2008-09 Catalog

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Program Description

Russia and Eurasia: Empires and Enduring Legacies

Revised Last Updated: 02/09/2009

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Patricia Krafcik Russian language and literature, Robert Smurr Russian history, Elena Sonina Russian language

Faculty Signature Required: Winter quarter, Spring quarter

Major areas of study include Russian history, literature, culture, language, and cinema; geography and writing.

Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 25% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.

Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will accept new students who have appropriate background. Contact faculty at Academic Fair or by email, for a short list of recommended readings. New students should expect to complete some catch-up work during the December break.

Accepts Spring Enrollment: This program will accept new students who have appropriate background. Contact faculty at Academic Fair or by email, for a short list of recommended readings. New students should expect to complete some catch-up work during the March break.

Join us on an extraordinary journey as we explore the diverse peoples, cultures and histories of the region that was once demarcated by the borders of the Russian and Soviet empires. While we focus on the Russians, we will take a multicultural approach in our examination of other indigenous peoples who from ancient times have populated the vast expanses of Eurasian and Siberian steppe and forests.

In fall quarter we investigate Slavic, Scandinavian, Persian, Mongol and Turkic contributions to early Russian society and examine both the region's pre-Christian pagan animistic cultures and the rich Byzantine cultural legacy of Orthodox Christianity with its associated art and architectural forms, literature and music. Our journey takes us from the vibrant culture of Kievan Rus', through the development of the Muscovite state, imperial expansion and westernization during the reigns of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, and on to the start of the 19 th century with Russia's emergence as a major world power. Medieval epics and chronicles as well as diverse films and readings enhance our study of this early turbulent history. Special geography workshops in both fall and winter terms help students identify fluently the location of cities and landmarks throughout the Russian and Soviet empires, as well as understand more profoundly the relationship between the various peoples of the empire and their environment.

Winter term concentrates on some of the world's greatest literature from Russia's 19 th -century Golden Age, read against the backdrop of the history. Works by Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and others enable us to explore Russia's provocative social, religious and revolutionary ideologies. We examine the rise of the Russian Empire's radical intelligentsia who rebelled against autocratic tsarist policies and the institution of serfdom, and whose activities led to the world-changing revolutions of the early 20 th century.

Spring quarter focuses on the tumultuous events of the 20 th century, from the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 through the post-Soviet period. We investigate the legacy of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, including the horrific Stalin era with its purges, Gulag prison camps, brutal industrialization policies and devastating environmental practices. We place special emphasis on how writers, artists and filmmakers interpreted, reflected and survived the Soviet regime. Included in this emphasis is a detailed examination of the enormous sacrifices that the Soviet people experienced at the hands of their own communist dictatorship, as well as under Nazi occupation during the Second World War. This term ends with a review of events resulting in the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and the emergence of the fifteen independent states that arose from its ashes.

Students will write short papers in fall and winter terms and have the opportunity to explore in depth a topic of their choice for a final research paper in spring term. They will also share their research in group presentations at the end of that term.

Students are urged, but not required, to take the Beginning Russian Language segment within the full-time program. Or, rather than language, they may opt to include an extra workshop within the program focused on topics such as Russian environmental issues, the Cold War, folklore, nationalities questions, etc. Students intending to include either the language segment or the workshop should register for 16 credits. For the basic program with neither the language nor the workshop, students should register for 12 credits. Finally, students may register for only the language option at 4 credits.

Credits: 4, 12 or 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 48

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Special Expenses: $25 each quarter for overnight travel and special workshop expenses.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in education, diplomatic and security services, graduate studies in international affairs and in Russian and Slavic literature, historical, political and area studies, film, music, art and international business.

Planning Units: Programs for Freshmen, Culture, Text and Language

Program Revisions

Date Revision
May 2nd, 2008 Elena Sonina will be providing Russian language support to this program.
November 17th, 2008 Winter quarter enrollment details added.
November 24th, 2008 Additional Winter quarter enrollment details added.
November 25th, 2008 Winter enrollment field utilized.
February 9th, 2009 Spring enrollment field utilized.