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Summer 2007

RUSS 125 The Adultery Novel and Film Adaptation
Cross-list: COML127; GSOC125; CINE125.
Arts and Letters Sector (All Classes).

910 LEC MTWR 1-2:35PM. Platt.

The object of the course is to analyze a series of novels (and a few short stories) about adultery from the late eighteenth through the late nineteenth centuries. At the same time, we will be examining a series of films concerning the same subject matter—half of them adaptations of the works that we will read and half original treatments of infidelity. Our reading will teach us about novelistic traditions of the periods in question and about the relationship of Russian literature to the European models to which it responded. Our film viewings will allow us to consider the meaning of adultery today through a different medium of communication, as well as problems of literary adaptation and the status of classic literature in contemporary society. In our coursework we will apply various critical approaches in order to place adultery into its social and cultural context, including: socio­logical descriptions of modernity, Marxist examinations of family as a social and economic institution, Freudian/ Psychoanalytic interpretations of family life and transgress­sive sexuality, Feminist work on the construction of gender. In general, we will see the ways in which human identity is tied to gender roles, and the complex relationship tying these matters of the libido and the family to larger issues of social organization.

RUSS130 Russian Ghost Stories
Distribution Req III: May be counted towards the Distribution Requirement in Arts & Letters (Class of '09 and prior).

910 SEM TR 5-8:10PM. Vinitsky.

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.

RUSS434 Media and Terrorism
Distribution II: History and Tradition
920 MW 4:30 p.m. - 7:40 p.m. Todorov

This course draws on fictional, cinematic and mass-media representation of terrorism based on Russian as well as Western examples. We study how the magnitude of the political impact of terrorism relates to the historically changing means of production of its striking iconology. The course exposes students to major modes of imagining, narrating, showing, reenacting terrorism and forging its mystique. We examine the emergence of organized terrorism in the 19th century Russia as an original political-cultural phenomenon. We trace its rapid expansion and influence on the public life in the West, and on the Balkans. Historical, political, and aesthetic approaches converge in a discussion of several case studies related to intellectual and spiritual movements such as nihilism, anarchism, populism, religious fundamentalism, and others. The public appearance of the terrorist activism and its major attributes are viewed as powerful intensifiers of its political effect: self-denial, ascetic aura, and stratagem of mystification, underground mentality, and martyrdom.

The pedagogical goal of this course is to promote and cultivate critical view and analytical skills that will enable students to deal with different historical as well as cultural modes of (self)representation of terrorism. Students are expected to learn and be able to deal with a large body of historical-factual and creative-interpreted information.


Offered through Penn Language Center (06/26/06 - 08/04/06)

SLAV109 Central Europe: Culture and Civilization (Penn-in-Prague)
950 Steiner
Distribution II: History and Tradition (Class of '09 and prior)
Permission needed from CGS Office

SLAV530 Elementary Czech I
950 Staff
Permission needed from CGS Office

SLAV532 Intermediate Czech I
950 TBA
Permission needed from CGS Office