Courses

Trinity has six Russian and Eurasian specialists who teach courses in Russian and Eurasian human rights issues, film, theater, art, literature, politics, economics, mass media, sociology, Slavic linguistics, and history.

The Russian Language

Thinking of taking Russian? Believe it or not, you already know thousands of Russian words, among them are: radio, metro, taksi, restoran, kafe, artist, menedjer, biznes, and ekonomist. In the first year of Russian, students learn to speak about themselves, their family and friends, student life, and interests such as sports, film, and music. More advanced classes use literature, films, and the Russian media as a basis for conversation. 

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

 

 

Russian 101: Intensive Elementary Russian I

Learn to speak, read, and write Russian in an interactive course. This course prepares students to hold simple conversations so that they can meet Russians, talk about themselves, and discuss topics including sports, movies, and student life. Students will observe contemporary Russian life through a series of video episodes, attune their ear to spoken Russian with audiocassettes, and practice correct grammar using the textbook and CD-ROM. Class meets five hours a week for 1.5 credits.

Russian 102: Intensive Elementary Russian II

Students continue to build their speaking and writing skills using the same interactive approach as in Russian 101. They will gain proficiency in fundamental grammar and acquire the conversational skills they need to interact with Russians in a wide range of situations. Class meets five hours a week for 1.5 credits.

Russian 201: Intermediate Russian I

In this course students will gain intermediate proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading and writing Russian. They will learn how to express themselves in Russian through regular conversation, practice on topics such as the world of Russian emotions, love and marriage, music and entertainment, and other practical subjects. They will read real Russian literary texts and learn to write about their thoughts and opinions. They will learn about Russian culture by direct experience, including working with the Russian Internet. Students who take this and the next course in the series, Russian 202, will be ready to go on a study abroad program in Russia.

Russian 202: Intermediate Russian II

A continuation of Russian 201 in which students will develop a proficiency in Russian that will be adequate for most practical purposes. They will continue to develop their ability to converse on topics such as computers and work, dating, talking about nature, and others. They will start reading and discussing more complex literary and journalistic texts, including works by classic Russian authors. Regular writing assignments will help reinforce what they are learning. Students will continue their examination of the many sides of Russian culture, including Russian etiquette, gesture, music, television, film, etc. Successful completion of this course gives students the Russian they need in order to go to Russia for work or study.

Russian 210: Advanced Russian Conversation

This course will provide training in Russian oral communication and self-expression. Students will lead and participate in class discussions and debates, and prepare oral reports, as well as listen to and watch Russian radio and television broadcasts. All work will be oral. The topics of conversations will include family problems and divorce, elections in the U.S. and in Russia, youth music and fashion in Russia, environmental issues, Russian beliefs in the world beyond (UFOs, ESP, etc.), and other current issues. By the end of the course students will be able to converse in Russian on an advanced level on the ACTFL scale.

Russian 221: Advanced Russian I: Russia through Russian Prose

Students improve conversational and compositional skills through close reading, analysis and discussion of Russian historical and journalistic texts. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 202 or equivalent.

Russian 222: Advanced Russian II: Literary Readings

Close readings from some major aspect of Russian literature. Emphasis will be on discussion of ideas and stylistic analysis. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 221 or equivalent.

Russian 253: Fantasy and Realism in Russian Literature

All readings and discussion will be in English. Through the enduring traditions of fantasy and realism, Russian literature has probed human dilemmas and invited self-examination. We shall read these works as art and entertainment, and also for what they help us learn about ourselves. A disturbing world of the uncanny, populated by murderous doubles, human snakes, talking dogs, ghosts, and other diabolical creatures will open up to us and haunt our imaginations. As we consider the realist and fantastic streams, we shall ultimately ask the question: can we really define the difference between them? Authors to be read include Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and others. This course will introduce the students to some of the greatest works in the Russian literary canon. (Same as Language and Culture Studies 253.)

Russian 270: Russian Poetry

Readings in Russian poetry, including verse of the Golden and Silver Ages (the nineteenth century through 1920). Texts will be discussed from the viewpoint of their aesthetic and historical significance. Students will become familiar with the classics of Russian poetry while also developing the critical skills of being able to analyze poetry linguistically and write about it. Stylistic analysis will refine students’ knowledge of grammar; extensive discussion of texts will enhance oral proficiency. All readings and discussion in Russian. Prerequisite: C- or better in Russian 201 or equivalent.

Russian 284: Fantasy and Realism in Russian Literature
All readings and discussion will be in English. Through the enduring traditions of fantasy and realism, Russian literature has probed human dilemmas and invited self-examination. We shall read these works as art and entertainment, and also for what they help us learn about ourselves. A disturbing world of the uncanny, populated by murderous doubles, human snakes, talking dogs, ghosts, and other diabolical creatures will open up to us and haunt our imaginations. As we consider the realist and fantastic streams, we shall ultimately ask the question: can we really define the difference between them? Authors to be read include Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and others. This course will introduce the students to some of the greatest works in the Russian literary canon. (Listed as both LACS 284 and RUSS 284; and under the Russian and Eurasian Studies concentration of the International Studies Program.) (GLB2)

Russian 285: Love, Sex, and War in Tolstoy
This course offers a detailed and varied exploration of Tolstoy's greatest fiction. Writer and prophet, aristocrat and socialist, moralist and hedonist, Tolstoy contained a bundle of contradictions in a mind of artistic genius. As we seek to uncover the aesthetic workings of his stories and novels, we will have ample opportunity to discuss the subjects of these works—romantic love, sexual expression, family life, war as military theory and as human experience, and the individual's search for meaning in relation to the works themselves and to our own lives. Tolstoy's youth, military service, marriage, religious conversion, and contentious relations with those around him will be discussed in connection with his literary art. (Listed as both LACS 285 and RUSS 285; under the Russian and Eurasian studies concentration of the International Studies Program; and under the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program.) (GLB2)

Russian 286: Soul, Flesh, and the Russian Mystique
"A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" is Winston Churchill's famous description of Russia. Renowned for its passionate unrestraint, the legendary Russian soul encompasses opposing extremes of human thought and impulse. Selfish pleasure, gratuitous cruelty, and humiliation of others coexist with forgiveness, compassion, and embrace of suffering. As our window on the multifaceted Russian soul—as well as its physical manifestation, the rebellious body—we will take salient works from one thousand years of music, art, and literature. Among the genres we will explore: icon painting and the later, socially-themed paintings that hastened the revolution; the majestic muse of the Orthodox church and contemporary youth pop; the wise woman and holy fools of the folktale; and the comic literature of scandal. Taught in English; no prerequisites. (Listed both as LACS 286 and Russian 286)

Russian 287: Russian and Soviet Theater
An exploration of a variety of topics in Russian and Soviet theater from the 1830s to the present: the plays, the experiments and developments in acting technique and scenic design as well as their theoretical foundations. Particular emphasis will be given to the 30 years at the beginning of this century and theater developments in the past decade. Discussion will also cover reasons for restaging the classics in recent years and the serious challenges confronting the artistic community during the Stalin years and continuing beyond the Brezhnev era. (Listed both as LACS 287 and Russian 287; under the Russian and Eurasian concentration of the International Studies Program; and Theater and Dance.) (GLB1)

Russian 288: Who Am I and Where Am I Going?
How many personal identities do you have? Lover, friend, brother or sister, gambler, worshipper, skeptic, liar, outsider, psychotic—we may play all of these parts simultaneously or at different times in our lives. Through discussion of short literary texts, with some forays into religion and psychology, we will consider the ways in which our multiple identities shape our self-image as well as how others see us. Readings will be chosen from, among others, Tennessee Williams, Dostoevsky, Freud, and the Bible. (Listed both as LACS 288 and Russian 288) (GLB2)
 

Russian 301: Russian Through Literature and Film

This course contains two segments. In one segment students strengthen their grammar and vocabulary through reading authentic literary texts. The other segment improves listening comprehension through the viewing of a Russian film. Students will view the film in installments, using video technology to replay scenes as often as necessary to achieve comprehension. Homework assignments will include film viewing in the video lab. Prerequisite: Russian 222 or permission of the instructor.

Russian 302: Russian Prose Narrative

Intensive study of traditional or contemporary Russian texts. Weekly reading assignments will be supplemented by oral reports, literary analysis, and exercises in translation. Students will play a significant role in leading class discussion. All readings and discussion in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 222.

Russian 303: Russian Phonetics, Contemporary & Historical

A course covering the basic structures of Russian phonetics, intonation and word order. Important moments in the history of the Russian sound system will be surveyed as well. The study of contemporary Russian will progress from the sound systems of Russian consonants and vowels to the sound structures of natural dialogue, poetry, literary prose and journalism. Students will be expected to achieve technical proficiency as well as understand the topics presented. The study of the history of the sound system will include readings of original medieval, renaissance and baroque texts. Prerequisite: Russian 222 or permission of the instructor.

Russian 304: Current Russian Media

A survey of current Russian newspaper and magazine articles, radio and television broadcasts, and the Internet. Subjects covered will include popular culture, home and family life, environmental issues, economics, and politics. Students will strive to master the special type of Russian used in the media as well as describe how these media reflect or distort the state of Russian society. Prerequisite: Russian 222 or permission of the instructor.

Russian 305: Russian Culture and Civilization

An exploration of recurring themes in Russian culture through the examination of prose fiction, poetry, theater, film and the visual arts. Emphasis will be placed on canonical works to give students a foundation in the Russian tradition. Since cultural continuity needs to be studied in the context of cultural change, we will simultaneously do an overview of important moments in Russian history from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. Students will write a paper every week about an aspect of Russian culture as it appears in the works we are examining. All reading, writing and discussion will be in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 222 or permission of the instructor.

Russian 357: Dostoevsky

Reading and discussing Dosteovsky's literary works, we will try to answer the social, psychological, philosophical, and religious questions that tortured him. We will examine Dostoevsky's reaction to social problems he saw in 19th century Russia: family breakdown, alienation and powerlessness in the workplace, and the daily humiliations of living in a system that ranks people according to their salary. We will try to answer the underlying question: how can people connect with each other in the modern age? Modernity's preference for science and social science also troubled Dostoevsky. If human actions are scientifically predictable, can people ever be free? We will examine the unsavory solutions Dostoevsky offered: spite, game-playing, crime, radical nihilism, and others. Do religions, with all their glaring contradictions, offer a viable answer? The search for answers to these and other questions will open up new vistas and will educate students about one of the most influential world writers, the author of such classics as Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamozov.(Aslo listed as LACS 282)

Russian 399: Independent Study

Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.

Russian 401: Special Topics Russian

 Intensive study of a selected author, genre, movement or theme. Senior majors required to write an integrating project will do so in conjunction with this course; the course is therefore required of all Plan A majors and Plan B majors with a primary focus in Russian.

Russian 460: Tutorial

Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.

Russian 466: Teaching Assistant

Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.