Search Slavic Website:

Spring 2009

Russian Language

Ukrainian Language

Serbo-Croatian Language

Polish Language

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

RUSS002 Elementary Russian II
Prerequisite: RUSS 001 or placement exam

001 MTWRF 11am - 12pm Korshunova
002 MTWRF 3 - 4pm Oleinichenko L
See "Courses Offered Through CLPS" below for additional times.

Continuation of RUSS001. 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.

RUSS004 Intermediate Russian II
Prior language study required
Prerequisite: RUSS 003 or placement exam

001 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.

A continuation of RUSS003. This course will further develop your ability to use the Russian language in the context of everyday situations (including relationships, travel and geography, leisure activities) and also through reading and discussion of elementary facts about Russian history, excerpts from classic literature and the contemporary press and film excerpts. At the end of the course you will be able to negotiate most daily situations, to comprehend most spoken and written Russian, to state and defend your point of view. Successful completion of the course prepares students to satisfy the language competency requirement.

RUSS312 Advanced Conversation & Composition II
Prior language study required
Prerequisite: RUSS311 or placement exam

MWF 12 -1pm Staff

Primary emphasis on speaking, writing, and listening. Development of advanced conversational skills needed to carry a discussion or to deliver a complex narrative. This course will be based on a wide variety of topics from everyday life to the discussion of political and cultural events. Russian culture and history surveyed briefly. Materials include Russian TV broadcast, newspapers, Internet, selected short stories by contemporary Russian writers. Offered each spring.

RUSS361 Literacy in Russian II
Prior language experience required

MWF 10 -11am Korshunova S

This course is a continuation of RUSS360. In some cases, students who did not take RUSS360 but have basic reading and writing skills may be permitted to enroll with the instructor's permission. Students who complete RUSS361 with a passing grade will satisfy the Penn Language Requirement.

RUSS418 Russian Culture and Society Now
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite(s): RUSS 312 or placement exam

TR 12:00 - 1:30pm Shardakova M

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian, while surveying main social, political and cultural developments in Russia since 1991. In these two turbulent decades Russia has undergone colossal changes ranging from disintegration of the Soviet Empire to the rapid development of new gastronomical tastes and new trends in literature and culture. The course will explore diverse and often conflicting cultural sensibilities in contemporary Russian fiction, poetry, journalism, scholarly writing, performance art, as well as in pop-culture and film. Topics under consideration will include reassessing Russia's luminous cultural heritage as well as traumatic periods in Soviet history; search for identity and the recent drift towards neo-nationalism; gender issues and the contemporary focus on fatherlessness; changing attitudes towards former cultural taboos; dealing with Russia's current political and cultural dilemmas. The course also incorporates two advanced Russian colloquiums with guest appearances of Prof. Kevin Platt and Ilya Vinitsky.

RUSS460 Post-Soviet Russia in Film
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 Bourlatskaya

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. Film is arguably the most powerful medium for reflecting changes in modern society. This course will examine Russia'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.

Return to top

Ukrainian Language

SLAV591 Elementary Ukrainian II
Offered through Penn Language Center

MW 5 - 7pm Rudnytzky L

SLAV595 Advanced Ukrainian II
Offered through Penn Language Center
Prior Language Experience Required

MW 7 - 8:30pm Rudnytzky L

Return to top

Serbo-Croatian Language

SLAV390 Serbo-Croatian I
Offered through Penn Language Center

TBA Saff

Return to top

Polish Language

SLAV502 Elementary Polish II
Offered through Penn Language Center

MW 6 - 8pm Wolski-Moskoff

Return to top

 

Introductory and Survey Courses, Conducted in English

RUSS100 Once Upon a Fairytale: Introduction to Russian Culture
All readings and lectures in English
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Cross-listing: FOLK107

TR 1:30 - 3pm Verkholantsev J

The course provides an introduction to Russian culture and society through the prism of fairy tale narratives. We will approach Russian culture by studying how classic tales have been retold in a variety of contexts: folklore, literature, art, music, opera, ballet, film, political propaganda, etc. The appeal of fairy tales is universal. Do they seduce our imagination through magic and the pleasure of escapism, or do they fulfill some important social function, reflecting the national psyche and giving it shape? Are they an escape from reality or a fundamental part of it? The course also provides a general introduction to the study of folklore, fairy tales and mythology from a variety of theoretical and comparative perspectives. We will begin with the study of the classic Russian fairy tales and the examination of the religious background of Russian culture. We will then study how the Russian classic authors in the nineteenth century incorporated and enriched these tales and legends. Finally, we will learn how the genre of fairy tale was used in the twentieth century, both by the Soviet authorities in their efforts to educate the masses, and by critical and dissident voices who turned these "innocent" stories into tools for disguised criticism and satire. Like Russians, we will "read between the lines" of a thought-provoking history of fairy tales, fantastic stories, legends and myths as we will learn about cultural and social
values of the society that created them.

RUSS136 Portraits of Russian Society: Art, Fiction, Drama
All readings and lectures in English
Humanities and Social Sciences Sector (New Curriculum Only)
Cross-listing: HIST 047

TR 10:30 - 12pm Platt K

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.

RUSS155 Russian Literature after 1870
All readings and lectures in English
Arts and Letters Sector (All Classes)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)

TR 10:30 - 12pm Steiner P

Major Russian writers in English translation: Tolstoy, Chekhov, Pasternak, Babel, Solzhenitsyn, and others.                 Syllabus

RUSS165 Russian and Eastern European Film II
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-listing: CINE265; SLAV165

MW 2 - 3:30pm Todorov V

The purpose of this course is to present the Russian and East European contribution to world cinema in terms of film theory, experimentation with the cinematic language, and social and political reflex. We discuss major themes and issues such as: the invention of montage, 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 in Russia and its subsequent installation in Eastern Europe after World War II; repression, resistance and conformity under such a system; legal and illegal desires; the nature of the authoritarian personality, the mind and the body of homo sovieticus; sexual and political transgression; treason and disgrace; public degradation and individual redemption; the profane and the sublime ends of human suffering and humiliation; the unmasking of the official "truth" as a general lie.

RUSS194 Russian Music: Concert Hall to Dance Club
All readings and lectures in English
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Cross-listing: MUSC194

TR 3 - 4:30pm Amico S

Russia’s history has been one not only of violent wars and turbulent revolutions, but also one of a vibrant cultural creation. In this course we will examine Russian music from an ethnomusicological perspective, in relation to these historical, social and cultural contexts. Our studies will take us from the nineteenth century to the present, and from the elite music of the concert hall, to the various rural sites of music making, up to the contemporary urban dance club. Among the topics to be considered: the relationships between art music and movements in both literature and the visual arts; how music supports, subverts or simply "avoids" contributing to political life; how gender is performed in music; and how globalization, technological advances, and piracy change the ways music is created and used.

RUSS197 Madness and Madmen in Russian Culture
All readings and lectures in English
Humanities and Social Sciences Sector (New Curriculum Only)
Cross-listing: COML197

MW 2 - 3:30pm Vinitsky I

This course will explore the theme of madness in Russian literature and arts from the medieval period through the October Revolution of 1917. The discussion will include formative masterpieces by Russian writers (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Bulgakov), painters (Repin, Vrubel, Filonov), composers (Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky), and film-directors (Protazanov, Eisenstein), as well as non-fictional documents such as Russian medical, judicial, political, and philosophical treatises and essays on madness.

Return to top

 

Intermediate and Advanced Seminars, Conducted in English

RUSS203 Legal Imagination: Criminals and Justice Across Literature
All readings and lectures in English
Benjamin Franklin Seminar (12 people only)
Cross-listing: LAW-967

R 1:30 - 4:30pm Vinitsky I/Bibas K

This seminar will focus on the legal, moral, religious, social, psychological, and political dimensions of crime, blame, shame, and punishment as discussed in great works of literature. The first part of the course will compare and contrast visions of justice in Eastern and Western Europe and emphases on divine versus human justice. The second part will move to the psychology of the individual person, the criminal. Part three of the course will focus on the state institutions of criminal justice. Readings include Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, Dickens' Oliver Twist, Tolstoy's Resurrection, Kafka's The Trial, and especially Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and selection from The Brothers Karamazov.

RUSS212 Topics in Russian History: Soviet Jewry, 1917 - 1991
All readings and lectures in English
Cross-listing: HIST202

T 1:30 - 4:30pm Dekel-Chen

This seminar explores Jewish life in the Soviet Union , from its creation in 1917 until its dissolution in 1991. We will place the Jews within the framework of the complex multi-ethnic empire that was the Soviet Union . We begin in the volatile years that followed the Russian Revolution, as Soviet Jewry dealt with tumultuous change in daily life and policies under Bolshevik rule. The second part of the seminar deals with the experience of the Second World War and its impact on Jewish life in the immediate post-war years. The concluding sessions explore the intricacies of life for Soviet Jews within the shifting political currents in the USSR as it moved from greatness toward disintegration. Throughout the course we will challenge the conventional wisdom of “doom and gloom” regarding Soviet Jewry; could Jews in the USSR , in fact, improve their lives despite the Soviet dictatorship and the numerous tragedies of these times?

RUSS234 Medieval Russia: Origins of Russian Cultural Identity
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution II, History & Tradition (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Cross-listing: HIST 219; COML235; SLAV517

TR 4:30 - 6pm Verkholantsev J

This course offers an overview of the cultural history of Rus’ from its origins to the eighteenth century, a period which laid the foundation for the Russian Empire. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the evolution of the main cultural paradigms of Russian Orthodoxy viewed in a broader European context. Although this course is historical in content, it is also about modern Russia. The legacy of Medieval Rus’ is still referenced, often allegorically, in contemporary social and cultural discourse as the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian societies attempt to reconstruct and reinterpret their histories. In this course, students learn that the study of the medieval cultural and political history explains many aspects of modern Russian society, its culture and mentality.

RUSS260 USSR after Stalin
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution II, History and Tradition (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Cross-listing: HIST413

T 1:30 - 4:30pm Platt K/Nathans B

How are human behaviors and attitudes shaped in a socialist society? What forms do conformity and dissent take under a revolutionary regime? This course will explore the cultural history of the Soviet Union from the end of the Second World War to the collapse of communism in 1991. We will investigate a variety of strategies of resistance to state power as well as the sources of communism’s enduring legitimacy for millions of Soviet citizens. Above all, we will be concerned with the power of the word and image in Soviet public and private life. Assigned texts will include memoirs, manifestos, underground and officially approved fiction & poetry, films, works of art, and secondary literature.

RUSS273 Development, Democracy, and Postsocialism: Processes and Outcomes of Decentralization Reforms
All readings and lectures in English
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Cross-listing: PSCI315

R 4:30 - 7:30pm Amelina M

Fiscal, administrative, and political decentralization have become the centerpiece of governance reforms throughout both the developed and developing worlds. The main arguments for adoption of these governance practices include the demand driven nature, greater openness and economic effectiveness of local administrations. Are these expectations getting empirical confirmations? The course will examine the pros and cons of the increasing power of the local against the existing evidence of actual decentralization reforms, putting both theory and practice into specific political, historical, and economic contexts. National case studies of successes and failures of the main recent decentralization reforms and arrangements will be presented; special attention will be paid to the role of international agencies in rendering decentralization more or less effective and sustainable. Case studies will be drawn primarily from Russia and Eastern Europe; the main other recent cases of dramatic decentralization (e.g. India, Indonesia) will be examined as well.

RUSS275 Russian History in Film
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Cross-listing: CINE 265

MW 3:30 - 5pm Todorov V

This course draws on fictional, dramatic and cinematic representations of Russian history based on Russian as well as non-Russian sources and interpretations. The analysis targets major modes of imagining, such as narrating, showing and reenacting historical events, personae and epochs justified by different, historically mutating ideological postulates and forms of national self-consciousness. Common stereotypes of picturing Russia from "foreign" perspectives draw special attention. The discussion involves the following themes and outstanding figures: the mighty autocrats Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great; the tragic ruler Boris Godunov; the brazen rebel and royal impostor Pugachev; the notorious Rasputin, his uncanny powers, sex-appeal, and court machinations; Lenin and the October Revolution; images of war; times of construction and times of collapse of the Soviet Colossus.

RUSS430 Ethnic Conflict in Film
All readings and lectures in English
Distribution II, History & Tradition (Class of '09 and Prior)
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Cross-listing: CINE365
Offered through CLpS

M 5:30 - 8:30pm Todorov V

Forms a part of the CLPS Masters in Liberal Arts Program. This course studies the cinematic representation of civil wars, ethnic conflicts, nationalistic doctrines, and genocidal policies. The focus is on the violent developments that took place in Russia and on the Balkans after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and were conditioned by the new geopolitical dynamics that the fall of communism had already created. We study media broadcasts, documentaries, feature films representing the Eastern, as well as the Western perspective. The films include masterpieces such as "Time of the Gypsies", "Underground", "Prisoner of the Mountains", "Before the Rain", "Behind Enemy Lines", and others.

Return to top

 

Intermediate and Advanced Seminars, Conducted in Russian

RUSS402 Pushkin
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior).
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Prerequisite: RUSS 312 or placement exam.
Literatures of the World Sector
Cross-listing: COLL220; COML402, RUSS602

TR 12 - 1:30pm Steiner P

The writer's lyrics, narrative poems, and drama.            Syllabus

RUSS418 Russian Culture and Society Now
Conducted in Russian
Prerequisite(s): RUSS 312 or placement exam

TR 12:00 - 1:30pm Shardakova M

This course continues developing students' advanced skills in Russian, while surveying main social, political and cultural developments in Russia since 1991. In these two turbulent decades Russia has undergone colossal changes ranging from disintegration of the Soviet Empire to the rapid development of new gastronomical tastes and new trends in literature and culture. The course will explore diverse and often conflicting cultural sensibilities in contemporary Russian fiction, poetry, journalism, scholarly writing, performance art, as well as in pop-culture and film. Topics under consideration will include reassessing Russia's luminous cultural heritage as well as traumatic periods in Soviet history; search for identity and the recent drift towards neo-nationalism; gender issues and the contemporary focus on fatherlessness; changing attitudes towards former cultural taboos; dealing with Russia's current political and cultural dilemmas. The course also incorporates two advanced Russian colloquiums with guest appearances of Prof. Kevin Platt and Ilya Vinitsky.

RUSS460 Post-Soviet Russia in Film
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 Bourlatskaya

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. Film is arguably the most powerful medium for reflecting changes in modern society. This course will examine Russia'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.

Return to top

 

Courses for Students Who Speak Russian at Home

RUSS361 Literacy in Russian II
Prior language experience required

MWF 10 -11am Korshunova S

This course is a continuation of RUSS360. In some cases, students who did not take RUSS360 but have basic reading and writing skills may be permitted to enroll with the instructor's permission. Students who complete RUSS361 with a passing grade will satisfy the Penn Language Requirement.

RUSS402 Pushkin
Distribution III, Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior).
Cross-Cultural Analysis (Class of '10 and after)
Prerequisite: RUSS 312 or placement exam.
Literatures of the World Sector
Cross-listing: COLL220; COML402, RUSS602

TR 12 - 1:30pm Steiner P

The writer's lyrics, narrative poems, and drama.             Syllabus

RUSS460 Post-Soviet Russia in Film
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 Bourlatskaya

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. Film is arguably the most powerful medium for reflecting changes in modern society. This course will examine Russia'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.

Return to top

 

Graduate Level Courses

SLAV517 Medieval Russia: Origins of Russian Cultural Identity
All readings and lectures in English
Cross-listing: RUSS234; HIST 219; COML235

TR 4:30 - 6pm Verkholantsev J

This course offers an overview of the cultural history of Rus’ from its origins to the eighteenth century, a period which laid the foundation for the Russian Empire. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the evolution of the main cultural paradigms of Russian Orthodoxy viewed in a broader European context. Although this course is historical in content, it is also about modern Russia. The legacy of Medieval Rus’ is still referenced, often allegorically, in contemporary social and cultural discourse as the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian societies attempt to reconstruct and reinterpret their histories. In this course, students learn that the study of the medieval cultural and political history explains many aspects of modern Russian society, its culture and mentality.

Return to top

Courses Offered Through CLPS

RUSS002 Elementary Russian II
Non-CLPS Students need permission from CLPS. Prerequisite: RUSS 001 or placement exam.

MW 6:30 - 9pm Oleinichenko L

Continuation of RUSS001. 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.

Return to top