to familiarize the Russian heritage students with the most prominent works of Russian visual art which represent various periods of Russian culture; to examine the artistic features of these works, and to explore their ideological implications. Each session of this course will be dedicated to a discussion of a single masterpiece of the Russian visual art considered within its historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts. The discussion will include, among other works, masterpieces by Andrey Rublev, Dmitry Levitsky, Karl Briullov, Ilya Repin, Vasily Vereshchagin, Mikhail Vrubel, and Kazimir Malevich.

Return to top

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.

RUSS462 Masterworks of Russian Visual Art
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite: RUSS361 or similar proficiency

TR 9- 10:30am 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.

What does an educated Russian know about the Russian visual art? Which works constitute a national canon? What was the role of these works in the Russian history and society? The goal of the course is to familiarize the Russian heritage students with the most prominent works of Russian visual art which represent various periods of Russian culture; to examine the artistic features of these works, and to explore their ideological implications. Each session of this course will be dedicated to a discussion of a single masterpiece of the Russian visual art considered within its historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts. The discussion will include, among other works, masterpieces by Andrey Rublev, Dmitry Levitsky, Karl Briullov, Ilya Repin, Vasily Vereshchagin, Mikhail Vrubel, and Kazimir Malevich.

Return to top

Graduate Level Courses

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

Cross-listing: CLST511, COML501, ENGL571,GRMN534, ROML512

T 10:30 am- 1:30 pm Jarosinski E

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).

Return to top

Courses Offered Through CLPS

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

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-CLPS Students need permission from CLPS

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
Offered through CLPS

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
Cross-listing: CINE365
Offered through CLPS

T 5:30 - 8:30pm Zubarev V

Forms a part of the CLPS 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.

Return to top