Major

(11 courses)

Core Curriculum Courses:
100, Russia and the West
Four courses in the Russian language (above 116), including at least one 300-level course;
Any two Russian literature or culture courses taught in English and covering, when combined, both nineteenth and twentieth century Russian literature and/or culture.

At least 4 elective courses will be chosen from the following list:
Up to two additional upper level Russian language courses;
One additional literature or culture course taught in English;
Up to two Russian or East European History courses,
One Political Science course with Russian content;
One Religion or Philosophy course with Russian content.

Minor

Five courses total, including RUSS 100, "Russia and the West" and three courses in the Russian language numbered 200 and above.

NOTE: Russian heritage speakers and students who begin the study of Russian language after the third semester may be eligible to substitute courses for the language courses above the 200-level. They may do so by making a formal request to the department which includes a rationale for the proposed substitution.

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The Russian major was designed with the hope and expectation that all of our students would spend a year abroad. As a result, we developed the curriculum so that a student who did spend a year abroad could complete all the requirements for the major, as long as she or he followed a few guidelines.

The guidelines are written for the entering student who knows he or she wants to major in Russian. Rather than specify the courses that you “must” have in a given semester, the following are general guidelines regarding courses that we suggest you take during each year. You should think of these guidelines as giving you a fast track into the major – this provides maximum flexibility in your junior and senior year.

First Year
RUSS 101 (fall semester) RUSS 104 (spring semester)
RUSS 100, Russia and the Western (spring semester)

Sophomore Year
RUSS 116 (fall semester)
RUSS 200 (spring semester)
Russian literature or culture course in English (200-level course)
RUSS electives, for example, a Russian history course

Junior Year
The majority of Russian majors study in Moscow during their Junior Year; In  Moscow you will take 4-9 courses (refer to the Courses section in the Academic Bulletin: Russian)

If you do not go abroad, take:
RUSS 231 (fall semester)
RUSS 232 (spring semester)
Russian literature or culture course in English (200-level course)
Russian elective, for example, a Russian history course

Senior Year
300-level RUSS course (fall semester)
300-level RUSS course (spring semester)
Finish your requirements for Russian literature/culture and your electives

For information regarding the suggested guidelines, please feel free to contact a Russian faculty member. Consult your advisor regarding writing an honors thesis in Russian.

Independent study and independent research

Independent study projects are an option open to motivated students who wish to pursue a topic in Russian or Slavic literatures and cultures not offered as part of the regular curriculum. Interested students must be willing to initiate their own study project and meet with their director on a weekly basis. All faculty members are willing to assist. Most projects are taken for half or full course credit. Qualified seniors may wish to write an Honors Thesis.

Honors

A student who wishes to be considered for honors in the major must have an overall grade point average of 3.33 or higher. Each candidate for honors must write a thesis of exceptional merit; the thesis should be in Russian and approximately 25 pages in length. The Honors Thesis will usually be developed from work written during the senior year in a course numbered 300 or above, and it should be supervised by a member of the faculty. An oral examination will be conducted by members of the Russian department on those papers judged to be of honors quality.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Junior Year All students majoring or minoring in Russian are encouraged to spend one or two semesters in Russia during the junior year. The Dickinson program in Moscow is based at Language Link and is affiliated with the Russian State University for the Humanities. The program offers a wide range of courses in Russian language and culture.

Summer Immersion Program The Russian Department offers a five-week student immersion program in Moscow or Moscow/St. Petersburg. See the course description for RUSS 215, Moscow Summer Immersion Program.

Co-curricular activities/programs

The college has an active Russian Club and a special Russian Meal Table, held weekly for students who want to speak or listen to Russian in an informal setting. Russian films and cultural events are featured regularly. The Russian Department is a member of Dobro Slovo, the National Slavic Honor Society. Students are nominated for membership on the basis of their academic standing.

Courses

The following courses are offered in Moscow:

215 Moscow Summer Immersion Program
A four-week course in contemporary Russian language and culture offered at the Mendeleev University in Moscow. Students will speak only Russian during this four-week period, and participate in intensive language classes, special lectures and field trips arranged with Russian university instructors.
Prerequisite: 116 or equivalent and permission of the department.

 

250 Russian Language in Context
This is an intensive language laboratory on location in Moscow. Designed to improve students' comprehension and command of spoken Russian, this course initiates the students in everyday verbal and cultural communication prevalent in Russia. A variety of topics, including students' first-hand experience with contemporary Russian culture, will be used to improve comprehension oral skills. A workshop on phonetics is an important component of this course.
Prerequisite: 200.

 

251 Russian Language in Context
This is an intensive language laboratory on location in Moscow. Designed to improve students' comprehension and command of spoken Russian, this course initiates the students in everyday verbal and cultural communication prevalent in Russia. A variety of topics, including students' first-hand experience with contemporary Russian culture, will be used to improve comprehension oral skills. A workshop on phonetics is an important component of this course.
Prerequisite: 200.

 

255 Writing Workshop
These courses are designed to further develop the students' written skills through practice in lexical expansion, idiomatic expression and syntactical patterns. Grammar review is a significant component of these courses. Topics will consist of a variety of cultural themes chosen by a professor.
Prerequisite: 200.


256 Writing Workshop
These courses are designed to further develop the students' written skills through practice in lexical expansion, idiomatic expression and syntactical patterns. Grammar review is a significant component of these courses. Topics will consist of a variety of cultural themes chosen by a professor.
Prerequisite: 200.

 

265 Topics in Russian Studies
This is an advanced language course which will help students develop linguistic tools necessary for critical analysis in a particular area of Russian Studies: history, politics, literature or film. Based on their academic focus, students will choose a topic from a list of offerings. "Readings in Russian History" will teach students how to read and analyze scholarly texts on Russian history; "Understanding Contemporary Russian Politics" will focus on the language of Russian mass media; "Russian Short Story" will give students linguistic and critical skills necessary for analyzing literature and "Russian Through Film" will introduce students to the main controversies of contemporary Russian society as they are portrayed in post-Soviet films. Oral and written presentations are important components of this course.
This course carries 0.5 or 1.0 credit dependent upon topic. Prerequisite: 200.

 

271 Visual and Performing Arts in Russia
This multi-media survey course introduces students to masterpieces of Russian architecture, painting, theater, and cinematography. It is designed to enhance students' knowledge of the artistic and spiritual aspects of Russian culture, as well as to provide insights to traditions, lifestyle, and the psychology of Russian people. Visits to art museums and theater performances are required.
Taught in English. Offered every two years.

 

273 Russia Today
The course first presents an overview of major social, political, and economic developments in Russia in the second half of the twentieth century. Then the attention turns to Russia's transition from Soviet totalitarianism to post-Soviet democracy and from the Soviet planned economy to the post-Soviet free market. Finally, the presentation focuses on the challenges which the Russian state faces in the twenty-first century.
Taught in English. Offered every two years.


280 Research Project in Russian History or Politics
The independent research project is carried out in conjunction with a course on Russian history or politics taught at RUSH in Russian, for Russian students. Dickinson-in-Moscow participants will audit one such course during their second semester in Moscow. Students will choose a topic for their research, appropriate to the focus of the course and have it approved by the professor who teaches the course. Students will regularly meet with the professor who will serve as the project's advisor. The project will be overseen by the Resident Director of the Dickinson-in-Moscow.

Russian Courses

100 Russia and the West
An introductory and multi-disciplinary survey intended to explore the relationship between Russian culture and Western civilization. In the process, students will be exposed to aspects of Russia's history, literature, religion, philosophical traditions, music and art, politics, and economics. Suitable for those interested in a one semester introduction to Russia, and required for those who choose a major or minor in Russian.
This course fulfills the Comparative Civilizations graduation requirement.

101 Elementary Russian
An intensive study of the fundamentals of Russian grammar, with an emphasis on the development of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding skills. Short stories and songs will supplement the text.

104 Elementary Russian
An intensive study of the fundamentals of Russian grammar, with an emphasis on the development of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding skills. Short stories and songs will supplement the text.
Prerequisite: 101 or the equivalent

116 Intermediate Russian
Advanced grammar review incorporating controlled reading and composition. Emphasis on speaking competence continued through oral reports and conversational topics.
Prerequisite: 104 or the equivalent.

200 Advanced Training in the Russian Language
Emphasis on the development of reading, speaking, and writing skills. Reading of simple texts to acquaint the student with a variety of styles of the Russian language, concentration on some of the more difficult problems in the Russian grammar, translation, written composition, vocabulary building, and intonation.
Prerequisite: 116 or equivalent, with a grade of at least C.

223 Life's Cursed Questions: Russian Literature through the Nineteenth Century
An introduction to Russian literature, presenting its development and the major literary movements from the earliest period to the middle of the 19th century. Readings will include works by Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Goncharov, Turgenev, and Tolstoy. No knowledge of Russian necessary.
Conducted in English. This course fulfills the DIV I.b. distribution requirement. Offered every other year.

224 Revolution and Dissidence: Twentieth-Century Russian Literature
An introduction to Russian literature, presenting its development and the major literary movements from the middle of the 19th century to the present. Readings will include works by Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gorky, Blok, Mayakovsky, Babel, Zamiatin, Gladkov, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Voinovich, Trifonov, Shukshin, and Aitmatov. No knowledge of Russian necessary.
Conducted in English. This course fulfills the DIV I.b. distribution requirement. Offered every other year.

230 Advanced Russian for Heritage Speakers
The course is designed for heritage learners who have had little or no formal training in their native language and who desire to improve their reading, writing, and formal communicative skills. Basic rules of orthography and advanced grammar will be reviewed. Texts will be drawn from contemporary Russian press, movie scripts, and fiction.
Prerequisite: placement by department. Offered every two years.

231 Russian Conversation and Composition
Practice in the techniques and patterns of everyday conversation, especially as these reflect different cultural orientation. Reading and discussion of short works by well-known Russian authors.
Prerequisite: 200 or the equivalent, with a grade of at least C.

232 Masterpieces of Russian Literature
Reading and discussion of literary works by representative authors from the pre- and post-Revolutionary periods.
Prerequisite: 200 or the equivalent, with a grade of at least C.

243 Russian & East European Film
The course will examine a contribution by Russian and East European directors to the development of film as an art form. It will also investigate the role which those film have played in forming the cultural identity of various East European nations in recent times. Films by the following directors may be studied: Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Dovzhenko, Forman, Bacso, Tarkovskij, Mikhalkov, Wajda, Makavejev, Szabo and others.
Conducted in English. This course fulfills the DIV I.c. distribution requirement. Offered every other year.

245 Tolstoy in the 21st Century
This course investigates the numerous ways in which Tolstoy, one of the most influential Russian writers and thinkers, transcends his time and through his works speaks to our concerns today. What makes life meaningful? What kind of love lasts? Why do certain attempts to modernize society fail while others succeed? It is worth reconsidering Tolstoy's ideas on these and other issues because he teaches us to see the world more wisely. Students will read and discuss Tolstoy's fiction, includiing War and Peace and Anna Karenina, as well as his essays on religious, philosophical, social and artistic issues. Students are encouraged to have read War and Peace before the semester begins. Taught in English.
Taught in English. This course fulfills the DIV I.b. distribution requirement. Offered every two years.

248 Russia, the Environment and the Natural Sciences
Although the territory of the Russian Federation contains some of the world's largest supplies of natural resources (e.g. the most voluminous freshwater lake; the most square miles of forest), Russo-Soviet history also boasts a long list of environmental disasters and mismanagement, including widespread nuclear and chemical contamination, unsuccessful forced-labor canal projects, and attempts to reverse the flow of Russia's Northern rivers to the south. Yet, perhaps paradoxically, the environment and the natural sciences have played pivotal roles in the Russian cultural imagination of the past two centuries, with "the scientist" and "the naturalist" emerging as key figures in the history of literature, criticism, film, and underground culture. Furthermore, despite its problematic environmental record, Russian writers have long advocated a holistic, organic approach to life that is in many ways compatible with contemporary debates on sustainability and conservation. In particular, we will look at Leo Tolstoy's writings on minimal environmental impact, vegetarianism, independent farming, and pacifism (which would go on to influence Gandhi). Our analysis of these texts and ideas will be paired with trips to the Dickinson College farm, where we will put Tolstoy's approaches to the land--both on the pages of his novels and in his own life--into practice.
Taught in English. This course fulfills the DIV I.b. distribution requirement. Offered every two years

260 Topics in Russian Studies
In-depth analysis and discussion of selected areas and problems in Russian literature or culture. Recent topics have included: Russian Theatre and Drama, Nobel Laureates in Russian Literature, Russian Short Prose, Salvation Through Beauty: the World of Dostoevsky, Russian and Soviet Film, East European Literature, Modernism in Italy and Russia.
Conducted in English. Offered every other year.

270 Philosophy and Literature
Dostoevsky's characters lie, steal, scheme, and murder. What is it about Dostoevsky's depictions of their lying, cheating ways that makes his novels not just literary but philosophical? And what is it about philosophical works like Kierkegaard's and Nietzsche's that makes them literary? More generally, where do the overlapping realms of literature and philosophy begin and end? This course investigates the intersections of philosophy and literature across different schools of thought, paying special attention to the work of Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Plato, Tolstoy, Voltaire, and others. We will pair the treatment of philosophical issues in fiction with their treatment in more traditional philosophical genres, thereby raising and discussing the contentious question of whether philosophy can achieve things that literature cannot, and vice versa.
This course fulfills the DIV 1.a. or DIVI 1.b. distribution requirement. Offered every two years. This course is cross-listed as PHIL 270 and ENGL 329.

333 Aspects of Russian Society and Civilization
Scholarly and journalistic texts concerning the social sciences present a specific set of challenges, including a special vocabulary, methods of dealing with data, and idiosyncratic grammar. Discussing or writing about issues in the social sciences likewise requires the special ability to derive the basic import from texts and discuss it with the appropriate vocabulary and use of data. This course prepares students for further work in reading social-science texts in Russian and using the information effectively.
Prerequisite: 231, 232 or equivalent, with a grade of at least C.

334 Workshop in Translation
This course focuses on specific techniques for translating various kinds of texts (business, journalistic, scholarly, epistolary, and literary) from Russian into English, and from English into Russian. Concentrating on the practical matter of reading and writing, the course will also include special grammatical topics which present particular difficulties in translation, discussion of theories of translation, and introduction to technological tools of translation. The goal of the course is to further students language ability and provide them with useful linguistic skills.
Prerequisite: 231, 232 or equivalent. Offered every two years.

335 Popular Culture in Russia
This course will examine the evolution of Russian popular cultural tradition beginning with folk tales, epics, songs, proverbs and popular theater to representations of the "low" genres in contemporary Russian culture including detective novels, popular tv series, cartoons and anecdotes. Focusing on the interplay of the "high" and the "low" cultural traditions in Russia, students will develop methodology of cultural analysis.
Prerequisite: 231, 232 or equivalent.

360 Topics in Russian Language and Literature
A thorough investigation of a significant figure or major development in Russian literature, or an extensive examination of selected aspects of the Russian language, with emphasis on seminar reports and discussions. Conducted in Russian.
Prerequisite: Russian major or instructor's permission.